The Template

Every week, I maintain THE TEMPLATE, an award-winningWinner of the 2015 Plank Center Award (public relations org.) for commitment to mentorship. blog that's been viewed more than 1.5 million times by people all over the world. In every column, I provide step-by-step instruction to help you become a stronger communicator. Like I always say, "Write well, open doors!"

The Best Moment in a Career Coaching Session

career coaching
The “a ha” moment…like cold water in your face.

Jon Mertz, a blogger friend of mine who runs the cross-generational website Thin Difference, has asked people to write about their “soul spark” experiences. Jon describes a “soul spark” as:

“…small ignitions of inspiration that fan into big changes, new directions, or fresh works.”

The “soul spark” concept is part of Jon’s latest book, Activate Leadership, in which he shows millennials how to be effective young professionals. It’s a smart read, and I recommend the book to any millennial who wants to grow in her or her career.

As for my own “soul spark” experience, I’ll turn the focus to my career coaching clients. I love to see the “light come on” for young professionals when they realize the best way to describe their ability and work experience. It’s a powerful moment that often translates into success in the job market.

Here’s an example. I recently worked with a young woman, let’s call her “Shannon,” who had a temp job in human resources for a large corporation. On Shannon’s resume, she listed a job duty as:

– Handle all paper and electronic documentation for the company employee wireless mobile devices

During our coaching session, I explored that sentence with Shannon. What does it really mean to “handle…employee wireless mobile devices”?

Shannon replied: “Well, it was more than just handling the devices. I actually had to update records for 1,000 employees, and in some cases I had to track people down individually.”

I was stunned: “You mean, like 1,000 people — one at a time?”

Shannon: “Yea, it was a lot of work and took about three months.”

Me: “Wow, that task is much more impressive than how you made it appear on your resume.”

Shannon: “I guess that’s true. Oh and also…for all my hard work, I received a special thank-you from the company CFO and a raise.”

Me: “Now THAT’S impressive! And all you told me through your resume is you update mobile phone devices. You left out the best parts!”

There. Right there. Shannon had an “a ha” moment and recognized how she undersold a critical task at her job — her temp job, the job she wanted to leave to find something more permanent.

That day, I believe Shannon experienced a “soul spark.” She understood how to highlight the best moments of her career and use them to stand out.

In fact, with a refreshed resume/cover letter, Shannon DID land a new job. She’s now the assistant director of placement at a company that provides legal outsourcing services. Yes! Congrats!

Once again, the “soul spark” moment: when people learn to highlight the most interesting aspects of their job. It’s the best part of every session with my coaching clients, and why I enjoy the one-on-one conversation so much.


What’s your “soul spark” moment? When did the “light come on” in your own career?

Share below and don’t forget to pick up your copy of Activate Leadership!


Featured photo: Gratisography


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