I heard this quote recently and it has been running through my head since. “Prop them up until they get their balance“. It hit home to me as a career counselor and coach. Much of my work is helping people “get their balance” so they can move forward on their own. I love this visual, as I evolve from a “counselor” or “advisor” who gives something, to more of a “coach” who encourages my students and clients to look within and figure it out themselves.
How did I prop someone up?
- Helped a client come up with four questions to ask in an informational interview
- Guided a student in writing an email to alumni asking for advice
- Helped a Boomer / mid-life career changer “discover” the value of their own network by uncovering numerous serendipitous moments in their lives positively affected by people they knew
- Encouraged a student to try an informational interview with a faculty member before stepping out and doing one with alumni they do not know
- What have you done to ‘prop someone up’?
Each person is different. Some people simply need a few resources and they are off and running. Others simply need a ‘reframing’ of the situation to see it in a more positive light. Others are “off-kilter” and need a few suggestions or open-ended questions to get them thinking. The key as a career practitioner is to keep the ownership of the issue with the person and not try to give them answers that worked for you or others in the past. To truly listen to what they are saying & thinking and help them figure out how to move forward.
What they present to us often is not the real issue. If you view yourself as a “propper upper” first, you realize that we are often a sounding board for others, asking the questions that no one else has asked them. Yes, often we are the first people to ask these questions
- “What skills do you want to use in a job?”
- “What did you love / like about past jobs you’ve had and is there a connection or theme?”
- “How can you leverage your strengths and passions to do something in the next 3 weeks? 3 months? 6 months?“
What are some of your favorite questions you ask that helps a person see more clearly?
That “props them up until they get their balance”.
Jim Peacock is the Principal at Peak-Careers Consulting and writes a monthly newsletter for career practitioners. Peak-Careers offers discussion-based online seminars for career practitioners focused on meeting continuing education needs for CCSP, GCDF and BCC certified professionals as well as workshops for career practitioners and individual career coaching.
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