Here is the summary of my interview with Barry L. Davis on November 29, 2016
I met Barry Davis at the Mid-Atlantic Career Counseling Association Conference over 10 years ago. We immediately hit it off, mostly because we connected on my presentation on Using Happenstance Theory in practice. We both love chance events and “creating” luck and embrace “intentional serendipity” in our practices.
Barry is a prolific reader and introduced me to the idea of writing up short reviews of the books he reads and putting them on GoodReads.com (used to be Amazon Reading List). He is the reason I have a section for books on my website blog.
Below is a summary of the key points of our conversation.
Why is reading important to your career coaching work?
Barry started by quoting from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes: “There’s nothing new under the sun” – Eccl. 1:9. That being said, there are always new perspectives to consider from those in our field as well as in other areas.
Reading is the energizer to coaching others and is critical for us to continue to add value to our clients and not be stuck in old ways.
He says he “really likes to mix it up with his reading, from older books like Frank Parsons’ Choosing a Vocation or Passion Principle by Richard Chang as a way to get ideas”. Barry is a very eclectic reader, enabling him to understand things from different perspectives and to connect the dots when working with different clients. If you look at my reading list, you will see how his inspiration has worn off on me as I have everything from Clive Cussler action books to The Encore Career Handbook.
I agree strongly with this statement from Barry, “I don’t see how people in our profession can survive without professional reading.” The future of our profession requires that we stay current in our field and our ability to take the pieces that worked in the past like trait-factor theory and combine them today with the constructivist theorist and “storytelling” for career coaching.
It really is so important to “never stop learning” and to then find ways to integrate what you’re learning into your practice. In individual coaching, your writing, your presentations, wherever you can in order to continually improve yourself and your services.
Barry used the mathematical term “asymptote” from Daniel Pink’s book Drive to describe constantly learning and growing.
One area I sometimes struggle with is when to read.
I tend to read more in the evening and occasionally will stop to take a break from working on the computer all day.
When do you find time to read Barry?
“I am not an early morning guy, mid-day is better. Because I work from home I can do this fairly easily. I also tend to read in bursts and can be reading two or three books at once. I typically take notes on my books and mark them up a lot.”
Personally, my thoughts on this are that it doesn’t matter when you read, it matters that you read. As Barry stated, it’s critical to us professionally, enabling us to continue learning and challenging ourselves with diverse perspectives. I like to browse magazines at bookstores on a variety of different topics and to find stories of interest that help me think about career coaching from a different perspective. I have found inspirational articles in Inc, Men’s Health, and even the Delta flight magazine.
I wanted to know if he could recommend a favorite professional read for career practitioners.
He struggled with this because I think he wanted to list about 50 books, but he settled on a book I have heard him talk so much about that I read it shortly after meeting Barry…Daniel Pink’s comic book The Adventures of Johnny Bunko (there is no plan, it’s not about you, think strengths not weaknesses, etc.) It really is a book that belies the depth of the message in its simplicity. I have to agree. It is a quick easy read but it does a wonderful job of talking people through the career development process.
He also mentioned reading Dick Bolles What Color is Your Parachute again. It is always thought-provoking and now Dick is working with his son to integrate more technology into his latest version. Even at almost 90 years of age, Dick Bolles is practicing asymptote theory!
A recent book Barry is reading is Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln, which offers practical advice on giving speeches and making presentations. I told you he was eclectic!
I want to thank Barry for carving some time out of his schedule to chat with me and for all his inspiration to me to keep up my reading.
Learn more about Barry L. Davis, MS, CTC, MCS. Career Coach | Professor | Speaker | Blogger | Minister | Marathoner
Gift of Self Career Services, LLC – https://www.facebook.com/GiftofSelf
On LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/barrydavismcdp on Twitter http://twitter.com/bl_davis
Blogs for the New Workplace: http://bdavismcdp.wordpress.com/
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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