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   ASK THE COACH

Got a question you would like to ask Karen? 
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What is coaching?
Coaching is about interacting with people in a way that teaches them to produce often spectacular results. Coaching has the freedom and flexibility to address a wide variety of personal and professional topics. In any given coaching relationship, coach and client alone determine the scope of the work. A coach is an objective partner in and individualís life that helps unearth personal goals and aspirations without being judgmental. Coaching is about a change in thinking. Change creates opportunities and possibilities! Coaching is about going from where you are to where you want to be.

  

Ellen from Orlando asks"Why do companies always lay off the hourly workerís or lower level employees instead of someone who makes big bucks?"
I get this question all the time. The answer is complicated but I will try and simplify it for you. It just seems to you that it is always the front line. When a company goes through downsizing which results in laynoffs, sometimes the decision is made on seniority. The larger organizations have a forumla they follow. The initial step is to look at the position and responsibilities. You may not believe it, but when I work with a company in restructuring, we do not look at the personís name and how much they earn. We look at the entire department, how many of the people are doing the same job or have overlapping responsibilities and how can we do the same function and get the same productivity and results with less people. Once it has been determined the department can function with three less people, the department manager makes the decision or gives input into who can be cut. It is usually a collaborative decision. If someone in the group has a specialized skill that can benefit the company,such as languages this individual may be retained. Sometimes, it is more efficient to outsource the functiion of an entire department. In that case, an entire department can be let go. By redefining job descriptions and eliminating duplication you can get the same productivity and results with less people and at the same time reduce payroll and the cost of benefits.

  

Frank from Chicago asks "How can I tell if my company is going to let people go. It is in the rumor mill that there are some financial difficulties?"
There are obvious and not so obvious signs. First of all keep your eyes and ears open. Listen to the grapevine. Look around you at every opportunity. Some things you might look for are financial. This kind of information is hard to get unless you know someone in the finance department. A sure sign is if your paychecks are being returned NSF. This is a certain sign of a critical cash flow problem. If you receive memoís stating that expense accounts are being reduced or reinbursement is delayed two or three months. Purchases that have been made in the past without approval, now require approval. If you work for a manufacturing company and the warehouse is stocked with unsold inventory. This could mean the company has not projected their sales correctly. Inventory is money. Unsold inventory can also mean market conditions have changed. You find critical shortages in vital supplies. Purchase requisitions are not getting filled. Suppliers have threatened to cut the company off. You are told the company is on COD. Look at your boss. Has there been a change in his or her demeanor? Have they become less accessible. Are the doors shut more often. Are they being called into their managerís office frequently? Does management seem reluctant to solve any problems that require a cash expenditure. Are people asking you if there is anything wrong with the company? If these signs are present, update your resume and start looking. Hope this helps and thanks for asking.

  

Don from Ft. Lauderdale writes and says " A friend of mine keeps his resume up to date at all times. He just got a promotion at his company and the first thing he did was update his resume. Is this ethical and what if someone finds it?"
Great question. I encourage my clients to keep their resume up to date, but for a different reason. It is much easier to put a resume together if you document your accomplishments, recognitions, promotions etc. when they happen. Every day I talk to people that have been with a company three or more years and when I ask them what has been their major achievements, or how did the company benefit by he or she being there they have a hard time remembering. For example, you are selected for a special project and the project gets great results. If you write things down as they occur, it will be a lot easier to recall in the future. Some people keep it in a different format than a resume. It is just a running list they keep updated. An additional benefit is it is a great tool for review time. Is it ethical? Absolutely, but I would keep your resume at home. Thanks for asking!

  

Rolfe from Atlanta asks "Can a company fire you for sending an email complaining about your boss? Isn't that a violation of privacy?
I am not an attorney, so I will answer it from a CEO's point of view. When you use my computer and you are on my payroll and using my time to send a personal email, yes, I can monitor your emails. Secondly, if you use my equipment and time to complain and send derogatory information about my employees or company, you are going to get caught. I would check to see if there is a policy that states how the computer should be used. Everyone should remember, don't put something in your company computer or send an email that contains information you do not want viewed by other people. Good luck.

  

Julie from Illinois asks "Why can't I put my picture on my resume?"
It is not that you can't. You can do whatever you want. My recommendation is no picture. Your ability to do the functions of the job is not based on what you look like, it is based on your qualifications. Most H.R. people will remove the picture before they pass it on to the interviewer. I know of many companies that when they receive a resume with the picture screened into the paper, will toss the entire resume. There have been discrimination suits because of pictures. If you send in a resume with a picture, and it is put in a data base, it will be kicked out by the computer. The choice is yours. Thanks for asking!

  

Shirly from Atlanta asks "How can I make my cover letter stand out from everyone else?"
Good question! The answer is creativity. I have read thousands of cover letters. When I read a cover letter, the first thing I want to know is why you have chosen my company. The opening paragraph should always contain that information. There is no excuse today for not researching a company. The internet makes it very easy. Go to the site read it through and find information that grabs your attention but not everyone is aware of. Read the mission statement. Make note of the awards received or articles written about them. The cover letter should have four paragraphs; The first about the company and why you want to work there, the second is what you can bring to the table such as skills, abilities and results. The third your credentials and the fourth is the call to action. Your cover letter should be written in active language, be exciting and really peak the reader's interest. If your cover letter excites me I will read your resume. If it doesn't chances are I won't. Thanks for asking.

  

Diane from Minnesota asks " I am unhappy with my present position, it is not exciting anymore, but I love my company. It is 10 minutes from my home and we get hocky tickets."
Diane, hocky tickets would not really excite me since I live in Orlando, Florida. But, if it is a great benefit for you, go for it! First of all the answer is not always to leave the company. You did not describe what your day is like in your email, so I am going to assume it is repetitive. The first thing you should do is a job inventory. List your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses etc. If you could change any part of your job what would it be. Sometimes it is not the job itself, but how you do the job. Most people stay in jobs they don't like because of salary and benefits. What is equally important is what you are doing, how you are doing it, where you are doing it and with whom. Rewrite your job description, using the functions you like to do. Look at the tasks you do not like to do. Why don't you like these tasks? Can they be changed? Go to your boss and ask him if there is a way you can recreate your job or get involved with a new project, tell him you would like to learn a new skill. Trading tasks with another employee works too. I am sending you an assessment that will help you. Thanks for asking!

  

John from Florida asks "Why don't recruiters accept or return telephone calls or emails?"
Simple - If they accepted every phone call they would not get any work done. Remember recruiters do not work on your behalf. They work on behalf of the company. There are only two ways to get to a recruiter. (1) Get introduced to them by an existing client, or (2) write a great cover letter and hope it interests them. The only way recruiters make money is to fill job openings. If they are working on a job opening and you have the qualifications thatare required, they will respond immediately. If I do not have a job order that requires your qualifications, you will go into a file. Eventually you will get a response if they have something that fits you. There is a great book you should get or you can visit their site. http://www.kennedyinfo.com/js/dersamp.html

  

Joanne from St. Louis wants to know "What are good leadership skills?" I was told in my review I need to work on my leadership skills.
Good question! First of all I don't think there is a "born leader". You have to develop your skills. Some qualities of a leader are: Integrity, creativity, charisma, passion, honesty, knowledge, judgement, communication, and of course vision. You learn to be a leader through your life experiences. The best advice I can give you is to find someone who can mentor you. Look around and see if you can find a leader in your group and ask he or she what makes them a good leader. You need a role model. Thanks for asking

  

Barry from Orlando writes "My company is implementing 360 performance appraisals. What does that mean? Is it better than just my Boss doing my review?
It is better. With your Boss you only have one opinion. A 360 is a full circle appraisal. Your Boss will evaluate you, your peers will have input and your subordinates will participate. I think it is a fair and comprehensive format.

  

Jean from New Jersey writes "I am going through a nasty divorce and I can't focus on my job or life...."
My philosophy on divorce is simple. I would allow one day to feel sorry for yourself, and then on the day it is final...go out with your girlfriends and have a celebration. You are about to enter the best time of your life. Why? Because now it is all about you, since you do not have any children, you come first. Wow! you can design a life that has everything you want in it. Redesigning your life is a lot of fun. Call me and I will show you how much fun it can be. As far as work goes, you may need to take some vacation time or a personal day just to clear your head and get refocused. The problem with divorce is it can have an effect on your confidence and self-esteem which ultimately will have an effect on your productivity. Leave personal problems outside when you walk through the door in the morning. Thanks for asking!

  

George from Chicago asks "What is drip marketing? I was asked about it in an interview."
Great question. Since you told me you were a recent college grad, I assume the individual who was interviewing you was more mature. I have not heard this term in a long time. Today it is called layering. The concept is simple. You focus all your marketing activities such as direct mail, newspaper, radio, telemarketing, promo's, television etc, into a target market. You want to make sure you have your name and product in front of the market all the time. Surveys tell us that the magic number is "7". The audience does not take action until they see your name and product consistently seven times. The idea of this type of marketing is numbers...it is a more leads and therefore more sales concept.

  

Kevin from Phoenix writes "Rumor has it my Boss is going to be fired. Will I be next on the list?"
No! You don't know the story behind your Boss. However, there are two things you need to do. The first is your loyalty should remain strong to your Boss until the day he leaves. Why? Because a Senior Manager always has friends and allies at the top. Also, you may cross paths in the future or you might want to use him as a reference. (2) Build up your relationships around you. Position yourself for visibility with other Senior Managers. Volunteer for projects. Be in a positive frame of mind when talking to people and don't contribute to the grapevine. Good Luck!

  

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300 N. County Rd 427, Suite 213
Longwood, FL 32750
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