Career Coach Professional Development

Skills Enhancement & Building Relationships Workshop
August 22-23, 2013, Denver, CO

Career coaches from each institution participating in the CHEO grant were invited to attend this workshop. Experts in the career coaching field presented information on using assessments to assist students in making career choices, using social media for communication and networking and creating effective strategic partnerships with workforce and industry. In addition, career coaches learned about the data collection process and the career hub being developed for allied health students. Participants also participated in working group sessions.  See Career Coach Workshop on Skills Enhancement and Building Relationships Program for speaker bios and information that was provided to all participants at this workshop.

Career Coaches Group Picture

The workshop objectives were to provide career coaches an opportunity to:

  • Gain knowledge about the connection between each institution's allied health programs, so that students could be directed in programs that most closely align with their interests and abilities.
  • Understand the role each career coach plays in the project evaluation process through data collection; and how the information captured could be beneficial to the students served, as well as to the grant assessment team.
  • Explore the capabilities that are available when the allied health career hub is completed.
  • Learn how assessments can be a key component when coaching students in their career-planning efforts.
  • Experience a social media tool firsthand, and see how social media tools can be used for professional development and connecting with students.
  • Develop a plan to reach out to workforce and industry partners and to identify best practices through shared experiences.Learn how the North American Network of Science Labs Online (NANSLO) project's remote web-based lab experiments work.
  • Understand the importance of connecting with faculty and the role faculty play in helping students with career planning.

August 22, 2013 Speakers

Building a Student Case File

Jeremy Mares, CHEO data analyst/coordinator, Pueblo Community College; Heather McKay, director, Innovative Training and Workforce Development Evaluation Research and Programs, School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University; and John West, CHEO career coach, Pueblo Community College.  In this session, the presenters discussed the stitch-in report used by career coaches to enter student notes and data.  The tool also serves as a location to collect data to meet grant reporting requirements.  Also discussed was the connection between the career coaches, the grant assessment team, and Rutgers.  Presentation Material:  Stitch-In Tool  (PowerPoint in PDF Format) 

The Allied Health Career Hub Design and Working Session

Julia Pirnack, director of web and curriculum development, College in Colorado, presented information on the design of the Allied Health Career Hub and tools career coaches would use when assisting students in moving from working toward their education goals to securing employment.  Pirnack used a portion of the session to gather information from the career coaches.  Presentation Material:  Allied Health Career Hub Architecture of Site and Questionnaire Regarding Career Hub (PDF Format)

Using Your Natural Abilities in Making Career Choices

Art Scibelli, TAACCCT/COETC (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training/Colorado Online Energy Training Consortium career coach for integrated energy program, West Garfield Campus, Colorado Mountain College worked with career coaches prior to this workshop in administering the Highlands Ability Battery assessment.  Each career coach was provided a report after taking this assessment and given the opportunity to have a private consultation as well to discuss the meaning of their results on this battery and conversation around how to apply this type of information in their own careers and those of the students they are advising.  In this session, Scibelli discussed how career coaches can guide them to tools such as this to assist students in making the right career choices.  The presentation was geared to the allied health field, covering the seven critical career factors and innate abilities defined in the Highlands Ability Battery assessment tool and examined how these abilities and aptitudes relate to the success of students going into healthcare fields.  Presentation Materials: Highlands Battery Four Dimensions, Natural Talents Highlands Battery, MBTI Personality Types, and  MBTI Personality Temperaments (PowerPoints in PDF Format)

August 23, 2013 Speakers

Social Media - A tool for communication and networking

Matt Wade, entrepreneur and owner, Gameplan, provided information on using social media as an engine for communication and a way to gain knowledge, make connections, and differentiate oneself from others.  Career coaches learned how these important tools can be used by students and how they can use these tools to reach students. Presentation Material:  Is Proficiency in Social Networking a Professional Competency?  ((PowerPoint in PDF Format)

Creating Effective Strategic Partnerships with Workforce and Industry

Eileen McGaughey, TAACCCT/COETC career coach/senior advisor, Aims Community College shared your techniques in creating strategic partnerships with her local workforce center and industry. 

McGaughey also conducted a working group session with the career coaches to assist in identifying ways that they could engage workforce and industry partners.  These notes were taken during that session:  Initial discussion with several career coaches centered on a need to know which programs should be presented to Workforce and Industry and what they will be doing as a career coach. Once the aforementioned items have been addressed, Career Coaches feel they will be able to approach industry and workforce.

One career coach, Kristen, indicated she felt comfortable working with Workforce since she had done so in a previous position.

Lori commented that she has been busy working with students so connecting with Workforce has not been a priority. Facilitator shared/suggested once students have started, between now and the end of the semester would be an ideal time to connect in preparation for spring semester recruiting as well as referring to Workforce for potentially eligible students.

Labor Market Information websites were shared:

Occupational Outlook Handbook
EMSI through Adams County Workforce Center
Colorado LMI Gateway or LMI for other states

Labor market information could be provided to students to aid in scholarship application for WIA or TAA programs.

Chryste asked about managing caseload through Career Services. Since students are not all completing at the same time, assisting them has been manageable.

Discussed recruiting ideas as well: Unemployment Orientations,

Presentation Materials:  Creating Effective Strategic Partnerships with Workforce and Industry (PowerPoint in PDF Format)

NANSLO Overview

Dan Branan, NANSLO lab director, Colorado NANSLO Laboratory, Colorado Community College System presented an overview of how students access NANSLO's remote web-based science laboratories to perform assigned NANSLO lab activities.  Presentation Material:  NANSLO Remote Web-based Science Laboratories

Completing the Circle, A Faculty's Perspective on Coaching

Lisa Sleeth, adjunct faculty, nursing program, Colorado Mountain College, and critical care/trauma staff RN, Denver Health Medical Center, discussed how she coached nontraditional students facing challenges and ways she embraced opportunities to shift students' perspectives and values to align with new professions.  She has mentored them through fears and perceived barriers to reach their professional goals. 


CHEO Program Presentation 8/23/13 – Lisa Sleeth Presentation/Notes

Hello I’m Lisa Sleeth. I’m adjunct faculty at CMC and just accepted a position at Metro State and I’m a Trauma Nurse at DH.

First I want to acknowledge the non-traditional student for the courage it takes to go back to school and change careers. Though exiting there are stressors and obstacles along the way. So I want to express my appreciation and admiration for your commitment to this project of helping people have success and improve their lives - and for You coming all the way to Denver to enhance your skills to work with them. Your own commitment to your professional growth is a model for the students you’re working with. I’ve had a long and rewarding career in healthcare and I appreciate the support you’re giving people to successfully transition into the wonderful choice of a new profession in healthcare. I’m happy to be in collaboration with you.

As faculty and as a working nurse I love mentoring students as they navigate their way to their new career. The best thing I can do for them is to keep them connected to their inspiration, moving through obstacles, and differentiating themselves to be competitive in the job market. The workplace is dynamic and competitive, and learning successful behaviors for their new profession can make all the difference.  Many of my students have come from varied professional backgrounds and are faced with the challenge and opportunity of shifting perspectives and values in alignment with their new profession.  For example, one of my students was in her 40’s with a fifteen-year background in accounting and a family. She expressed her fears and perceived barriers to being a professional nurse, we worked with her concerns and I'm happy to say she is now enjoying many employment offers and a shiny outlook on her professional future.

Nearly all of my students have been non-traditional students, which to me speaks to the wonderful opportunities for professional, and wage development in health care. It is also an opportunity to bring your whole self to what you do so the profession welcomes diversity and uniqueness. One of my students shared with me that an unknown benefit of changing to this profession has been her personal growth – It’s who she is becoming as a person in the process. So I believe that any obstacle or fear can be overcome if the person is coached to stay connected to their inspiration and motivation.

For this presentation I solicited some of my students for their Thoughts on overcoming obstacles and I’ll share them with you:

  • Empowerment is the only way to overcome fear and barriers. Fear is good; own your self worth, drive to be successful and be the best you can be.

  • New profession has been empowering for all aspects of life. The journey through school and career change has led to unexpected openings.

  • People take responsibility for their own successes and failures – it comes from within.

  • I’m shifting from caregiver to professional and leader. I’m representing the company and myself as a professional.

  • Take time for Self Care: time out, exercise, read a pleasure book, etc.

  • Being accountable is being empowered by successes and failures. You don’t have to be the best at something to feel empowered. We do this throughout our lives. We’re able to make mistakes, learn from it, and move on.

  • Regarding taking risks; it’s ok to not know and to say you don’t know.

  • Take baby steps till it makes sense...

I’ll share some tools I’ve used with my students to alleviate exhausted attention and overwhelm.

In my experience nontraditional students are inspired and motivated but are under a lot of pressure such as financial, family, home, personal, health for e.g. pregnancy, etc. They’ll often reach a point where their attention is exhausted and they don't know which way to go. They have exhausted attention by being in unfamiliar territory with all the unknowns and new demands. Sometimes they’ll revert to self-sabotaging behaviors, frustration, introversion, anger, depression, and giving up. At this point I encourage them to take an inventory; this can be done in the moment for a quick shift: What’s really important here? What isn’t really important here? When the pressure is released they’re able to get back to productive action steps. I use this a lot when I’m teaching in the clinical setting and can be used anytime you see the above signs. Or when a student is in overwhelm and can’t make decisions you can use these questions in a slightly different way. It can be an interesting process for clarifying issues to ask what’s really important, and then help to focus ever finer by asking what’s really important about that? This can help restore their feeling of purpose. To keep them connected to their inspiration and motivation in the longer range, a useful tool to help them get clear is focused goal setting or using Be, Do, Have goals. For e.g., in order to have a successful interview, what would they need to do (read the mission statement and job description), and who would they need to be to do that (interested and self motivated). Or, to meet the demands of school and home life, they would need to say no sometimes, and who would they need to be is steadfast.

Especially for the non-traditional student, I find they welcome the opportunity to be pro-active. The student role can feel like a disempowered position or like they’re always dependent on someone else. So I encourage them to start to create a professional portfolio. This is something they can initiate on their own without my supervision or approval. If there are staff they respect or have a good working relationship with, they should ask for a short letter speaking to their skills as a nursing student and include anything special about what they bring. This puts the student into a proactive role and boosts their professionalism. They can bring evidence that they are a great candidate to prospective employers.

Regarding Shifting perspectives and values...

Some of the shifts and changes are exciting and some feel like a ‘have to’ and like a resisted change. The most honest perspective is that change is not always easy... The key here for me is to bring awareness for all of us to the issues and find the opportunity for growth and success. There’s no one answer as everyone is different, but these are some of the issues that are likely to come up. I’d like us all to share perspectives and thoughts of what we can do to help students shift to an empowered perspective when these things come up:

  • Expert “down” to novice

  • Starting at the bottom again

  • Laborer to professional or vice versa

  • Out of the work force (unemployed or stay at home parent) into the work force

  • Military to civilian

  • Working with human life and the risks of error and harm

  • Going into a high risk environment with high stress

  • Going into a high responsibility role

  • Older, less energy, peers and superiors may be younger with less life experience

  • Old healthcare indoctrinations such as they eat their young or not taking adequate breaks for eating and drinking, using the restroom, or working exceptionally longs hours, on your feet, working holidays, weekends, and night shifts.

  • Shifting the concept of client or customer to the Whole Person including the family. A new perspective is how do I approach a person from this viewpoint? And a shift of perspective on "What’s the worst that can happen?" Loose some money compared to potentially hurting someone.
  • Past history: for e.g., drug addiction (I had a student with this hx; she was very aware of the slippery slope for herself and compassionate to those with addiction problems), working with/caring for people and your cultures or ethnicities are in conflict (Ethiopians and Eritreans in the greater Denver area).

Let’s talk about fear. The two biggest fears I work with my students on is 1) the fear of harming a patient, and 2) fear of not getting a job.

The elephant in the middle of the room so to say is the fear that anyone who takes care of patients has in the back of their mind is the fear of causing harm. And when you’re new and learning, it’s even more of a fear. The media who focuses on the rare horror story doesn’t help this. For example recall when a nurse in GB gave an update on the phone of Princess Kate and it was a farce by some radio show talk hosts and she killed herself out of guilt? And relatively recently there was a new nurse in Seattle who by accident overdosed a baby who died and she killed herself. So while focus on safety is good it has put fear as an obstacle and barrier into the experience of the new health care student. To help the students to integrates a healthy respect for fear and keep them in action and confident in their new profession I focus on the steps to success and safety: 1) Learning/study, 2) drilling/practice, 3) reviewing feedback, and 4) incorporating what they’ve learned into knowledge. I find that most of my students are exited for the challenge. They are going into healthcare to make a difference and feel proud that they will be functioning at a high level of skill and proficiency. If someone becomes stuck on the fear then we work with that unique situation. I encourage them to draw upon their past professionalism to help them handle their fears and risk aversion as well. Another aspect to safety is honesty, accuracy, and integrity. This can come up against some indoctrination from previous jobs if they’ve learned that it’s best to tell a white lie or omit information than get into trouble or do whatever it takes to get a sale. But in healthcare even an error of omission of data can have consequences. So there’s a professional socialization of honesty. The industry is working to transform how it handles mistakes and makes them into learning opportunities to encourage more honesty and accuracy for patient safety. This has come up with some students and the solution has been to let them know it’s a learning opportunity and it’s for the benefit of patients.

The second fear is the fear of not getting a job. This may be a legitimate fear backed by employment statistics but my perspective that I share with my students is that they bring something special, unique, and highly valuable that an employer wants. And especially for those coming into health care from an unrelated field they should know this can be very beneficial. There’s a belief out there that you need background in the area to catch on but I don’t buy that. The concepts of beginners mind and blank slate can help them stay open and receptive and genuinely enthusiastic. This is very appealing to colleagues, patients, and employers and when framed this way is an asset not a hindrance. Taking this on as an attitude in the workplace will also help them integrate into an established team. I share with them that they are not just a degree; they are valuable professionals and excellent employees. Back to connecting them with their inspiration and motivation, I have them consider and clarify their skills, unique personal or professional interests and talents, and the experience they bring. The truth is the job market is competitive and employers can pick and choose their candidates. So any opportunity to differentiate and brand should be taken. I’ll leave you with a tool I picked up from the coaching world to create a quick pitch or professional brand for oneself.

Answer these questions;

Who Am I, What Do I Do, Who I Do It For, What Those People Want Or Need, What They Get Out Of It Or How They Change As A Result

Would any one like to share their personal brand pitch using this tool?

I am a successful professional nurse and I give compassionate care to people in need of life saving measures contributing to their experience of wholeness, hope, and healing.”

With your skillful coaching and all the services you provide in your role I’m very excited for your success at shepherding many new people into a rewarding healthcare career.

Now I’ll open it up if anyone would like to share insights or thoughts with the group.

She also shared an image which read:  People don't need to be saved or rescued. People need knowledge of their own power and how to access it."