In an era marked by rapid change and increasing career complexities, the role of career coaches has become indispensable. They provide the guidance, support, and expertise individuals need to navigate their professional lives successfully.
From helping individuals identify their passions and goals to providing strategies for career advancement, career coaches empower individuals to make informed decisions, achieve personal fulfilment, and thrive in their chosen paths. As the importance of career coaching continues to rise, more individuals are turning to these professionals to unlock their true potential and find lasting career success.
In a quest to discover ‘World’s Most Prominent Career Coaches to Follow in 2023,’ The Education View interviewed Amie Duignan, Founder of AD Connects, who, as a competent career coach, helps her clients pursue their dreams and finds them fulfilling roles.
Below are highlights of the interview:
Please tell us about your journey since its beginning.
While at University, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I started working as a receptionist for a Real Estate company, with the plan to progress through into sales. During this time, I worked for two different firms and was told in my last role that I would not make it in sales and to stay in an admin-type role.
This was a turning point for me; with both the negative thinking and my own confusion about what I wanted to do, I started job hopping, working in different roles for different companies. Every time I changed jobs, I just kept feeling unhappy and confused. I knew I needed to find a job I wanted to build my career around. I landed my first recruitment role working for a start-up agency, which was perfect, as I had intensive training and learnt the ropes of the Recruitment business, where I learnt how to be a recruiter/headhunter, which I loved.
However, after a period, I started to suffer burnout from the intensity of having to make targets, recruiting jobs and chasing the perfect candidate. I realised that whilst I loved recruiting and working with candidates, I wouldn’t say I liked the transactional side of the role. This was career-changing for me, I was ready to make a change, and after many conversations with my family and colleagues, I decided to start my own business, AD Connects, in 2018. I started with a simple goal, to humanise and personalise the recruitment process, focusing less on the transactional side and more on the people side!
What inspired you to become a career coach?
Having worked in recruitment for over eight years, I saw firsthand every day how so many of my candidates, who had amazing experiences, lacked the confidence to go after their dreams. This I could relate to from my own career, and I hate the idea of someone sitting in a job they don’t love instead of going after what they want. It was a natural and organic progression for me to leverage my own experience and my recruitment skills to move into career coaching.
My focus shifted. I wanted to do more than recruit; I wanted to help and support people through their career changes, help them understand what they really wanted in their careers, learn how to incorporate strategy into their career choices, how to job search effectively and handle the interview process. My aim was to unlock the opportunities and inspire people to make the right move confidently and find a role they truly loved!
How do you stay current with the latest research and trends in the field of career coaching?
I’m a life-long learner; I listen to podcasts, attend master classes in the field, and I am on LinkedIn most of the day researching and observing coaching trends from my peers. I also feel the best way to be on top of career coaching is through not only personal research but working with people; every day, I’m sharing and learning new skills, and my coaching services are constantly evolving.
I also keep up to date with what is happening in the economy, what is changing for businesses and the behaviour of candidates in roles or looking for roles. For example, ‘The Great Resignation’ triggered lots of debate and discussion for both businesses – how to retain staff through to candidates willing to quit and move roles.
What challenges have you come across, and how did you overcome them?
A big challenge for me is my availability; my one-on-one coaching sessions book up quickly and in advance. To overcome this, I developed a series of coaching services to allow someone options on how they would like to engage with me today rather than waiting a couple of weeks. In addition to one-on-one coaching, I now offer group coaching, master classes, self-led/online courses, interviews and LinkedIn eBooks.
How do you incorporate technology into your coaching?
To support my coaching side of the business, I’ve implemented the following tools:
- CMS system to manage and track my clients, to make sure I remember everything to keep my business super personalised.
- Zoom meetings for sessions.
- Thinkific as a learning management system to manage the assignment, related resources, communications and tracking of my self-led/online course.
- YouTube, Instagram and Tik Tok for my socials and marketing.
Kindly mention some of your major achievements, accolades, and recognitions as a career coach.
My major personal achievement is that I’ve successfully grown my own business and been busy for five years.
From a recognition perspective, I’ve been interviewed on the Morning Show and Sunrise discussing key topics such as Red Flags when Interviewing, and the Great Resignation. I’ve also been invited to publish recruitment-related articles for Channel 9, Woman’s Day, POPSUGAR, The Daily Telegraph, and 9Honey.
I was engaged by Heineken to be the face and co-spokesperson for a global employee collaboration program.
Every day I receive personal thanks from the clients I’ve coached, which is the biggest reward for me.
Can you shed some light on your future plans?
I have a couple of exciting plans on the go at the moment. I’ve partnered with an organisation to deliver a series of career workshops for interns, along with hosting workshops for school leavers.
From a development perspective, I’m working on a podcast series to reach even more people and in the middle of developing a retreat.