The role of a career coach is to act as a guide, offering expertise and support as individuals make important decisions about their careers. The approach can be tailored to each individual’s unique circumstances, ensuring a personalized path to success.
On the path of discovering ‘World’s Most Prominent Career Coaches to Follow in 2023,’ The Education View came across some of the most renowned career coaches disrupting this sector.
June Parker, General Manager – Coaching and Transition at Future Leadership – CLA, is a Senior Leader with over 20 years of experience working in Australia and overseas and is one of the prominent names among career coaches.
Below are the highlights of our interview:
Please tell us about your journey since its beginning.
As a young girl, my friends always came to me when they needed practical and honest advice. It was clear to me from an early age that my natural ‘happy place’ was linked to my curiosity for understanding how people were feeling, why they felt that way, and what could be done to make them feel more positive. It’s no surprise, then, that my career journey would involve working with people in human resources, coaching, and development capacity.
An additional layer of understanding gained along the way has been my strong commercial focus. Combining my passion for business with my fascination for people has led me to work on growing the capability of organizations across sales, recruitment, people advisory, and coaching.
What inspired you to become a career coach?
My coaching is inspired by the privilege of being able to see and bring to light the strength and abilities of others, even when they can’t see it. I remember my father talking about how as a young man, he was encouraged and financially supported by his boss to pursue further education and was mentored to take on leadership responsibilities.
This changed his life and, in turn, mine. He was the first in his family of four to have any formal qualifications. The impact of this mentorship stuck with me. I was amazed that one person could change someone’s life in such a profound manner simply by caring enough to see the potential in them.
How do you stay current with the latest research and trends in the field of career coaching?
I read a lot! I also attend regular conferences, both in person and online, such as WBECs. I am also incredibly lucky that our organization, Future Leadership, is at the forefront of research around future leadership capabilities and has even developed its own capability framework.
We have a podcast interviewing prominent thought leaders, and we are continually researching best practices through CLA when it comes to careers, culture, and leadership.
Future Leadership also encompasses a search firm and an interim management practice. This means that every day, my colleagues are talking to boards, CEO, and Executives about their strategic people needs. We share this information, and as a result, I have first-hand knowledge of what employers are looking for and why.
What challenges have you come across, and how did you overcome them?
I reframe challenges as opportunities to grow and learn. As a result, all of my challenges have given me a lived experience to draw from in my coaching. When you have been through some tough times (and believe me, I have), it’s far easier to be empathic and supportive of others.
How do you incorporate technology into your coaching?
At CLA, we use technology in a variety of ways. We have two online learning platforms, one called Career Accelerator and the other called Executive Accelerator. These resource platforms are open to our coaches’ community for support beyond the session.
They house videos, podcasts, eBooks, written resources, checklists, etc. – everything someone needs to change their role or career. We also have an app called Future Exchange, which provides regular podcasts, blogs, and video insights, and acts as a virtual community of support. Other more practical areas include automatic coach scheduling, databases, etc.
How do you differentiate instruction to meet the needs of different clients?
Just as every individual is unique, so is every client organization and every role. It is important, therefore, to take the time to understand organizational nuances, backgrounds, and complexities. When someone is going for an interview, my advice is always to analyze what is important for success in that specific role and to understand the organization’s values and culture. The person being interviewed needs to think less about what they have achieved, and more about what they have done that is important to the hiring organization. What is it that will deliver the success the organization is looking for? For example, if an organization is in growth mode, speaking about restructuring and downsizing will miss the mark.
Sharing examples of being flexible and agile during growth is likely to resonate much better. For internal promotions, people need to be clear about what made them successful in their current role and how this differs developmentally from the skills or capabilities required for the next role. Signalling an openness to unlearning and relearning is key to career progression.
Kindly mention some of your major achievements, accolades, and recognitions as a career coach.
Whilst I have presented at conferences, sat on committees, built businesses, authored eBooks, and created technology solutions, my biggest achievements are helping people get roles they doubted they could and then supporting them to be successful in the role.
These people are numerous, including someone obtaining a CEO role when prior to meeting me, they didn’t believe it possible. Or someone is transferring their career from Finance into the exciting space of Cyber Security and or helping someone set up their own business having left the paid workforce. And helping another who, in being promoted, found they needed to navigate the politics of their new executive role skilfully.
I get huge intrinsic satisfaction from helping people build their confidence and achieve in their roles; I consider their feedback and thanks as being my highest accolade.
Can you shed some light on your future plans?
For my own future plans, I want to continue to learn and grow. I want to build the Coaching practice of CLA and continue to add value for my clients.
What makes you and your coaching methodology different from others?
Whilst I use models and frameworks like other coaches, I think the difference is my ability to quickly see the current situation my clients find themselves in, uncover where they want to go and see what’s needed to get there. I join the dots on what may hold them back and practically advise them on what they need to do, think, and feel to achieve the outcome they want. I am empathic yet direct. I hold a mirror to people and then hold them to account to step up.
I have a deep background in coaching and development, which means I have a great tool kit of models, frameworks, analogies, stories, and experience to draw from to use at the right time with the right person. I studied business, HR, leadership, neuroscience, and NLP – I draw from all of this in my coaching. I have also run businesses, been on executive teams, and reported to boards, so I have broad lived experience.
One thing I need to be more prescriptive. My coaching flows with the need of the client. This means that for one person, it may be talking about above and below-the-line thinking or helping them to recognize their negativity bias. For others, it might be how to navigate working within an executive team or building their confidence. I am mindful that I am a coach, not a friend. So, I enjoy time-bound coaching programs with clear objectives and goals.