In an ever-evolving job market, career coaching has emerged as an invaluable resource for job seekers. By providing personalized guidance, fostering self-awareness, and equipping individuals with essential skills, career coaches empower job seekers to make informed decisions and navigate their career paths with confidence.
Whether it’s clarifying career goals, tailoring job search strategies, building confidence, or facilitating career transitions, career coaching serves as a catalyst for professional success. Embracing the support of a career coach can make all the difference in unlocking one’s true potential and achieving long-term career fulfilment.
While seeking “World’s Most Prominent Career Coaches to Follow in 2023,” we had the privilege of interviewing Michelle Raymond, a prominent Leadership Development Coach & Trainer. Her aim is to understand the business leadership pipeline with her brainchild, The People’s Partner, and work with executive and leadership teams to develop the skills, competencies, cultural intelligence, and visibility needed to establish the next generation of strong leaders.
Below are the highlights from the interview:
Please tell us about your journey since its beginning.
My journey was an interesting one. I started off my career working in HR; I have been in the industry for more than 25 years; where I started off as an in-house HR Manager and quickly progressed in the role.
I soon started getting itchy feet and wanted to see if I could do this as an entrepreneur. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to share my experience on stage, and that was the catalyst for me to start my own business. After speaking on stage, that night, I had a dream that I should start my own business. The name The People’s Partner sounded so fitting as I love partnering with people, and within a week, I started the business. No business plan, no roadmap, no strategy, but what I did have was heart and passion and that has taken me through all these years. I do now have a plan and strategy in Ace!
What inspired you to become a career coach?
With an extensive background in HR, I became adept at perusing and evaluating CVs while also assisting employees with their personal and professional growth in the workplace. It’s hardly surprising that I naturally transitioned into career coaching. This soon broadened to encompass LinkedIn optimization, conducting mock interviews, and refining CVs for individuals either transitioning careers or starting their career journey.
But really, the true inspiration came from my innate ability to help others. I could see a need, and I had what it took to solve that need. I was able to use my years of experience to help individuals get jobs, more money or even take the step to move on to something bigger and often better.
How do you stay current with the latest research and trends in the field of career coaching?
I am a member of the CIPD, which is the professional body for HR practitioners. Through this body, I have to keep updated with advancements and changes in the girl, which includes career coaching. I’m an MCIPD which means I have to keep my CPD updated. I also signed up for a number of newsletters and emails from large and well-known coaching brands.
What challenges have you come across, and how did you overcome them?
My challenges were mainly personal. I have battled with imposter syndrome for many years. I knew I was good enough but couldn’t shake the inner voice in my ear. That led to a few challenges in my career where I was overlooked, or I needed to put myself forward. That soon changed when I embarked on NLP.
Another challenge I have faced in my career as an HR professional is the value misalignment when working with certain clients. Working with some companies and brands for credibility’s sake, but the way they operate is strictly polar opposites to the values that have plagued me for a long time. This has been an immense sense of stress, but you have to decide at some point what matters more, the money or your values? I opted for my values.
How do you incorporate technology into your coaching?
I use tech tools to support the administration of my coaching. For example, I have access to a great app that allows me to manage my time and project manage my work. A few good apps are Rise and Notion – they both help you maintain productivity. I also use Youcanbookme for scheduling my sessions, similar to Calendy.
What do you believe are the most important qualities of a successful career coach?
One of the most important qualities is active listening. No greater skill is required than a career coach that is able to summarize, provide feedback, question, and build up all because they have engaged in active listening.
How do you differentiate instruction to meet the needs of different clients?
Every client is different and has their own needs. I usually start by going through an assessment with them, and that helps me identify what type of person the client is and how they like to work. To get the best out of my career coaching clients, it requires and level of communication and understanding, and this differs from person to person.
Kindly mention some of your major achievements, accolades, and recognitions as a career coach.
I have won numerous awards for my professional work as a leader in this space. My most recent award was for leadership influencer, which I was awarded in Dubai.
What would be your advice to people struggling to find the right career path?
Identify what your top 3 non-negotiables are; what things you are not willing to compromise on? It could be the rate of pay. It could be the location. Be very clear on that. Then identify three things you are willing to be flexible on. This way, you know exactly where to start and where to look.
Finding the right career path can be very daunting. You need to know which way to turn, so having a coach or mentor is vital for your decision -making and guidance, and accountability.
Can you shed some light on your future plans?
Looking ahead, I plan to author a book guiding small and diverse business owners on how to obtain corporate contracts, bypassing the often-complicated tendering and procurement process. The book will underscore various strategies for penetrating the corporate market.
However, I am excited to announce the organization of my inaugural event, The Diverse Business Summit, London 2023. This event aims to empower small and diverse business owners by enhancing their visibility and readiness for the corporate marketplace, thereby enabling them to offer their services to large corporations and organizations.
My mission is to champion the underdogs (small, micro, and diverse and underrepresented business owners) and strive for a level playing field in the business world.
What makes you and your coaching methodology different from others?
Absolutely no one conducts coaching as I do; my approach is uniquely personal, introspective yet fully immersive and pragmatic. Leveraging several professional frameworks, including my own, I facilitate my clients’ journeys from point A to point B.
What sets my method apart is its potent impact and enduring efficacy, built upon a foundation of a truly distinctive approach.