082 Coaching and Supporting Others in Job Search

Do you want to help your network find jobs? Many of us do! Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how you might be able to help your network that is productive.

Learn some strategies and tips on how to support job seekers from Andrew and Scott in this episode.

Don’t miss these Topics:

  • What is coaching and how can I coach others.
  • How to be available and supportive.
  • What to do when people ask for your help to find work.
  • When to ask questions and when to give advice.
  • Side effects and benefits of supporting others.
  • Building skills like understanding, empathy and helping others find their own way.
  • Who and how to reach out proactively.
  • Offering and doing mock interviews.
  • Thoughts on reverse brainstorming or being the “devil’s advocate”.
  • Facilitating networking connections.
  • Don’t ask for a resume unless you have a job or capacity to 100% endorse for a job.
  • Do for one what you wish you could do for many.
  • Create template for responding to outreaches you may not be able to give full attention.

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Raw and Unedited Transcript

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00:00:04 – 00:05:06

To John, singers radio I’m Scott. I’m Andrew this production is meant to provide meaningful support for you listener to find a great career faster whether you’re working or not. Today’s episode is brought to you by the anatomy of the networking conversation. It’s an e book and a free resource that we’ve created that you can download at seekers radio DOT com. Today’s episode were talking about how you as the listener can support others around you as a coach or a support mechanism to help them maybe in a time of need. Yes. We’re not talking about the kind of coaching that Andrew and I do where there’s a process that we help people get through that. We’re looking at outcomes and everything else coaching can actually be. Done in many different ways and and just just professional coaching. There’s the difference between the kind of coach that instructs and the other kind of coach that works with self-discovery, and we’re not going to go down that road. What we want to do is to set up the idea of making yourself available to help other people work through their stuff to be a resource. You think okay I’m not in a capacity I don’t have the capability. I’m not trained up or have the experience that Scott in Andrew have what value could I possibly have to those around me that are in need of employment that’s what we’re talking about as just as uncomfortable as it is for them to be looking for employment, it might be as equally uncomfortable for you to talk to them about it right for a number of reasons for whatever. There’s lots of reasons. especially if you are also looking for work, you don’t you’re not working at the time and somebody is asking you for advice. I worked to why. They right if I had all the answers. Well, that’s the thing. Often. We find the answers through helping other people and it’s something that I’m sure you’ve heard I’m sure we’ve even talked about it to some degree in prior podcasts the idea of making yourself available to to network with people to talk to other people you get as much if not more of the conversation than the one asking you we want to start by saying when someone asks you to coach them say yes. It doesn’t matter if you are the best coach in the world, what matters is that you are there for them. And it may not be that they’re asking you to be coached. They may just say, Hey, i. need help and that’s an admission on their side that they appreciate you. They honor potentially your contributions in your your advice, your perspective, it’s not them. Coming to you and demanding right something back. It’s them coming to you with open hand saying I need help. It could come in another form where people are reaching out to you thinking you might have a job. This is an opportunity to reset conversation and actually help them through potentially a networking process to execute best practices. But right now at a very basic level, all some people really need is someone to listen because they may not be getting responses on applications they may not be getting interviews, they may reach out to you from a position of. Nervousness and self doubt and perhaps even anxiety just be available I mean it’s not as difficult as we make it sound say, yes, there’s something that comes by asking questions and that’s I think the difference between a coach and a consultant right so when we’re coaching, we actually have a different hat on where were asking questions to get to space that you already want to go. So we’re not trying to lead you to a space you. You maybe don’t Wanna go or that’s mutually beneficial for both of us that would probably be closer. To sales and leading somebody to a destination that I want them to go would be manipulation of the highest degree. We don’t want that either. But what we’re talking about here in terms of your capacity to be available is just ask questions you know, what are you experiencing where you know you don’t have to make any statements you don’t have to offer them anything other than your ear to listen and ask questions that’s going to do a couple of things for the audience. By the way, it’s going to allow you to be seen. As somebody who cares which is always good. So that’s a reputation you get to take away. So you do get benefit not by telling or You know doing these other activities that aren’t gonNA lead to any kind of positive outcome for both of you. One of the things that comes to my mind as I think about being unemployed especially unemployed for any period of time is the idea of not being heard when were in the the the work place one of the things that I talked about internal communication and.


00:05:06 – 00:10:18

Internal Service is the idea of gossip and how every company you’re going to hear especially in HR. Oh, gossip is a bad thing. It’s destructive. It’s poison. It’s this that and all of that is true. It happens for a reason and it’s usually because someone feels that they’re not being heard will that is absolutely true when we’re in a job search, there is no one then there to hear us one of the things that that I learned in my coaching training was to start the conversation with what’s going on for you. It isn’t about giving them a gripe session or letting them complain. First of all, we judge Griping and complaining way too much mainly because generally people don’t understand how to help others get solutions but that’s a different conversation. The idea is let them be heard. By being that listening ear, you’re allowing the other person to feel heard to feel like you’re there to listen that you’re actually someone who cares. These are all really nice things to feel you’re helping them by getting it out getting it out of their head if you’re taking notes so much the better because then you can start looking at any patterns that may show up things that they’re not noticing and then. By. Asking more questions about what they understand about what they’ve just talked about they can start putting things together for themselves. You have to come up with the answers because they’re going to do all that for themselves and you just eliminated a dependent relationship. There’s been fit all around that not only are you building reputation and you’re adding value but this is a what what goes around comes around kind of thing. That if you help this person and then you’re in that same space six months a year two years from now then you have somebody you can lean into that. You demonstrated that you were that type of person and the there’s an opportunity there for you to open a door that that maybe it was closed before I would say as you’re asking these questions, my tendency for example, is to them because I. Connect. I. That is what I seek in any interaction is that connection and I have a habit when I hear them telling me their story I, then tell them my story that kind of mirroring is natural. Everyone does that to some degree now people like me we tend to to share easily other people tend not to share so easily and that’s okay. The idea of sharing needs to go back and forth. If you’re like me pay attention to what they are saying. Behind the words that they’re using because. So often, and this is the the although Stephen Covey gets the credit for it. It was said long before him will you listen to reply not to understand it happens in most of our conversations where someone will say something that triggers a thought on my hand I stopped listening except for that opening so that I can reply instead you can connect just as well. If you listen to what they’re talking about and ask another question asked a question that helps refine what they just said. To, get them one step farther or to be a little clearer whatever that may be. Get in the habit of asking a second question. That is going to help not only that person feel that you care. It’s going to help them actually get ahead in their own path and you’re now practicing a skill you can work for yourself and you’re not in a position where you just constantly adding advice I know I as a man I suppose you could say it that way. I’m always looking for ways to fix things to make things better right. So I’m always looking for the solution before I’ve had a chance to understand the problem. I don’t know that that’s necessarily dealing with sex I think most us at least in the United States we are taught as we grow up in business that we need to be solutions oriented. We need a solution what problem you’re trying to solve. I can’t tell you how many times in how many organizations I’ve been in whether as an employer consultant they asked me well, what problem are we trying solve? Why do you need a problem? What if you want to do something proactive? Well, we’re not accustomed to doing that it doesn’t have to be your solution that needs to be found here. Maybe you need. To Guide them through asking these questions so that they find their own solution, which is far more valuable because they’re actually going to be motivated to do it, and when they come to you the they know that you’re going to act in this way. Then you’re not in a position of hand to give advice after advice after, and now I become the reputation of guy that has all the answers and none of them were in the market none none of the good questions to help me, and then when you go to knock on that door six months a year from now, it’s not going to open.


00:10:19 – 00:15:03

So. That’s something to think about now and and I’m sure as you through and listen to some of our podcast episodes. You’re probably gonNA think of somebody that is going or is exhibiting some of these things that we’re talking about and what I’ve gotten in the habit of in this is taken, some practice is actually reaching out to that person right when. I think about them if I have time if I’m in the middle of something that’s different. I usually think of it as going to sleep at night or as I wake up at five in the morning. Yeah. Well, I mean not a good time to talk but that’s a good time to say what I really need to reach out to this person. Follow up not from a position of self interest but from a position of you know, are you okay are you getting through this search? All right. There’s gotta be somebody that you know that comes into your mind during the day or during our conversations on seekers radio that you should reach out to, and if it does you should yes. Yup I agree that in the habit of shooting people we talk. At. Don’t should yourself you should do this I. I completely agree don’t pass up the opportunities when somebody comes to mind and I’m not suggesting that there’s some mystical aspect of this worse He’s thinking of me on. It it’s just don’t lose that opportunity. Hey, you came to my mind today. How are you put yourself in that person’s position? Doesn’t it feel good when somebody calls you out of the blue and says, Hey, I was thinking about today how you doing right and then you can ask those questions what’s going on for you right now what are you learning through this time? Whatever it is that they’re telling you how does this apply to what patterns they’ve seen or where they go because you’re going to get as much or more out of that conversation as they do. To get in the habit at part of being an effective leader or somebody that’s in the marketplace looking for opportunity, you may be an Aja, but you don’t know that you need another one just yet. But as being proactive yourself by reaching out to these people offering support you really laying the groundwork so that if that does happen, you’re you’re prepared right another thing that I really like that you’ve just reminded me of is offering to those people that you know who are looking for work to do a mock interview just to practice their interviewing skills because as the interviewer you have to be aware of what those interviewing skills are, and you’re simply reinforcing your own interviewing skills by being the interviewer. Absolutely if anyone this is my advice if anyone asks you to help them through a mock interview, say, yes you both benefit and it’s something that super easy you don’t have to you don’t have to really. Reach out to anybody or coach anybody just hey, it’s an interview right something. You could even offer I suppose to do for that person. You know if you ever have an interview I’m open I’m open to helping you with that. So if you’re the type of person that’s really good at those interpersonal communications or or perhaps you’re in a domain where you’re doing a lot of interviewing yourself and so it’s second nature to you to see what’s good or what’s not that yeah that would be something. You could easily role play and provide an invaluable tool to help these folks be ready. Now, I don’t know outside of helping somebody meet their future spouse. Right that you actually introduced that person to their spouse. I. Don’t think there’s anything higher than that than helping somebody find a good job. and. So if you had even a little bit of contribution in that process, it feels good. Feels real good. Does doing something for others supporting other people in their moment of need helps you in yours it gets you out of your own head. It gets you out of your own cycles. Those those vicious circles that you can that your mind can get yourself in putting yourself out there and really. Starting, to think in new ways. Now, another thing we may have talked about this concept at a in a prior podcast, but I thought it applied here to is the idea of doing reverse brainstorming and where that came in in my own thinking was the idea of playing devil’s advocate. Okay. So you’re talking to somebody who is struggling with something and you’re going to play devil’s advocate my first thought was. Be Very careful because I’ve been the devil’s advocate in the past and all I did was shut the person down more because I kept asking questions that triggered their doubt.


00:15:03 – 00:20:12

So if you’re dealing with somebody who is in that situation where they’re just sort of spinning in their own, a process that I learned relatively recently over the couple of years was reverse brainstorming. It’s a hypothetical conversation so you’re already by. Setting it up as hypothetical you’re talking about what is not real? It lowers the stakes somebody can get out of their own head. Okay. We’re going to do something a little differently. What reverse brainstorming does is instead of going for what you want brainstorming the outcome you want you brainstorm the outcome you don’t want. So let’s say you’re looking for work. Well, what can you do to fail at getting a job? Let’s put out on a piece of paper, a whiteboard whatever you have available to you. Let’s look at all the things that you can do to prevent yourself from getting a job and you start writing all this stuff. Now take it to the next step. So somebody actually reaches out to you to do some networking. What can you do to make that fail and you’re right all those things down that’d be fun exercise wouldn’t it? You now have a list of all the things that you can avoid doing. That are going to take your chances do the things that are the opposite of all of those ideas or I could stay at home. Okay. Don’t stay home I could tell the person now. Don’t say no. Reverse brainstorming is a very simple and very successful way to start coming up with ideas that will lead you to success and you don’t have to play devil’s advocate to do. It could be that instead of calling it reverse brainstorming you just talk about a hypothetical third-party, right? Okay. My friend Jerry or my my my sister Sophia or something. And that way it’s not you and it’s not damage some other third party that’s doing that what what are they doing? What can they do to fail I? It’s like a an Avatar. Now, living vicariously through third party but I but I can see how it’d be super valuable getting somebody unstuck. You have somebody that comes to you. They’re stuck. This is a way to get them unstuck. The other side effect that happens is at some point you’re going to start laughing because the IDs get a little bit silly Dick. They’re still true they sound silly and so you’re you’re laughing about all these things that you are. You have to do to fail the the light that shines on what you can do get so much brighter I. IT’S A. Process that I’ve used a number of times. Now over the last couple of years, I find it to be helpful in some fashion every single time on top of that, you’re probably looking at the possibility. If you’re weld network that you could connect this person somebody else hotel in your network, it’s just making sure I. Think the challenge had there’s if this person is not displaying to you the best practices that are known for networking, you may be reluctant to do that. What that means is if it makes sense for you and you think it would be. A warm introduction to send this person to the next one on the list. So to speak, then do that and maybe even help them through that by educating them or providing suggestions on what they should talk about riotous third party another thing and I think of someone in particular that I talked to a while ago that they had that experience where this other person helps them get to the next step and the interview didn’t go well and so that other person didn’t want to recommend my acquaintance in the future the conversation. I WanNa have with that other. person is don’t say no, it may not have gone the way you you had hoped there is still room for a discussion of value there, and if not to help your friend to get employed by that company at least have a conversation about what the company is looking for, and that allows all parties to come away from it being in a little bit better situation rather than just letting it sit at oh, it didn’t go well. So I I like the idea of coming back and not necessarily doing a retrospective. What can we learn from this I? Think? That’s an important conversation to have. If you’RE GONNA go to the effort of recommending somebody for a job. Shouldn’t you then also perhaps take the next step and help them prep for the interview if your your corporate policy allows that then by all means? If they are as good as they say they are in you know them why not? Right? Why not offer to hey, do you need prepping for that interview? Yeah. Now they say no, and then they fail and they tank. Well, it’s another thing if you’re going to be on the committee, exactly one of the difficulties of of knowing someone in hr or the hiring manager in the first place a who if they cannot recuse themselves.


00:20:13 – 00:25:02

It could make a little awkward so that that’s a different conversation. The idea of making the introductions helping the person prepare following up with them. These are all ways that you can then help other people. which pays off in your own search and we do have. I do have a resource actually on my own website that’s a networking checklist. So it’s something that’s easy to transmit to other people so that show yeah. I’ll put that in the show notes. So if you’re interested in endowing copy of networking checklist. I’ll put that in the show notes as well as the. Request that you can get for the Anatomy of networking conversation and the discussion Scott that you and I have had until now is been what can we do to coach people in in a positive way? That’s helpful. I think it’s also valuable to determine at least call out what may not be helpful for for you to do so they can avoid. Yes. So that you can avoid doing these things and potentially pointing this person in a position that’s worse than when they came came to you excellent in the first one, I can think of is is asking somebody for a resume that you intend to do nothing with. Now. You’re not. You’re doing it intentionally are doing it to end the conversation because you don’t want to have it or it’s uncomfortable or you think this I just don’t know what to do here. I agree. and. That goes beyond the interviewing and networking and all and one thing I learned years ago as I got started in the HR and learning and development space never ask a question that you’re not prepared to do something with the answer. So by the same token, if you’re going to ask for a resume and you’re not going to do something with it, that is a big no, don’t do that. Ask for it do something with it or don’t ask for it. Yeah. I if they’re looking for a job and they come to you and you ask for a resume, what they’re thinking in their mind is you have a job for them or at least you’re going to pass it to the person who does and that you’re gonNA put your thumb on the scale or perhaps offer of recommendation or endorsement So just what they’re thinking, that’s what their mindset is. So when you’re taking that resume without that, then you need to be clear why you’re doing it and with that said, if you just say, well, send me your resume is there harm in in? Forwarding that to your hr department, this is something that I’ve run into with a number of people what what do I do with it since the jar it doesn’t need to be soliciting a specific job or soliciting an interview for a specific job. It doesn’t have to be anything other than, Hey, I know somebody who would be interested in work for the company here’s the resume. So at least you’re actually doing something with that resume you never know what may where that may lead I if you’re going to take that step to send it to hr please follow up with the person you took the resume from sure. Let them know you did that end. And with the next step might be because he here’s what happens. They’re still sitting there waiting for a phone call to get an interview. Okay. So if you’re just handing off the HR wiping your hands of it, not that that’s bad. No, I think there was that that’s the least you could do. That’s okay if there isn’t any anything else for you to other than to give that then you go ahead forward to take charge and then you tell your friend I forwarded to HR I don’t know if they’ll do anything because don’t know what positions they’re actually going to be posting know that someone received it, and if you happen to hear back from them, you can use my name doing something with it is more important. The other thing is telling them to look online at the jobs available unless you really have a job for them often I hear people that go and they meet with somebody at the. Company Oh, just go to the online portal and look at the jobs I having been in that situation in my career. I find that to be rather off putting I. Lose his certain amount of respect for the person says just go to my my website and look for the open jobs because that means they either don’t know why I’m talking to them. They don’t care enough to look in advance if this is an off the cuff conversation, they weren’t planning on talking to me any of that. That’s great. If someone comes to you and says, Hey, i. be interested in doing an informational interview because of where. You work at least take a few minutes to look at your own job postings just out of respect for the person who’s WHO’s coming to you look at is an opportunity to pay it forward.


00:25:02 – 00:30:02

Honestly. So this person comes to you and you say go look at the jobs online and then that’s it. Really if you’re GONNA do that why here’s what they’re thinking they’re thinking oh well, we’ll go there and this person’s going to advocate for me. They’re gonNA put me for a recommendation they have a job for me. Okay. So if they’re encouraging me to go to the website and look at the jobs They have one for me or they’re gonNA advocate for me. Here we go back to setting adequate expectations ultimately by coaching or supporting other people. What you’re trying to do is help them and by not doing things, you are not helping them we really want to encourage people don’t ignore the request says they come in if you cannot help someone tell them you’re not in a position to help as much as you might like to, at least they get resolution to their outright right but avoiding them or not responding to them is just plain rude and no response is still respond. So I would say avoid that. The upfront be gentle with them. If you cannot help, we recommend we’re both open network irs we we will network with just about anybody because we understand the value of networking I have no idea if this total stranger comes and asks me to network what the mutual benefit may be I may want to ask some questions. The idea is if you cannot be honest about it, it’s okay say yes. Whenever you can I know that there’s people listening To this podcast that are so busy and they get so many requests every day that they they just can’t possibly spend time with everybody. I. Get that and the philosophy that I’ve heard that I really like is due for one. What you wish you could do for many. So even though you’re not meeting everybody pick one person maybe a week that you feel like, okay this is my one person and not that you’re being charitable, you’re being realistic. And, you’re doing for them what you wish you could do for everybody something else that goes hand in hand with that is if you are getting the same request, say for instance, you work in HR and you’re always getting the request. Hey, can I. Talk to you for advice about how to interview whatever if those are coming in consistently have some kind of response that you can copy and Paste that you are then providing them resource that can help them. Maybe you send send them a link to to job seekers radio DOT COM that way you’re not ignoring them. You’re not being rude. You are saying I’m sorry. I’m not in a position to help you right now. This is where I would suggest you turn for that kind of help and that way they’re still getting an honest. Response from you. That is at some in some fashion helpful to them and I’m not saying that job seekers radio DOT COM is the answer to all of it, send them to someone or some organization that can help them. And I’ve also seen people do posts unlike lengthened what have you how to get hired at my company? So there’s a company that you work for like aws I shall somebody did that this is how you get hired at aws. Here’s the leadership principles and they just laid it all out right so that if you WANNA get a job with our company, here’s everything you need to get that done. So I think that was intentional in that it allowed him to hold everybody at arm’s length and he can just point them to the Arctic. That’s a brilliant idea. So there’s other ways to get around that. So all right while we WANNA thank you all for joining us today. Check out the link in the show notes for itunes. Subscribe. You’ll get future episodes. You’ll be able to keep up with what’s going on and most importantly, you can provide a rate and review we want to hear from you whether you felt this was helpful or give us the review and how it helped you. We love to hear from that about that. We also want to hear from you with your questions. We love trying to provide some answers to questions remembering that we’re not just giving advice we’re really trying to help. You discover what’s going to work for you send US those notes at I tunes, you can get the show notes in resources on whatever podcast player you have on your mobile device or should be a link down there. If you prefer to go to the website, you can do that as well. It’s job seekers radio DOT COM forward slash zero eight two and that’s typically for folks that are driving you know sometimes you you can’t just go to your phone and Click the link. So that’s where he had find all the resources we talked about, and the show notes with more details while I’m Andrew and I’m Scott and in the words of Andrew Iskender and I’m paraphrasing.


00:30:03 – 00:30:15

Kindness, is not doing something for someone else because they can’t. Kindness is doing something for someone because you can. Thanks everybody. Thanks fighting.


Anatomy of a Networking Conversation

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