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After serving nearly eight years with Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, in 2008, Michelle Greene, director of business infrastructure, was beginning to feel that her journey with the company had run its course. Upon returning to the U.S. after a four-year assignment in Sweden, Greene found herself in the middle of company layoffs of which she became responsible for administering. “It was a very emotional and draining experience,” she recalls. “With all the changes, I was getting to where I was not as happy in my role as I had been in the past.”
To help her get though the company’s restructuring, Greene decided it was time to seek a career coach. Though not essential for career success, working with someone who can provide specific strategic suggestions for managing career blocks and challenges can be a beneficial investment for your professional development. According to Sherpa Executive Coaching, a firm that provides research on executive coaching and is based in Cincinnati, OH, executive coaching should not be confused with a mentor, consultant, trainer or life coach. Their job is to assist companies or individuals in leadership development, or a specific career challenge, such as honing in on a skill or going through a transition.
After interviewing two prospective coaches, Greene selected executive coach Alan Shatteen, principal of Shatteen and Associates, a private practice coaching firm based in Cleveland, Ohio, with six years of coaching experience. His fee would be $100 per session. Their partnership began in September 2008 with a weekly one-hour phone session.
With Shatteen, Greene had to learn to control her emotions so they would not be a distraction. “Michelle was overwhelmed by her emotion,” says Shatteen, whose clientele, are by referral and consists of corporate individuals, former and current athletes and entrepreneurs, a majority of which are women ages 32-50. “So our strategy was to create an awareness in Michelle that reinforced the notion that she could become an even more successful person than she already was.” Shatteen’s techniques with Greene included creating a surrogate voice, or a voice of positives, and posing questions to promote forward thinking, such as where would Greene like to be within the next 2 years and how to put her work efforts in alignment with her goals.