How a Business Coach Led With Her Values

by Pamela on September 13, 2009

Pamela Beaudet Creates Ad Hoc Coalition to Coach the Unemployed from Adversity to Opportunity

During the 2008 Thanksgiving break, I was watching ABC’s Good Morning America. Their workplace contributor, Tory Johnson, was talking about Job Clubs for people who had lost their jobs in the recession. Groups of people would gather weekly in their local area to network, build skills, and offer support. I was impressed that each member of a Job Club had to contribute something to the group; it wasn’t a place to whine.

I immediately decided to find 5 Job Club members and offer to coach them, free of charge, for three months. Then I reached for a bigger goal and set out to challenge 100 of my peers to do the same. I emailed ABC and they invited me to make a video of my offer which they posted on abcnewsnow.com. I was pretty excited, and it meant that I needed to make this happen. In the middle of a recession, I left my job at StomperNet and took a hiatus from my private coaching practice. I found 100 coaches to join me and most donated 1-3 pro bono slots. I was touched that so many coaches, many of whom didn’t even know me, would take this leap of faith and trust me to match them up with a client or two.

Once I had all 100 colleagues in place, ‘Coaches United for Success in America’ was born. My fellow coaches stayed patient while I learned how to use social media channels. I advertised the program through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, college alumni offices, and word of mouth. Interested professionals completed a comprehensive survey that I created using SurveyMonkey.com. I read each one and matched job seekers to a coach with similar interests or backgrounds. We helped our clients gain clarity on what they were looking for in their next position, kept them focused on their search, lifted them up when they needed it, and helped them consider new possibilities. Most of all, we just listened and focused squarely on our clients for a few hours a month, which is what many needed.

Giving away free coaching wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be! In the end, I matched about 160 people with free coaching. From conception to execution, it took about 7 months of full time attention. I continue to receive feedback from both coaches and clients, and I know I made the right decision to start this group. It was a fulfilling, albeit challenging, project. I connected with some fabulous coaches and talked to so many people who were out of work and grateful for the opportunity to just talk to someone about what they were feeling. I coached some really great clients that I’ll never forget. As a business coach who encourages my clients to lead with their values, I walked the talk and learned a lot of valuable lessons.

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Astrid Wielens September 5, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Pamela,

I want to share my thoughts though mostly because I am so grateful for the opportunity I was given through your initiative.

I have been coached by Kim Paterson for a long time now and it has been a wonderful experience. It is a gift to be guided by a neutral person who asks me important reflective questions on my process, who listens closely, and can hold me to my process. Kim was a pleasure to spend time with on the phone. She asked critical questions and allowed me the space to interpret them or to get back to her on them after some reflection time. I did not feel pushed in any way to meet an external expectation. It always focused on what would work best for me.

Working with Kim has structured my decision making process on my next move in my professional career. By the time I got to my “aha moment” I felt confident and even jubilant about what decision needed to be. Now I am in the middle of starting a nonprofit organization to provide enrichment programs for children with chronic health conditions and their families. I am excited to pay this opportunity forward. It was a dream to do it; I gained the extra confidence to make the leap because my process had been intentional.

What a gift it has been. Thank you for your initiative that provided this opportunity.

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Debra Kulp September 5, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Pamela,

You’re the best! Thank you for “paying it forward,” challenging your peers, and matching me with Dave Kanegis.

I often said I hit the “jackpot” with Dave, a career coach with casino marketing expertise!

Dave’s talent for coaching has been instrumental in encouraging me to look at the “big” picture with his thought provoking questions. One of Dave’s greatest strengths is his intuitiveness. He has an innate ability to communicate effectively. In addition to Dave’s excellent communication skills, his quick wit, generosity of time, and thoughtfulness has made this a pleasure and an incredible learning experience. I highly recommend Dave because he has been an invaluable asset to my career transition. His enthusiastic approach is refreshing!

Thank you again!

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Janice M. Williams September 5, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Thank you for selecting me to be a participant in the Coaches United for Success in America program. And, thank you for pairing me with the outstanding talents of Sara Smith. I had an absolutely fantastic coaching experience.

In the few short months that I’ve worked with Sara, she’s helped me to identify significant self defeating behaviors that were sidelining my personal development. Through various techniques she helped me identify and celebrate my goals and unique strengths. She introduced the concept of developing my personal brand (i.e. the “Janice brand”) to see my life through a new and bountiful lens. In short, she made a powerful difference in my life by helping me step into a new path of awareness and personal power. In total, Sara and my coaching experience has been exceptional!

Thank you again for coordinating this wonderful program. As a person in transition, this has been an extremely enlightening and enriching journey. Thank you so much for making it available to me.

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Joe Testolin September 5, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Hi Pamela,

Thank you so much for matching me up with Sandy Marshall. Sandy and I hit it off pretty well from the get go. She was very helpful in keeping me focused and more importantly, holding me accountable.

At the beginning, we discussed me and my job search “plan.” As we progressed, I talked about what was working, and what wasn’t, as well as where I thought I needed to spend more time. Sandy was super supportive all the way through, asking me some very tough, thought provoking questions. She offered things for me to consider and constantly asked me what I was thinking. She definitely helped “guide” and “lead” me, like all good coaches do.

It was a rewarding experience and something that I will remember forever. Thank you so much for starting this program and helping those of us in transition through the ups and downs of the job search. I haven’t landed yet, but I will one of these days – hopefully soon!

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Janet Crystal September 5, 2009 at 4:58 pm

This program came at a particular good time for me. I had run out of money and motivation to look for work (I’ve been unemployed for 2 years now. It’s hard to believe.)

Working with my coach, Donna Timpone, once a week makes me feel like I am doing something even if nothing, absolutely nothing, is happening on the job front. My coach is sympathetic, understanding, helpful and available on schedule. I appreciate all that while I’m looking.

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Joan S September 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm

First thank you so much for providing Linda Fernando as my coach. She has been extremely effective in helping me deal with obstacles in my career and job search and has helped me see where I could be doing better.

I have always viewed coaching as helpful, depending upon what stage of life one is in and what needs one has. It’s important to match coach and individual, and you did a great job of that.

Linda, in particular, has the skills and personality to continue to be a great coach. I really enjoy our sessions, and she has helped me tremendously. I’m very saddened by the fact that out time together is nearing a close.

Thank you, Pamela, for putting this program together. It has helped me a great deal, and I would think that many others are thankful, also. Take good care, and God bless you and the other coaches who participated.

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Kim E. Lazarus September 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Hi Pamela:

I have to admit, I didn’t believe this was a free coaching. It took me awhile to believe it, as nothing works this way. I kept asking my coach, Kimberly Paterson, if this was real. I really needed the help and support and for me this has been fantastic! I think my coach was so helpful in thinking through what I was doing and getting me to stay positive as I went on interviews. I am a positive person in general but this unemployment has been hard.

She has given me more confidence which I think will stay with me. She has helped me look at my behavior and balance my life a bit and I am sure that I will remember all of the coaching for months to come. I feel so badly that my time with my coach is coming to an end.

If I ever have a chance to recommend her in my future work, you can be sure that I will. I try to help others with resumes and coaching (for new graduates etc.) as I have gone through this situation, and it is clear that I too needed a coach. Thank you for this wonderful idea

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Karineh G September 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Pamela – Thank you so much for organizing such a great service. I really appreciated it and thought it was very selfless for the coaches to dedicate their time to helping others find employment.

I liked the fact that my coach, Linda Fernando, was available at almost all times via email and that she was flexible and did her best to work with me. I was going through a personal hard time these past couple months, so it was hard to be 100% focused on the job hunt. My coach did her best to help me to figure out what was ‘dream job’ may be in the short and long term.

I sincerely thank you and Linda for this free service you’ve provided for me. I do appreciate it and found it very resourceful!

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Nancy B September 5, 2009 at 5:02 pm

First of all thank you Pamela so much for your inspiration and generosity in putting this program together. I am finding my interaction with Bernadette Norz extremely helpful. She is helping me to re-program some of the negative or “scarcity” thinking I’ve had as a result of the experience of going through a job loss. I’m once again thinking abundantly. It has already been re-invigorating and started me back on the path of purposeful action.

I really didn’t have any expectation of what coaching was all about and Bernadette has shown me that it is about helping me be the best I can be versus being something I’m not. I look forward to continuing to work on honing in on what my goals are and how to move there positively. Bernadette is a really astute listener and is able to help me see myself from the outside. She has been terrific! I do hope to be able to continue with her as I think I am making progress toward my goal of helping me move past blocks in feeling creative and better identify what my goals are for the next few years.

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Jennifer Burkinshaw September 22, 2009 at 9:07 am

Pamela

I was so impressed to read about not only your own generosity of your time and resources in launching this project but also how you influenced others to do the same. It’s heartening to read about such selflessness. Reading about it in the UK, I could only hope that someone here would have the foresight to offer similar coaching. There must be tens of thousands who could benefit.

I don’t personally need or know anyone who needs business coaching but I do know those who need help in not procrastinating and general life-style management. If this isn’t a silly quesions, is it possible to do over the net?

Good luck!

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Pamela September 22, 2009 at 10:17 am

Hello Jennifer-
Thanks for your kind comment. I actually did have some coaches from the UK who inquired about my program and I encouraged them to follow my model, as there are many who have been ‘made redundant’ as you say (in the US, we say ‘laid off’).
To answer your question about doing sessions over the net: It’s not a silly question. It’s actually a great question. I do sessions via Skype phone, which is over the net, with my international clients. I do provide life coaching as well and would be happy to provide a complimentary session to anyone that you feel would benefit from my services.
Thanks again for commenting and I hope you visit again soon!
Best,
Pamela

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Graham Bullock September 30, 2009 at 10:53 am

Wow! How refreshing to find a person with your drive and generosity of spirit.
Your article just reinforces my view that a great deal of human resources are wasted world wide due to the simple fact, that millions of people with great potential to be creative and add value to their economy are not able to do so.

What is missing is the ability of specialist business coaches to groom, educate, improve the presentation of, and finally connect these talented, resourceful individuals to the employers that require them to grow their businesses or to business environments that they would excel in.

You are doing a fantastic job!

(As an associated footnote I see that in UK BBC television have a program called “Year Dot” which coaches clients into jobs where they can add a high level of value or aids them to start their own businesses.)

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Pamela October 5, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Thanks, Graham!
I appreciate your comments and hope you visit again soon!
Best
Pamela

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Diane November 10, 2009 at 9:33 am

Pamela,

I was one of the recipients of free coaching — and boy, do I feel lucky! My coach helped me to think through a difficult decision regarding a whole new career path. She asked just the right questions to help me make the decision with open eyes. We spent a lot of time discussing the sacrifices of leaving my current field and the life satisfaction I think I’ll feel in my new career. With her help, I am marching forward without a fear that I’ll look back – she helped me to take the plunge with confidence because I know I’ve thought it through. Goodbye corporate life, hello secondary education!

Thank you, Pamela and big thanks to my coach, Laurie Charpentier!

Diane

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Pamela November 10, 2009 at 11:18 am

Hi Diane-
I’m so glad that you got great benefit from the program and from your experience with Laurie. That was our goal!
Good luck with your new endeavor. It sounds like you’re really following your heart.
Keep me posted.
Pamela

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Sarah Thompson November 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Thank you so much for starting Coaches United for Success in America. I spent several sessions on the phone with Nick Zart who was my coach. I am a finance professional who found myself unemployed after a short stint with a very dysfunctional company. Nick encouraged me and helped me work through a lot of my worries about finding a new job at a company that was successful. After just 11 weeks of unemployment I started working at a medical device manufacturer that is actually making a profit! I have not had a chance to thank Nick enough for helping me through this rough time. I was very nervous about being able to pay my bills while looking for a job and Nick inspired me to put together a list of alternative ways that I could make ends meet until I found a position that would support me and my family. I now have been employed for 5 months and I love the company that I work for. I have started to pay it forward with someone that I am training in a temporary position – hopefully my training will give her some skills that will allow her to land a permanent position – if not with my company then with another company. This program has shown me that helping one person at a time can really make a difference. Thanks again. – Sarah

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Pamela November 16, 2009 at 11:17 am

Hi Sarah-
I am so glad that things worked out well with Nick. It sounds like you found a great new position! I am humbled to hear that our program inspired you to continue to ‘pay it forward,’ and I’m sure that the person you are training will benefit greatly from your mentoring. You said it best: “helping one person at a time really can make a difference.”
Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with Coaches United for Success in America!
Warm Regards,
Pamela

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Brian November 30, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Dear Pamela-
I worked with Elise Holtzman, and I was very pleased with the coaching that she provided me. Elise was very sincere in her efforts to help me, and she went far beyond the required hours of coaching. She helped me define my goals as well as develop networking skills. Prior to working with Elise, my networking skills were non-existent. Now that I am more comfortable utilizing my connections as well as developing new connections, I have dramatically increased the efficiency of my job search. In sum, I have had a very positive experience with Coaches United for Success in America, and I am very grateful for the effort you put forth in setting it up.
Sincerely,
Brian

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Judy Staicer December 17, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Dear Pamela,
First, thank you so much for starting this free coaching program. You have done a lot of good for so many people. If “what goes around, comes around,” you will have much good coming to you for a long time.

I had the great good fortune of having Katie West as my coach. She was just the right person for me. My field is so small and has been dragged down by the building bust, so there have been precious few job opportunities for me to even go after, so much of what we did was to look at larger life goals with the idea that I may have to change fields and rethink my career. Since my coaching, I have achieved the first half of the goal of a professional credential I wanted to get, and I hope to soon achieve the second half of it. While I’m still out of work, I’ve had a couple of very good interviews, and am actually waiting to hear about one position for which I’m well qualified. And perhaps most importantly, I’ve let go of the idea that creative fulfillment has to come from my job. It’s great if that can happen, but it doesn’t HAVE to- and that idea opens up many possibilities that might otherwise be overlooked.

I always got a lot out of my conversations with Katie and found her to be really skilled at coming up with just right questions for me to answer. The process really helped me focus how I think about my career and my creative life and has inspired me to follow the call of my artistic impulses, job or no job. Katie’s coaching was a real bright spot in a sometimes difficult and discouraging year. Thank you!

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Pamela December 20, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Thanks for your feedback, Judy!
I’m so glad that you got a lot out of your time with Katie West. She is a really fabulous coach. Looking at things from a different perspective can be really liberating and it’s great that you have some new options to consider. Best wishes on getting the position that is a good fit! Come back and let me know how it turned out.
Best,
Pamela Beaudet

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Evelyn McKay January 2, 2010 at 10:51 am

Dear Pamela-
Shawna Corden arrived like a gift at a time when I most needed the help that she offered through your program. It took us a while to figure out how we’d been connected. I’d just been laid off and a life coach offering pro bono support seemed too good to be true…but true it was!
I am very grateful for the help Shawna has given me over the past 7+ months. In particular, she has helped me stay focused on the big picture of health and balance in the post-layoff months. Shawna has also helped me prioritize and make progress towards my overall goals. I always leave calls with Shawna with a small list of actions, steps that I can accomplish that move me a little further along the path and outcomes I desire.

Many thanks to you and Shawna for your thoughtfulness and insight. I am still awed to be connected to such generous professionals.

Sincerely,
Evelyn McKay

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Pamela January 4, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Hi Evelyn-
I am happy to hear that you are getting so much value from your time with Shawna and are continuing to move forward while you look for work. What a great testimonial!
I wish you the best. Keep in touch.
Regards,
Pamela

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Dena Kwasek March 8, 2010 at 11:11 am

Dear Pamela,

Shortly after my layoff, I heard of your program that matched job seekers with coaches. I am so thankful that you matched me with Kathy Bowen. She is a wonderfully dedicated and intuitive coach who helped me immensely. Kathy went above and beyond what she signed up to do as a volunteer coach. We were supposed to work together for a few months and she spent almost a year with me. Kathy and I decided that our end goal was for me to find a full time job. We passed the three month mark and I still hadn’t found a job. Even though though Kathy had fulfilled her volunteer requirements, she continued working with me. She plugged right along until I found a job! Her dedication to helping me says a great deal about her character and enthusiasm to be a coach.

Kathy is a fantastic coach and I would recommend her to anyone, not just job seekers, in search of a coach. She asked me tough questions and helped me work toward the answers in a reasonable and do-able way. She helped me create processes to achieve my goals and also helped me redefine my goals. Her constant encouragement also helped mend my bruised self-esteem post-layoff. Our conversations were often the bright spot that I needed to re-energize my job search.

Thank you so much for matching me up with Kathy. She truly helped me get through a difficult time and come out better than when I started. I wish her much success in her career and hope to be able to refer her services in the future.

Thank you again!

Regards,

Dena Kwasek
Atlanta, GA

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Pamela March 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Hello Dena,
What a glowing testimonial! Although I didn’t actually meet every coach, my correspondence with them let me know how special they are. Kathy was no exception! Kudos to Kathy for continuing to coach you until you got a new position. I’m sure that made you feel supported and that’s one of the great benefits of life coaching. And, it says a lot about you and your commitment to the process.
I’m glad that you two were such a good match.
Good luck in your new position.

Best Regards,
Pamela

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