MBA Career Coaching – The Fall Calendar Crunch

It’s crunch time. I hear from MBA coaching colleagues that their Fall calendars are filled with back-to-back student appointments, employers on-campus for info sessions, student prep for the national MBA conferences, and more.

My first summer job during high school was as a secretary for a cantaloupe processing facility. When the temps heated up to 100+ degrees, the melons had to be picked, processed, and refrigerated immediately or they’d rot in the fields. We put in 14+ hour days to keep up with the workload.

When the days are long, with no end in sight, how do you not just survive, but thrive? Here are a few coaching thoughts from our MBA coach certification program:

Lighten your share of the load:

How balanced are your conversations with students? If it feels like you’re “pulling teeth” to get students to contribute to the conversation, reset expectations. If it feels like you’re the “vending machine” dispensing direction, suggestions, and to-do lists, pull back a bit and ask a few more questions.

For example,

  • “I’ve been doing all the talking, and yet this is about you and what you want. What thoughts are coming up?”
  • “How are you uniquely equipped to make this happen?”

Listen for Energy:

Like a Geiger counter, listen for energy—whether a lack of energy or lots of energy.

  • Noticing areas where the student is blasé or nonplussed tells you there isn’t much motivation there.
  • Hearing where the student has passion for an industry or enthusiasm about a past success tells us there is potential motivation there.

Here’s a fascinating quick video on why energy and emotion is important for decision making.

Leverage your own Strengths:

We emphasize that students use their strengths in their career choice and job-search strategies. We can also be intentional about our strengths during this stretch season. For example, consider a “strength du jour” strategy for each day the week, such as

  • “Individualization” today—”my individualization skills allow me to see what makes each student tick”; or,
  • “Maximizer” tomorrow—”my ability to find shortcuts will help students with their job-search strategy.”

Deloitte noted that among worldwide top-performing teams, the ability to use one’s strengths each day was the #1 success factor (data shared in keynote presentation at the MBA Career Services and Employer Advisory Council conference in Dallas, June 2015).

Wishing you time to “eat your Wheaties,” as well as enjoy the journey, as you run the Fall marathon!

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