The “Value” Is Up to You

by on March 23, 2016

The “Value” Is Up to You

Fotolia_12376781_XS 300x200I participate in a number of job search support groups. They are quite common in my home state of New Jersey. While I am not actively seeking employment, I have a lot to offer as a facilitator of conversation among attendees, sometimes being a presenter and other times bringing in additional expert voices on the job search process. One group I facilitate is a discussion group where attendees share feelings on their search and provide listening support and guidance to each other.

At a recent session some of the attendees were lamenting about the benefit of a new initiative that had started in my state for mature job searchers (those 45 years of age and older). The effort had been inspired by a foundation providing financial resources to a Workforce Development center at our state’s leading public university. When such initiatives start, they go through the pains of defining what they are and are not, and the services they will look to offer to those who seek those benefits. This group, with limited staff, is attempting to offer as many services as possible, often with the support of volunteer personnel to supplement their efforts.

One of the discussions was focused on the value of the “job coaching” being provided. Many of those doing the coaching were not “professionally trained” coaches. Many of the coaches had significant experience in their industry or profession. Others had been part of human resource functions in major corporations. All had received “training” of a few hours on how to work with those seeking services. For those in search for a long time, the value of the coaching being provided was challenged by those part of our discussion group. Many long term job searchers knew as much about the methods and resources that could help them as the coaches with whom they had been assigned to work. One of our attendees made a comment, with apologies toward me, he really has begun to question the value even an experienced coach such as myself really provides.

No one likes to have what they do challenged. If you are particularly dedicated to your profession or craft while not everything you do turns out the way you want, or may meet with the satisfaction of your clients or customers, your intention is with their best interest in mind.

One of the first lessons those who go through coach training learn is that the process is one which is not about the coach, but indeed is about the client. A second lesson close behind that is that while we certainly care about the outcome for the client, we cannot totally be invested in it. Only the client knows what is best for them. As such, if I impose my will on what I think is best for the client and how our efforts together should end, I may be setting them up for something which is not what they truly want. I can only invest myself in the process and steps to help them get to that point.

Do I provide value to my clients? I feel I do. Is it the same value to each client? It cannot possibly be. For some, my value is all based on someone to listen to their feelings and allow them to sort out their thoughts. For others it may be recommended resources or approaches that can be of value to them. Still others benefit from the connections I may be able to make for them with resources I know that share their passion. However, the ultimate determination on my true value, and for that matter, any individual’s value to those that provide a service or product, is in the eyes of the person using that service or buying that product. Keep that in mind as you look to assess or gain feedback on the value you provide to those whom you serve.

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