Meet Jenn DeWall, Colorado-based career coach. When I first met Jenn at a Local Levo event, I was immediately struck by her passion for career coaching and helping others. Learn more about Jenn's journey to career coaching, and how she manages her day-to-day working with clients!
Q: When did career coaching first spark your interest, and when did it “click” that you wanted to pursue coaching full-time?
A: During my career in corporate America I really enjoyed developing the new hires. I found myself spending a lot of time coaching them on executive presence, time management, and giving tips to be successful. New grads would come in and people would kind of make jokes about how little they knew and it really bothered me. I was one of them when I began my career. I was a little naïve and just grateful to have a job to pay off my college loans. I honestly didn’t know when I started that my every move was being scrutinized, down to the people I connected with, the comments I made, or the times I came in and out of work. I thought by all accounts I was a great employee, I was very hard working, but I liked to have fun on the job, let’s say I had a different mentality on what it took to be successful.
I made some mistakes along the way and I wanted to share my learnings to ensure the young professional women wouldn’t face the same obstacles. From these experiences I began to search for a career that could leverage my skillset, experience and motivational personality. At first I thought counseling would be a good fit until I found out about coaching! I loved everything about coaching, all based off of positive psychology, goal setting, and the idea that you are essentially a cheerleader for your client, rooting for them to create their success. Much of the coaching philosophy that I embrace is that everything is a choice, we can choose our success, our happiness and what we accepts in our lives. It is all about empowering people to create the life they love. I enrolled in iPEC which is a top coaching school and began my journey and I have loved every minute.
Q: How did your professional background prep you for the job that you have today?
A: I was in corporate America for close to a decade and during that time I had my own struggles and watched others struggle to climb the corporate ladder. I was given feedback telling me that I was a great employee but that I needed to be more “vanilla” and more of a “yes man." This feedback still irks me to this day because I think there’s a high value to authenticity and diversity in a work place. As much as it is frustrating, many corporate cultures still share the mentality. I educate my clients on typical mistakes that can be made early on in a career and how to work around them by creating your own personal leadership brand and goals that can be used to determine actions and how you carry yourself in the workplace. I always had an interest in leadership development, I was a Dale Carnegie program graduate and I spent time volunteering at leadership camps for youth. My work became a research project where I would watch leaders’ interactions with their employees and gather information about what is effective and what wasn’t. I also watched my peers and made the same observations. I truly believe that everything that I went through all happened for a reason and was meant to prepare me for my career today and being able to truly give my clients the optimal coaching experience.
Q: For those new to career coaching and its myriad benefits, what are some myths or preconceived notions about career coaching that you would like to debunk?
A: The main myth that I would debunk is that coaching is like therapy and that you have to be “broken” to see a coach. Working with a coach is not about working through the past, it’s about taking you from your present to your future and accomplishing your dreams and goals. All successful people have blocks and challenges that can get in their way and coaches are there to inspire you and work with you side by side to get through them. In my opinion everyone needs a coach so they can stop getting in their own way! Many companies invest in coaches to work with their executives but I prefer to work with the people that are early on in their careers to help coach them up the ladder so they can be effective and successful early on in their careers.
Q: Walk us through your workday! What is your work routine during the week, and what steps did you take to tailor it to suit you perfectly?
A: As an entrepreneur you wear a lot of hats. My typical work day focuses on social media marketing and writing weekly blog posts. I spend a lot of time networking and doing motivational speaking to help change lives and let people know that there are resources that can help them accomplish their goals. I attend three networking events a week and am a member of Toastmasters. I try to seek out as many developmental opportunities that I can so I can be the best coach for my clients. I am always reading new blogs and books so I can use the information and data to share with my clients. You have to stay relevant and fresh if you’re going to understand what the workplace is like and what your clients are going through. My evenings are predominately spent coaching clients. Coaching is done both over the phone and in person so many of my clients are actually outside of Colorado. By being flexible I’m able to coach clients all across the U.S. which I love because it gives me an opportunity to learn more about many different companies and industries.
Overall, the biggest learning that I had early on was to create a work schedule was structure. As an entrepreneur no one is telling you to get up and change out of your pajamas, all of the motivation comes from you. To be successful you have to want to and set yourself up for success. You need structure to ensure that you are taking action. Blocking out time on my calendar and creating weekly to do lists and goals is imperative to my success. I also start each day with a journal entry writing down three things I’m grateful for and a powerful “I am” statement that boosts my confidence, then I write down a daily to do list. By doing this I can shift my energy to a positive mindset, boost my enthusiasm and be intentional with my actions so I’m making the most of my time.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for young professionals to invest in a career coach, and what are some of the long-term benefits?
A: One of the main reasons I think it’s important for young professionals to invest in a career coach is that most colleges do not prepare you for career. They are not educating you on executive presence, soft skills, time management, communication, or leadership skills, which are essentially all of the key components of success that will impact where you go and how fast you will climb the corporate ladder. Much of the success that is created in your career has little to do with what you learned in college and more to do with the perception you create in the workforce. It’s kind of crazy that we invest so much money in college only to find out that it’s not necessarily giving you the right tools to be successful in your career. I coach the gap between college and career to ensure that you have the tools and skillsets needed to be successful.
The long term benefits of coaching are many. Clients learn how to communicate for impact, be more assertive, be confident, develop a strong leadership skill set, and create time management skills that will help them prioritize and reduce stress. Coaching also teaches clients how to see the big picture to make decisions and depersonalize some of the things that happen at work. If you work for a publicly traded company I recommend listening to their quarterly earnings calls so you can understand the leadership and strategic objectives from the top down. By hearing your CEO communicate the initiatives you can see at a bigger level the importance of your work and the value that you’re giving the clients. It also helps you begin how to see the big picture to make decisions which is a necessary skill as a director or c-suite executive. There are so many more benefits, feel free to schedule a free session (www.chooseyourhappylife.com) with me and I will give you a taste of what coaching is.