Meet Our Career Coaches in Residence

May 11, 2023 | Career Coach

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Our Career Coaches in Residence offers free one-on-one career counselling and job search help for young adults aged 18 to 29. The spring/summer session runs until August 2023. We had a chance to catch up with the coaches and ask them a few questions.

Toronto Public Library Career Coach in Residence Amanda Armstrong

Amanda, welcome to the program! What are you most looking forward to as a career coach for TPL?

I am most excited about coaching, inspiring and making a big impact on dozens of diverse young adults in Toronto. I love meeting new people and teaching them my secrets to success so they can build confidence, land amazing interviews and job offers, get paid what they deserve and build the career of their dreams!

How did you find your way to becoming a career coach?

I started mentoring and working with young people when I was in high school and university. I then started networking and meeting dozens of people for coffee chats throughout my 20s to help them with their job search. I was a volunteer career coach before I officially launched my own business.

A friend of mine became a Life Coach and I signed up for her coaching program. That was my first experience with the coaching industry and it was transformational. That experience inspired me to launch my own career coaching business.

My career coaching business started as a side hustle. I went through an extremely difficult termination from a toxic tech startup employer related to my personal battle with alcohol. When I was fired from my job that was my sign from the universe to run my career coaching business full-time.

Not only did I transition to being a full-time social impact entrepreneur and career coach, I also went to therapy to address my relationship with alcohol and I have been proudly alcohol-free for over three years.

Today I use my termination story as a force for good to inspire others who want to change their relationship with alcohol and to inspire people who have been fired, laid off or employed by a toxic organization. I help people rebuild their lives and careers after losing their jobs to achieve a wildly successful career comeback story.

What book would you recommend to a young person starting out on their career journey?

If I had to pick just one I would recommend What Colour is Your Parachute?: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Meaningful Work and Career Success by Richard Nelson Bolles.

What color is your parachute

Toronto Public Library Career Coaches in Residence Kadine Cooper and Esther Shin.

Kadine and Esther, welcome back to the program! You were both career coaches for the last session. What qualities do career coaches bring?

Kadine: A career coach should possess a range of qualities, including:

  1. Excellent communication skills: A career coach should be an active listener and communicate clearly and effectively with clients.
  2. Empathy and compassion: A career coach should be able to understand their clients' perspectives and emotions while showing compassion and empathy.
  3. Knowledge and expertise: A career coach should have a deep understanding of the job market, industry trends, and professional development opportunities.
  4. Goal-oriented: A career coach should be able to help clients set and achieve specific, measurable, and realistic goals.
  5. Creativity and flexibility: A career coach should be able to think creatively and adapt to changing circumstances. They should be able to help clients explore new ideas and options.
  6. Patience and persistence: A career coach should be patient and persistent and be able to support clients through setbacks and obstacles.
  7. Ethics and professionalism: A career coach should adhere to high ethical standards and always maintain a professional demeanour.

Esther: Career coaches play an important role in guiding clients through major career decisions. I believe the following qualities are essential to empowering clients as career coaches.

  1. Empathy: Empathetic understanding helps career coaches assess the core interests, needs, values, and strengths of clients. This is especially important when working with clients from various walks of life and people from different cultures.
  2. Curiosity: Carefully listening to clients with curiosity allows career coaches to identify hidden strengths and values.
  3. Hopeful: When working with clients who are discouraged by the obstacles of navigating the world of work, sometimes they need a cheerleader in their corner. Developing hope involves helping clients to figure out what career direction they want to take, why they want to do it, and how they will reach their destination.

What would you say is your greatest quality as a career coach?

Esther: As an immigrant, I came from humble beginnings and struggled with finding my career direction. For this reason, I developed a passion for helping people discover their potential and explore possibilities. Through my own experience, I learned the power of developing hope in myself and others.

Kadine: One of the greatest qualities that a career coach can possess is the ability to listen actively to their clients. Effective communication is essential in coaching, and active listening allows the coach to understand their client's needs, desires, and challenges better. By listening carefully, a career coach can offer tailored advice and create personalized plans.

Another valuable quality is the ability to guide their clients through the process of goal setting and achievement. A coach can help a client set specific and achievable goals, break them down into manageable steps, and create an action plan to follow.

Which TPL resource would you say you recommend the most to participants?

Kadine: I would say I recommend Career Cruising the most. It is a great resource with career profiles and links to relevant Canadian college and university programs. 

Esther: I love LinkedIn Learning and recommend all of my clients complete at least one course to develop their skills and knowledge. There are over 5000 courses on LinkedIn Learning. Complete one and add it to your resume today!

Book a free one-on-one appointment with Amanda, Esther or Kadine! Also, be sure to check out the workshops and programs coaches will facilitate during this session.

The Career Coaches in Residence program is generously supported by lead donors Azrieli Foundation and RBC Future Launch and supporting donors Linda Dagg and Kenneth Wiener and Ted Rogers Community Grants.

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