Attention CPCC’s & PARW/CC Members!

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Receive $400 Off!

Diane Hudson, Director of the Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC) program and Board Member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARW/CC) is offering a special promotion, in collaboration with Recruiting Trends, for Certified Professional Career Coaches and members of PARW/CC to attend the Recruiting Trends conference in Las Vegas on October 28-30, 2014.

If you are interested in learning the “backside of the hiring process,” this is a must-attend conference!

Practicing recruiters from major organizations and leading researchers and influencers in the field come together to exchange ideas and share insights.

Notable brands and speakers on the agenda include: Microsoft, Bloomberg, Time Warner, Intuit, Ralph Lauren, JWT Inside, Riot Games, Lockheed Martin, Blackboard, Intuit, Pandora, and more.

Diane has attended each year since 2007 and would not miss it.

Recruiting Trends is offering a $400 discount off the regular rate by using this code and link: 109553

Don’t forget to seek Diane out and say hi if you decide to attend this resource-rich industry conference.

I hope to see you there!


Career Coaching Competency: Powerful Questioning

This is Article #4 in our New Series: The “Must Knows” of Career Coaching – Core Competencies

By Diane Hudson Burns, CPCC, CEIP, CPRW
Director, Certified Professional Career Coach Program

Communicating Effectively means asking Powerful Questions.

Career Coaching - Asking Powerful Questions“Career Coaching is a query-based approach to guiding job seekers to self-actualization and discovery of career choices and professions.

It is about effective communication, leading a job seeker to discover for himself an appropriate career path and requirements, as well as building a strong foundational partnership between the coach and the job seekers.

Effective communications are critical to facilitate career success and progress.

Learning to listen well and to pose gripping questions is the mastery behind Career Coaching.” – From Module 3, Certified Professional Career Coach program.

The Job Seeker’s Perspective

Very often, job seekers looking for a job, promotion, or career path, ask questions like:

  • “What do you think I should do?”
  • “How can you find me a job?”
  • “Tell me what to do.”
  • “What contacts do you have who can help me? Do you have insider leads?”
  • “Can you guarantee me a job?”
  • “How soon can I get a job?”
  • “I can do anything – just give me a good resume – and I can ace the interview.”

Well, the answer to these questions, are questions. By turning the job seeker’s questions into questions, he is then required to determine the answers and brainstorm though the process:

“What do you think I should do?”

  • Well, what do you think you should do?
  • What are your options?
  • What are your immediate options?

“How can you find me a job?”

  • Tell me about your last job search?
  • How do you think this job search will be different from your last job search?
  • What was your last job search like?

“Tell me what to do.”

  • What do you want me to tell you to do?
  • What do you want / need to know about job search or career management?
  • What decisions are you making at this juncture?

“What contacts do you have who can help me? Do you have insider leads?”

  • How do you identify contacts?
  • Tell me about your social media plan.

“I can do anything – just give me a good resume – and I can ace the interview.”

  • What do you mean when you say, ‘you can do anything’?
  • What type of jobs are you looking for?
  • What skill sets do you have that are a good fit for a target job?
  • What gaps might you have in targeting certain positions?

The Query System

By asking questions as a follow up to questions, this places the job seeker in the position of having to think through options, decisions, and discussion points. As a coach, I coach job seekers to make decisions based on asking a series of questions, and allowing them the joy and subsequent consequences of making a decision.

Powerful questioning and probing questions help move job seekers into a position of thought – they may experience the “Ah Ha” moment, as they are moved to action considering ideas they may have not thought of otherwise. As job seekers move to a position of making a decision, they may not feel as “stuck”, when options are revealed.

More Questions

Continuing the question string, job seekers may consider the following probing questions:

  • Considering your values, what is important in this decision?
  • Considering what motivates you, what is important to you in this decision?
  • What does your pro/con list look like?
  • How committed are you to our work together?
  • How committed are you to this path, versus the other path?
  • What is the best action to take right now? Why?
  • What might be the consequences of that decision?
  • How does this fit with your five-year plan?
  • What patterns do you recognize that you fall into most often?

Question Types

Powerful questions begin with “What”, “Why” and “How”; or include “Describe”, “Tell me about”, “Explain that in detail”, “If you did…, how would that look?”. Open-ended questions help job seekers to think and develop full responses.


Rephrasing or reframing questions asked by job seekers, and clarifying what was said, helps job seekers “hear” their question from a different perspective.

  • It sounds to me like you feel …. about this situation? Is that correct?
  • What I hear you saying is … ?

This rephrasing allows the job seeker to say, “No, what I meant was ….” Or, “Yes, that is exactly right.”


Powerful questioning is a strong tool to help job seekers make decisions; shift the focus of a job search; develop a career management plan; learn how to negotiate a salary; identify goals, values, and motivations; select an occupational interest; or identify gaps in knowledge or education versus target jobs. Working with a career coach, job seekers are able to make tough and life-time-impacting decisions. Working with a career coach, job seekers will more clearly understand the decisions they need to make in their quest for employment-related requirements, and be encouraged along the path of stretching their comfort zones, and learning how to make decisions through their own self-awareness and discovery.

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View all articles in this series: The ‘Must Knows” of Career Coaching – Core Competencies

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Career Coaching Competency: Active Listening

This is Article #3 in our New Series: The “Must Knows” of Career Coaching – Core Competencies

By Diane Hudson Burns, CPCC, CEIP, CPRW
Director, Certified Professional Career Coach Program

Today we will explore the importance of Communicating Effectively focused on Active Listening.

Career Coach Certification Online - Career Coaching CertificationAs a career coach, Listening is not about us – it is about the job seeker (or other person). Careful listening leads to query / questioning that reveal information needed by the job seeker to prepare a successful career search plan. Effective communication is important in developing and maintaining positive relationships and co-creating the coach-job seeker partnership.

Typically, when we think of communicating, we think of talking, speaking, consulting, or presenting. However, speaking is only a part of the communication equation.

Fifty-five percent of communication is what a person looks like; 38% of communication is what a person sounds like; and seven percent of communication is what a person says. So, if only seven percent of communication is what someone says – active listening is an integral part of communication


Listening means making a conscious effort to hear a sound and is a form of effective communication – it is the art of evaluating a spoken message. Sincere listening is attentive and open; and the listener is able to reflect the content and even the feelings of the speaker.

Active listening goes beyond turning off the radio or TV, and removing other distractions that may cause a problem in the ability to receive information. Certainly, turning off distracters will help you listen better. Beyond that, active listening requires a listener to understand, interpret, and evaluate what s/he heard.

The majority of people would rather talk than listen. Moreover, while someone is talking they are thinking what they might say when the speaker stops. Or they interrupt him/her in the middle of the sentence. These interruptions can be upsetting and distracting to the speaker; and prevent the listener from actually hearing and understanding what the speaker said. Research indicates that the average person listens for only 17 seconds before interrupting and interjecting his/her own ideas.

Practice Active and Reflective Listening

There are some exercises you can use to practice active listening:

  • Listen to a recorded message – and then repeat or summarize the story. Then listen again, to see how much of the story you got correct.
  • Listen to someone read a passage from a book or newspaper article, and then summarize and report back what you heard.
  • Listen to someone read directions to build something simple, i.e., connect a computer, remove and clean a garbage disposal drain pipe; install a shower head, or other, and see how well you are able to complete the task, without having the directions repeated.
  • Practice listening for a potential job seeker’s name when they call on the phone – repeat his/her name during the conversation.
  • Practice listening for a person’s name at a networking meeting – repeat his or her name back during your interaction.
  • Close your eyes for three minutes. Make a list of all the sounds you hear (try not to fall asleep).

A Good Listener

This does not include if the listener does not actually speak verbally, s/he is thinking of what to say next.

As you begin to listen even more to a job seeker’s situation, begin by asking some clarifying and reflective questions to glean additional information:

  • Do you mean…?
  • Can you further describe / specify?

Listening Between the Lines

In addition to listening to the words your job seekers speak, you will want to learn to listen between the lines, and listen for the tone of the message, the goals being presented, and attitudes. After working with a job seekers for a session or two, you will learn his style and learn to listen for changes in behavior and attitude – these changes may indicate sadness, happiness, excitement, or other needs/issues. You may also identify a change in direction.

For example, a job seeker may talk all along about finding a new job; and suddenly he wants to get a promotion. That will now become a new topic to explore.


If you find yourself interrupting others, interjecting your opinion, and offering advice, both with job seekers and in your personal life, you may want to take the lesson to heart, and practice active listening.

Feel free to make comments below or contact me with any questions!

Wishing You Success,


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View all articles in this series: The ‘Must Knows” of Career Coaching – Core Competencies

Read about our Complete Career Coach Certification Program

Career Coach Certification