By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS
A sterling example of coaching

When people ask me about what it is like to be a career coach, I go through explanations with stories that describe what is involved in my life’s mission.  Thanks to David Seidler who wrote the screenplay for The King’s Speech, Dir. Tom Hooper, Bedlam Productions, Seesaw Films, 2010, Perf. Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, I can point to a brilliantly acted description of how a coach works with a client.

In The King’s Speech, we get to see the dynamic of a coach of speech defects, Lionel Logue played by Geoffrey Rush, employing extraordinary tools and techniques to help his client, the Duke of York played by Colin Firth, rise to the occasion and become the best that he can be. The Duke suffered with a severe stammer causing him extreme distress at the thought of speaking in public to his subjects whether in person, at a public appearance or over the newly embraced wireless radio.  The Duke tried numerous ways to achieve success, hiring doctors and therapists from all over the realm. They used older methods to try to obtain results to no avail. In frustration, the Duke seeks out the services of Lionel Logue to cure his stammering problem. Together they breathe, roll on the floor, say tongue twisters, shout, cajole and swear as they work towards peeling away the layers and the fears that keep the Duke from realizing his desire of being able to express himself in front of his subjects and others.  While all of this is going on, the two men develop a friendship that endures for the remainder of their lives including the Duke’s ascension to the thrown as King of England after his brother’s abdication.

In my work as an executive career coach, I use numerous methods to elicit the skills and strengths of my clients to help them present the best they have to offer to an employer.  As we develop the client’s personal brand, we create marketing materials of varying types to use at different stages of the process.  We create a metric master to organize and track progress and discuss, practice and role play in preparation for the big interview day and all of the interviews that follow along with determining how to handle negotiations and beyond. I am there as a sounding board for questions, encouragement, frustration and elation as the process ebbs and flows to its natural conclusion of transition to a new position. Often, along the way, we develop a relationship that endures after the client has landed because during this most trying time, we have come together to pursue the common goal of realizing one of their many milestones in life.

If you are struggling and wondering about whether coaching is right for you, The King’s Speech provides insight into the process. If you would like to explore how career coaching may fit into your career campaign, please do not hesitate to contact my office to discuss the varied programs that I offer to help you achieve your goal.

I wish you every success!