By Bonnie Cavanaugh
Not sure about your next career move? Entering the workforce for the first time? Janet Logan of Flanders has a plan for you.
A former director of human resources for Party City, Linens ‘n Things, and e-commerce businesses, Logan left the corporate world in 2012, yearning to give something back.
She was used to people coming to her because of her skills in career development and training with large companies. “I was already positioned with a specialty of helping people in their careers,” she says. “I was still helping my old boss with recruiting and secession planning.”
By switching her focus to career and business coaching for individuals, Logan found she could help people focus on what they want to do with their lives. She soon earned her life coaching certification and set up My Coaching Services in 2014.
“All ‘coaching’ means is that somebody has a goal and they want accountability,” Logan says. Her job is to provide that accountability to her clients, while creating a series of exercises that will help them to “remove limiting beliefs” that keep them from moving forward.
Her coaching work has evolved much over the last five years. She originally focused on health and wellness coaching, but now sees more folks interested in career and business counseling.
Today Logan often works with clients as young as high schoolers, but that was not always the case. She originally drew the line at college-bound clients but has since gladly taken on teenage clients, often at the request of their parents.
“The parents call me and they’re all up in arms,” she says.
Their children have no idea what they want to do beyond high school graduation or they’ve graduated high school and need a job, but don’t know where to look, or their child has graduated college, but now wants to shift focus to a different career path from their studies.
It’s something Logan understands well, having three children of her own.
What she offers clients is clarity and direction. She devises a game plan for each client to help them figure out where they want to be in life.
“I go through a whole process of understanding the person: their uniqueness, what they think they want to do, what they’re good at,” Logan says. Then she walks them through the types of work they’d be good at and would likely enjoy.
“Parents like it because kids don’t listen to their parents,” Logan says. “I’m like that third outside force appealing to them.”
The process works similarly for stay-at-home parents looking to enter or re-enter the workforce. Many don’t know where to begin, and may be unsure how to fill in the gap between jobs with relatable activities that transfer over to the paying world.
Logan finds that many such clients have skills they may not be aware of. “A lot of stay-at-home parents do a lot of volunteering at school or for the community,” she says. Outlining clients’ successes in these areas shows that they really are capable of moving into the mainstream.
“It gives them their confidence,” she adds.
Life coaching as a discipline differs from counseling or therapy in that coaches, like Logan, are not degreed psychologists. Coaches are there to simply hold their clients accountable for goals they have set for themselves and to help them develop a plan to reach those goals.
“If someone is depressed and they come to me, I will always ask them if they’re seeing a therapist, and if their therapist agrees that coaching will serve them,” Logan says. “If there are underlying issues, I’m not qualified.”
The individualized life coaching packages that Logan puts together for her clients include exercises that let the client figure out what they’re good at, what they like doing, and why they like it. “You have to identify your skills so you’re not swimming upstream—you’re not going against your natural talents,” she says.
“People will come to me and say, ‘I really need a change but I don’t know what I want to do next.’ I will challenge them,” she adds. “They really do know what they want, but it’s a matter of them believing they can do it.”
In many situations, what a client really wants to know is, “Is it worth the sacrifice?” she says. It becomes a matter of uncovering the client’s excuse or reason for not pushing ahead. Many times, the reason is fear. She needs to identify it before she can coach the client beyond it: “Where is the fear stemming from? Is it fear of failure? Is it fear of something new? Is it fear of change?”
To that end, Logan offers self-confidence exercises called Contrast to Clarity: “We turn what they don’t want to do in the opposite direction, and they see the light—they see what they do want to do.”
It’s a tangible and practical exercise, she adds. “And two hours later, you get a new resume.”
Logan offers free monthly workshops of My Coaching Services at the Mt. Olive Public Library twice a month—every second Thursday—from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., with reservations required. Each session tackles a different topic.
The next workshop will be on Feb. 14 with the theme, “How to Plan Your Next Career Move.”
It’s a session for folks who might be between jobs, looking to make a change, or, as she put it, “How do you get back up again and put on a happy face?” after suffering a job loss.