Oct 15

The Blind Leading The Blind: The Importance of Expert Interview Coaching

Have you got an interview, board or assessment centre approaching in the near future?

The chances are then that you are you receiving lots of conflicting advice from just about everyone you talk to, which usually serves to compound your confusion and ramps up your stress levels.

Over the last 10 years or more, I have seen the impact of this advice first hand… the rumour and advice mill is always in overdrive!

We all like to offer opinion and advice to anyone who will listen and often to those who will not (shouted advice at the TV or radio lately?). However, while advice from friends, family and peers is (almost) always well intentioned, in my experience, it is at best flawed, based on little fact or evidence and at worst is just plain wrong. Therefore it significantly disadvantages you during an interview process.

It is VERY frustrating to hear and have to explain away this advice to already stressed candidates who I coach and support through interviews and assessment centres.

The point of this blog, put simply, is it really benefits you to have advice from someone who knows what they are talking about based on years of experience and demonstrable past success.

To perform at you very best at interview, and put you in a really strong position to secure the job, I think you need an interview coach. You expect me to say that right? As after all I’m an interview coach. But it’s true.

To be as effective as possible, you will definitely benefit from an interview coach, an expert, mentor or whatever. Fundamentally you need someone who knows what they are talking about and is not just going on a hunch or what (luckily) worked for them in the past.

If you do not use an expert interview coach, you could be significantly limiting your interview success and promotion opportunities. In today’s environment, when opportunities are scarce and competition fierce, why would you do that? Or put a more positive way, why wouldn’t you use a coach to increase your chance of success?

Coaches help you identify and focus on what’s important, which in turn accelerates your learning and effectiveness. They can be a powerful resource to help you stand out and take action to achieve the things that are important to you. Ultimately they help you achieve success by:

  • Creating a safe environment in which you see yourself (the good and less good bits) more clearly.
  • Identifying gaps in your knowledge and technique (blind spots) between where you actually are and where you need or want to be.
  • Helping you figure out what you don’t know and highlight things you may not be able to see. Coaches will be honest with you because they are not vested in any specific outcome.
  • Asking you for more specific intentional thought, actions and behaviour changes than you would have asked of yourself.
  • Guiding you to building the structure, accountability, and support necessary to ensure you keep on track and move forward toward sustained commitment and success.
  • Focusing your development efforts. Coaches help you know the difference between weaknesses you need to fix and those that are best left as they are. This can help you prioritise your time and energy.
  • Showing you how to gain a competitive advantage over others. A coach can help you get from point A to B faster than you could on your own, helping you differentiate yourself from the competition and advancing your career as quickly as possible.

In my view, it is incredibly difficult (impossible?) to do this on your own and I am not alone in this way of thinking. Successful athletes obviously understand the power of coaching. The United Kingdom Coaching Strategy describes the role of the sports coach as one that “enables the athlete to achieve levels of performance to a degree that may not have been possible if left to his/her own endeavours.” (Mackenzie, 1977). For numerous examples, just think of all the professional golfers who work with dedicated coaches day in day out to help them improve their performance (and by the way, most of these coaches have never performed at the highest level of the sport).

Talk to your line manager and Human Resources. They might be willing to invest in coaching for you if you make a good case for it. If your organisation will not pay, make the investment yourself. It will pay off in increased success. Think of coaching as an investment, not an expense.

So, do yourself a huge favour. Stop relying on poor advice, hearsay and conjecture and make the decision to get some expert coaching and ‘b’ the best you can be.

NOTE: To attend a free webinar on How To Effectively Prepare For Competency Based Interviews – register here. Places are strictly limited.