Can professional coaching advance your career?

By Rochelle Garner, CIO |  Career

Without question, Fink already demonstrated many of the strengths needed by
executives at the top of an organization. With the encouragement and insight from his
coach, he's ready to take his career even further. And in today's quest to conquer e-
commerce -- with companies placing a premium on technical and business acumen combined -
- he could rise very high, indeed.

Rich Chadwick has yet to achieve the same heights, but his career is definitely on
the rise. Director of development information systems at pharmaceutical company Amgen,
in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Chadwick has been asked to apply for a more senior position
within IS that oversees nearly 500 staff. Chadwick knows technology and knows the
business. But while he's taken graduate studies in finance, he's not versed in it
enough to "speak the lingo" on the executive floor. He needed someone to guide him
through unfamiliar territory. A friend suggested Cramm.

"I already know the business here very well, so I can talk about cycle times and
regulatory submissions [to the FDA]," says Chadwick. "Susan's background as a CFO helps
me tie the technology's value back to our investments, since that's driving everything
inside the executive suite. I wanted to prepare myself before I'm in the job that will
have me talking to the CEO and COO."

In other words, Chadwick wanted preemptive training, with the professor all to
himself. Anna-Lisa Silvestre, general manager of Kaiser Permanente Online, in Oakland,
Calif., had similar issues to contend with. As the manager in charge of the HMO's
online business, Silvestre wanted coaching about finance in particular and a deeper
understanding of technology in general. Frankly, Silvestre just didn't know what to
focus on in her job. "I was always successful at what I did, but being on a national
project was the big timee," says Silvestre. "I had to know how to position myself, how
to frame the issues -- even who I needed to meet with." In essence, says Silvestre, she
needed to practice, refine and hone her approach to people. With the help of a coach
like Cramm, she has.

"I know what questions I need to ask, how to ask them, how to approach the job, how
I will pull this off," says Silvestre. "She has made me fearless."

Isn't that a great feeling to have?

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