Reflections on the Final Retreat of the Inaugural Skillful Indiana Governor’s Coaching Corps

By Tracey Everett, Manager of Career Coaching Initiatives at Skillful Indiana

As we close out 2019 I want to reflect on an important milestone for Skillful Indiana this year: The final retreat of the Skillful Governor’s Coaching Corps (SGCC). I had been anticipating this day since I joined the Skillful Indiana team in April as manager of the career coaching initiatives.

The final retreat was an exciting day because our 31 talented Indiana career coaches, who collectively serve 3,500 job seekers per month, graduated from the SGCC program armed with new skills. All of their hard work came to fruition as the six action teams presented their projects to Joshua Winter, Director of Skills and Employability at Microsoft, Josh Frazier-Sparks, Senior Manager of Corporate Philanthropy at Walmart, Commissioner Fred Payne, from the Department of Workforce Development, and many other influential leaders in the workforce and education space.

For eight months, these career coaches went through an intensive program that helped them develop their leadership skills and provided them with new tools and resources to complement the work they already do to serve Hoosiers. The action team projects combined the curriculum they learned at the SGCC, their own research, and their on-the-ground expertise, so they could address some of the most pressing workforce issues facing Indiana.

During the final presentations two common themes emerged around the challenges Indiana career coaches grapple with.

Indiana career coaches are lacking consistent onboarding, training, and continued professional development.

This is a subject that came up on multiple presentations. Our coaches want to have more consistency when it comes to their onboarding experiences and they have a desire for additional training that will enhance their ability to help clients.

In many ways, this came as no surprise and it’s actually one of the biggest reasons the Skillful Governor’s Coaching Corps came to be. We know that as technology and automation change the way we work, the role of career coaches is crucial to the success of job seekers, but they are often overlooked and underfunded.

So many SGCC participants were excited to be a part of this program because it gave them access to professional development that they don’t often receive. Investing in professional development for career coaches is important because it helps them better serve their local communities.

A lack of communication between different organizations is creating redundancy within the system and a pain point for both career coaches and job seekers.

A lot of organizations and individuals are doing similar work and have practical solutions for job seekers, but they are not communicating with one another. Undoubtedly, by not communicating our successes and challenges we are missing out on a lot of learning and connections.

This siloed way of operating creates a challenge for both career coaches and job seekers. Anytime a job seeker visits a new organization the intake process starts all over again, even if that job seeker had previously completed the process. 

Action team two tackled this challenge by focusing on identifying best practices for education and employer partnerships. They came up with suggestions that could streamline their workflows. One of their suggestions included a secured common intake platform, that could look like the platform used to share medical records. The job seekers’ information and forms would be digitized and kept up to date, then the job seeker can allow different organizations and career coaches to access this information, without having to reinvent the wheel every time they need to visit a new organization.

Although, not yet a reality, this suggestion was very well received by state leaders.

Until a secured common intake platform is a reality, the Skillful Governor’s Coaching Corps will continue to tackle this challenge. By giving these career coaches the opportunity to build their network, they were able to develop their own connections between organizations and learn about the great work other organizations are doing.

Tracey Everett speaking at the final retreat of the Skillful Governor's Coaching Corps

I’m very proud of the Indiana inaugural corps, I know they will have an even bigger impact as they take the knowledge they gained at the SGCC back to their organizations and their communities. I am already looking forward to meeting the new cohort for our second Skillful Governor’s Coaching Corp (applications for the new cohort open in January 2020!). At Skillful we are proud to learn from these extraordinary career coaches, and support them as they work together to help today’s workforce prepare for the future of work.

Click here to learn more about the Skillful Indiana Governor’s Coaching Corps and if you’re an Indiana career coach register for the Skillful Coaching Community of Practice to join a virtual support network, build your coaching skills through webinars and peer-led calls, share resources and content with peers, and discuss how to best serve job seekers.