Archive for the ‘Career Transitions’ Category


Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 by Bob and Bev Benwick

We had the opportunity to view Gary Hamel’s video in which he speaks to ‘Reinventing the Technology of Human Accomplishment’ that we found profound and resonated with our experience of coaching executives and managers throughout North American and other global organizations. Gary is a leading management thinker and author and co-founder of the Management Innovation eXchange (MIX). He makes a very cogent argument for management that can be expected in the 21st century. Turn up your sound and enjoy.

This video is a portion taken from the University of Phoenix Distinguished Guest Video Lecture Series. We would enjoy hearing your response. Take care.

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Posted in 360 Coaching, Business Coaching, Career Transitions, Emotional Intelligence, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Leadership Transition, Organization Development, Personal Coaching, Team & Group Coaching | Add a Comment »


Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 by Bob and Bev Benwick

When coaching executives who are either updating their résumés or are already into career transition mode, the following executive résumé preparation tips are some that are gifted in our conversations.

  • Military versus Civilian Background: try using a functional résumé format with an emphasis on professional development received related to your targeted role
  • Education or Foreign Experience: Provide foreign degrees and certifications with their U.S./Canadian equivalent, using position titles understood by the potential employer
  • Age: again, use a functional résumé, forget stating your birth date, highlight your past 15 to 20 years of experience, and eliminate graduation dates
  • Don’t Have a Formal Degree: describe your “on-the-job” training and development, listing special workshops, seminars and training
  • Addressing that “Job Hopper” Impression: here goes with the use of the functional résumé once more, perhaps exclude those early or very short-term jobs, and/or include a number of short-term roles in one of your descriptions
  • Work Experience with Primarily One Employer: describe positions of increasing responsibilities, try combining the chronological and functional résumé formats with an emphasis on different challenges and roles, focusing on advancement and promotions
  • Don’t Have Experience in the Field Being Targeted: use the functional résumé format here where you highlight your accomplishments that illustrate your related functional expertise and skills that translate easily into your targeted field or industry
  • Work History Gaps: be prepared to address any questions related to information you leave out in your résumé, that can be effective if you use the functional résumé format and have very few gaps―don’t apologize, simply provide a simple positive statement of explanation

If you have additional comments or tips around supporting the creation of powerful executive résumés, we would love to hear from you. Take care.

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Posted in Career Transitions, Executive Coaching, Leadership Transition | Add a Comment »


Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 by Bob and Bev Benwick

“If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts” Is the advice that William Derisiewicz delivered in his lecture to a plebe class of the United States Military Academy at West Point a few years ago. A colleague had passed a copy of a lecture Derisiewicz gave to these young leaders that I found most profound and absolutely thought provoking.

Although the two concepts – solitude and leadership – on the surface do not appear to be strongly connected, Derisiewicz does a masterful job of illustrating what they truly are and how they are intimately connected. He states that leadership are the “qualities and mind that will make you fit to command a platoon, and beyond that, perhaps, a company, a battalion, or, if you leave the military, a corporation, a foundation, a department of government”. Solitude “is what you have the least of . . . . the ability to be alone with your thoughts. . . . solitude is one of the most important necessities of true leadership.” Derisiewicz makes powerful references to the Francis Ford Coppola’s movie Apocalypse Now and the book Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad to ingeniously drive home his point.

Derisiewicz feels he needs to forwarn leaders that they will find themselves wrestling with bureaucracies “where what is rewarded above all else is conformity”. He encourages a different kind of leader and feels there is a crisis of leadership in America. What is missing are thinkers . . . “people who can think for themselves . . . who can formulate new direction for the country, corporations, colleges, for the Army . . . a new way of looking at things . . . people in other words, with vision.”

He goes on to invite leaders to learn to concentrate, to focus, which is all about solitude. He encourages leaders to think for themselves
by finding themselves, “finding their your own reality . . . . don’t marinate yourself as leader in conventional wisdom, others’ realities, but rather listen to your own voice and find a new direction, not simply putting yourself at the front of the herd that’s heading toward a cliff.” To achieve, this the leader is encouraged to take the personal time to read books that are based on the writer’s own solitude in thinking for his/herself. Further, he claims “books stand against conventional wisdom of today simply because they’re not from today”.

The intent of solitude is to get to know yourself better. A powerful form of solitude is that of friendship, deep friendship, that may appear on the surface to be counterproductive to the point being made. This involves intimate discussion―uninterrupted talk. This promotes ntrospection―talking to yourself―that can done by talking with someone that you have vulnerably trust with. . . . a very close friend or a highly qualified executive coach and confidante. Here you can truly think out loud with full confidentiality being kept within a
crucible of non-judgment. We all intuitively know that being in solitude is difficult and challenging, some more than others. However, leadership demands this.

Derisiewicz claims that “taking counsel with yourself in solitude’ is the essence of leadership . . . the position of leader is ultimately an intensely solitary, even intensely lonely one . . . . however many people you may consult, you are the one who has to make the hard decisions . . . . and at such moments, all you really have is yourself.”

What is in the challenge of solitude and leadership for you? What are related hidden opportunities and threats? We would love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this important subject.

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Posted in Business Coaching, Career Transitions, Emotional Intelligence, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Leadership Transition, Personal Coaching | Add a Comment »


Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 by Bob and Bev Benwick

The executive’s job search continues to be getting even more challenging. It is particularly difficult in these extremely challenging economic times. That is exactly the experience of my client Rick who had departed from his executive role with his previous employer about 6 month ago. A former Senior Vice President, Rick was struggling with job search networking, something he had never faced before. Here is how he expressed this in a recent coaching meeting, “How in the heck do I approach potential corporate contacts and what do I say to them when do give them a call?”

After a series of related coaching questions in support of Rick, he concluded some the following from our discussion.

First, his initial contact with key contacts would no doubt be by phone. The objective of which was to set up an appointment to meet. It became clear to him that it was critical for him to make his contacts very comfortable at the outset. When asked how this would be done, he quickly ascertained that it would be important for him to make it clear to each contact that he in fact was not asking them for a job! He felt doing so would put these key contacts at ease . . . important for him to be able to connect. Rather, he concluded, it would be important that they understand that he is approaching them for expert advice only. His ultimate objective was to set up a short informal twenty minute meeting over the next two to three weeks at their convenience and he would communicate that he would fully respect their valuable time in doing so.

Rick was also quite prepared to pick up the expense of potential meetings that might take place over lunch or coffee. He also concluded the need to dress business conservative, no matter how the potential contacts were dressed.

When asked what he might say in these initial telephone discussions, Rick concluded after some excellent dialogue that the following needed to be fully taken into consideration and tailored accordingly on each call he made.

  • Mention who referred him and that they felt such contact would be mutually beneficial.
  • Quickly summarize who he is professionally, years of experience in his specialty, with which organizations and where he has been most effective in adding value.
  • Reiterate that he does not expect that the key contact has or knows of opportunities available, but rather to gain some of the key contact’s insights and advice around industry trends over the foreseeable future.
  • Ask to get together sometime over the next two to three weeks at a mutually agreeable date and time for about twenty minutes.
  • When the meeting takes place, to again reiterate the foregoing.
  • Most importantly, at the end of each meeting, ask the key contact for other potential key contacts, and if any contacts don’t come to the key contact’s mind at that time, that he will offer to follow up within the next or so . . . to keep the momentum up.

Rick felt quite relieved to have developed this plan of action and could not wait to get back to his temporary office at home and start making it happen.

We would enjoy hearing what other suggestions that you might have for Rick and others like him to consider when undertaking their job search campaigns. Thank you in advance.

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Posted in Career Transitions, Executive Coaching, Leadership Transition, Personal Coaching | Add a Comment »


Saturday, June 4th, 2011 by Bev and Bob Benwick

 Skya Benwick (standing) playing with her brother Woody Benwick (on ground)

A very sweet little girl came into our lives and her ‘forever home’ through the American Brittany Rescue Association (ABR) a few years back. Her name was Skya. She had been rescued from a kill shelter by the ABR. Having been picked up off the street in terrible distress. She was thought to be about 9 years old at the time. Arriving with a seriously torn cruciate ligament, Bev (my wife) immediately put her through surgery and physical therapy. She can be viewed working through her therapy on YouTube. As a result, the quality of her life immediately and positively changed. She loved to run, play and smother her brother Woody (also an ABR rescue), Bev and I with absolute unconditional love. Sweet is an understatement when describing this little girl.

Skya quietly passed away on Wednesday, May 18th, 5:00 PM in our loving arms and hearts at the Village Park Animal Hospital in La Quinta, California. Everyyone who ever came in contact with our little girl adored her affectionate, endearing and playful way. She adored her brother Woody (another rescue from Montana who arrived within a week of Skya). Woody was always alertly protecting her. He too is greatly missing her.

It is truly difficult to share this without an enormous feeling of overwhelming loss. It is with the greatest of personal pleasure and pride that Skya ‘graduated’ from this life’s journey having had the last three years of her life being totally enveloped in love, with an intensity of caring that few of the world’s lonely and lost dogs will unfortunately ever have the good fortune to experience.

The following poem, so kindly sent to us by Nancy Vogel, Director of ABR in Nebraska, very much captures our true feelings and we would like to now share it with you. Thank you Nancy!


So this is where we part, our dear friend
And you’ll run on, around the bend.
Gone from sight, but not from mind,
New pleasures there you’ll surely find.

We will go on, we’ll find the strength
Life measures quality, not its length
One long embrace before you leave,
Share one last look, before we grieve.

There are others, that much is true,
But they be they, and they aren’t you.
And we, fair, impartial, or so we thought
Will remember well all you’ve taught.

Your place we’ll hold, you will be missed,
The fur we stroked, the nose we kissed
And as you journey to your final rest,
Take with you this . . . we loved you best!

 - – - Kerri Fowlkes

Thank you for taking this moment out to read this short note from our hearts to the world about our sweet Skya. May she run, play and thoroughly enjoy herself with our other ‘life graduates’ on the ‘other side’. Take care!

Posted in Career Transitions, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Transition, Personal Coaching | 8 Comments »

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