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Job Hunting and Career Planning — Q&A with the Career Coach

“Q&A with the Career Coach” is a series of articles featuring questions from readers and answers from 42-year Human Resources veteran and career coach Cliff Montgomery. Future questions can be submitted to him at his address below:

Q: In your title, while I understand the concept of “career coaching,” I’m a little less clear on the concept of “executive coaching.” Can you clarify this for me?

A: Having been a senior executive for many years in my career, I can tell you that at times the role can feel a little isolated. When you’re in a senior-level position and have questions, it may be difficult to find someone who will be totally objective with you.

While you can talk to your boss if you have one, depending on the boss, there’s always the risk of being judged negatively; and if you speak to members of your staff, even trusted ones, you’re never sure you’ll be getting objective feedback for fear of displeasing you.

This is where an executive coach can play a major role. Now you have an individual totally dedicated to your success by assisting you in navigating the multitude of changes that occur daily in any senior position. They can objectively help you to identify your strengths and development areas and work with you to enhance your strengths and address your areas of improvement.

Executive coaching provides you someone who is totally objective, unlike family or friends, and helps to create a feedback loop on an ongoing basis. A coach can help a leader create micro and macro goals and assist in turning insight into action while constantly working to accelerate learning.

With ongoing counsel and advice, coaches can help to increase self-awareness so that the individual’s strengths can be used more effectively.

Lastly, good executive coaches can help their client maintain motivation, ensure commitment to and clarity of action plans, all the while encouraging them to seek ongoing feedback about their performance and behavior and its impact.

Q: Here in the new year, I have listed all of my goals, but so far, I have made little progress on them for one major reason: procrastination. Any suggestions on how I might overcome this?

A: First, congratulations on having goals, as many people don’t. It is said, procrastination is, “deferring commitments even though negative consequences lay ahead,” and while I haven’t seen your goals, I have several suggestions about how to overcome this challenge affecting so many today.

First, keep your goals as specific as possible. Larger goals need to be broken down into smaller, measurable objectives. They say, “the longest journey begins with a first step.” Eliminate as many distractions as possible that are not a part of the important tasks at hand and this could begin with your smartphone.

Lastly, I recommend keeping your list of goals on the top of your desk as a constant reminder. At the end of each day, write down the specific actions you will take in pursuit of your goals the following day, and at the end of each day measure yourself to see whether you’ve achieved them. Be sure to reward yourself even in a small way when you do.

Send your questions to Clifford E. Montgomery, CPC, executive and career coach in New Hope. He can be reached at 908-209-1642 or at His website is