Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What Mr. Fred Rogers Can Teach Career Coaches

Ten years ago, Fred Rogers, an educator, Presbyterian minister, songwriter, and television host, died on February 27, 2003, of stomach cancer at age 74. He was the creator and host of the enduring show, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood for more than three decades. In every show he let the children know that he loved them for who they are.

This show was my two sons' (Norman and Dale, presently ages 37 and 33) favorite show in the eighties. My oldest son, Norman, around age two or three, refused to call me Dad for quite a while, and every evening when I came home, called me "Mr. Rogers" (something I secretly cherished!). I don't know to this day why he said that. My wife Elizabeth thinks it was because I was kind and gentle with them, and spent a lot of time with them.

Perhaps when a client comes to see a career coach, that person's ego has been badly bruised by the world. In many ways, the client is looking for unconditional love from the coach. Using this hypothesis, I want to share with you some characteristics of Mr. Rogers which we may want to emulate.

These are gentleness, sweetness, sincerity, a voice which seems to lower the anxiety
level, consistency, unconditional love, focused attention (listening), and providing a safe
haven during a counseling session.

Mr. Rogers' philosophy of the show can be summarized as follows:

- Discover something new.
- Listen to people's stories.
- Sing.
- Take your time.
- Be generous.
- Imagine.
- Feed the fish! (Don't forget the little acts of kindness!)

He encouraged the children and us to be ourselves, understand love, the challenges of inner discipline, and that we are all neighbors.

Let's pay a tribute to this great man by integrating some of Mr. Rogers' values and philosophies like non-judgmental listening and focused attention in our practice of career coaching and career counseling, and all of us, coaches and clients, will benefit from them.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Less Demand for Lawyers

In CareerQuest's Newsletter of May 2012, we had an article about demand for new lawyers. You can read it in the Newsletter Archive on CareerQuest's website, www.careerquestcentral.com.

Ethan Bronner, a journalist has written a pointed article in The New York Times of Thursday, January 31, 2013. It's title is Law Schools' Applications Fall As Costs Rise and Jobs Are Cut. Bronner goes on to say, and I quote:

"Law School applications are headed for a 30-year low, reflecting increased concern over soaring tuition, crushing student debt and diminishing prospects of lucrative employment upon graduation.

As of this month, there were 30,000 applicants to law schools for the fall, a 20 percent decrease from the same time last year and a 38 percent decline from 2010, according to the Law School Admission Council. Of some 200 law schools nationwide, only 4 have seen increases in applications this year. In 2004 there were 100,000 applicants to law schools; this year there are likely to be 54,000." 

CareerQuest could not agree more with the contents of this article; it is worth reading.