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How can coaching unlock your full potential?

Written by Jasper de Coster on 27 March 2023 for Graduates

One of the things that makes Exellys unique, is our emphasis on coaching. But what exactly do we mean by ‘coaching’? What’s the difference between an Exellys coach and other people who claim the title? And most importantly, what can a coach do for your career? Hans Vernimme, one of Exellys’s coaches – we call them Talent Development Managers, or TDMs for short – answers a few pertinent questions in this Exellys Talks podcast. If you have 25 minutes to spare and you’d like to listen to this fun and engaging conversation, you can check out the full episode in the video above or listen to the episode down below. Please note that the podcast is recorded in Dutch and there are no subtitles. If you don’t understand Dutch or you don’t have the time, you’ll find the highlights in this blog post.

When I’m scrolling through LinkedIn, I get the impression that lots of people call themselves ‘coaches’. But what does it mean exactly to be a coach? And what sets an Exellys TDM apart from certain others?

Hans: It’s true that in Belgium, anyone can work as a coach. There are no specific requirements. I think what all coaches have in common, is their intention to help others by asking questions. An important thing to know about Exellys coaches however, is that we are all ICF-certified (ICF = International Coaching Federation) or following the necessary steps to become ICF-certified. We’ve taken classes and passed exams which are no walk in the park, to be honest. So, we definitely have the credentials to call ourselves ‘coach’ in good faith. 😊

How many coachees do you have? And what is your role in their career?

I take about 20 to 30 graduates and young professionals under my wing and I follow them for two years, while they take their first steps towards building their careers. At Exellys, we try to bridge the gap between school and the first experience as a professional. We do this through training programmes (Start Smart, Grow Smart and Lead Smart, which all last 2 years and are designed specifically for certain target groups) but through coaching as well. It’s the combination of that makes the Exellys programmes so strong. A coach is there to help you reflect on the things you’ve learned in the trainings, and to figure out how to turn theory into practice. What are you taking away from the trainings? And how are you going to apply this in your job? That’s what we help you figure out.

What does this coaching part look like exactly?

Mainly, we have conversations. Every three months, we have a coaching session. When we see that things aren’t going as they should, we invest more time to try to get people back on track. But we do it a little differently than most coaches: we work proactively, rather than reactively. In classical coaching, you work around a specific question, issue or case that your coachee needs help with. But graduates often don’t have a specific question or problem. As TDMs, we take it upon ourselves to steer these processes and conversations. When coachees tell us everything is going well, we dig deeper. What trainings have you taken? What have you learned? How can we implement these learnings in the day-to-day? Which objectives will we set to track the progress you’re making? We help them to shape this process, and that’s how we see rapid growth in these young talents.

Can you give some examples of ways you’ve helped your coachees over the years?

In every phase of your career, whether you’re just starting your first job or you’re already in a leadership role, there are struggles. Young people just leaving school sometimes experience a rather rude awakening. They have a certain image of what their job is going to be like, and that doesn’t always line up with reality. I’ve had coachees come to me and say, this isn’t what I want after all, I want to do something different. In a case like that, I don’t just say, okay no problem let’s find you something else. It’s up to me to start the conversation: why do you feel it’s not working out? What attracted you to this role initially, why did you choose it in the first place? Having this conversation is more valuable than immediately looking for another job.

This search for who young people are as employees is something we see mostly in graduates. But after a few years, other things pop up. One of my coachees who was in the Grow Smart programme – our programme designed for people with a few years’ work experience – was doing great but lacked confidence. During our workshops, I could tell he was reluctant to join in the discussion and speak his mind. Sometimes someone like that just needs a little push, for someone to believe in them, and that is what I did. My faith in him made him think: maybe I can do this after all. And so he gave a presentation which he was very nervous about, and he was so happy afterwards, because he’d done great. Those kinds of victories really make me love what I do, it’s so rewarding to help young people grow!

Even in our Lead Smart programme there are still coachees who struggle with certain issues. When the pandemic started and someone in our Lead Smart programme suddenly needed to manage his team remotely, that had a huge impact on him. Just bringing some vulnerability to his role, telling him it was okay to be authentic and honest about what he was feeling, gave him that push he needed. Turns out he was a better leader when he dared to be vulnerable towards his team, and that’s how he could turn the tide and get his groove back. That wasn’t one of my coachees, but stories like that are really inspiring to all of us.

Hans is just one of our Talent Development Managers. And this article just gives you a high-level idea of what it can mean for your career to have someone in your corner who’s not only a coach, but a mentor as well. Do you want to know more about Hans, about our training programmes, or would you like to hear more cases? Don’t hesitate to check out our podcast in the video at the start of this blogpost or listen to the episode down below.

About Exellys

Exellys is a Tech Talent Incubator. We match ambitious companies with the finest tech talent. Are you ready to drive the innovations of tomorrow? Ready to make an impact and become a future-fit digital leader?

Whether you are a graduate or (young) professional, Exellys will unlock your full potential by guiding you to a challenging work environment that perfectly matches your personality, expectations and ambitions.

On top of that, you are enrolled in one of our very own training and coaching programs (based on your personal and professional ambition and experience). This means that, while working as an Exellys consultant, we are helping you to bridge your ambition to excellence.

Through intensive training and coaching, you’ll gain the essential skills, competencies and knowledge necessary to become the highly effective professional you aim to be. Become an Exellyst and get in touch with us today!

Written by Jasper de Coster Content Marketeer