This post is written by Aurora Geis, head career coach, to outline how DCI coaching works to integrate apprentices into their new jobs.
With the DCI apprenticeship program, career coaching is one of the key aspects to ensure long term success. Marketers who invest their time and resources in career coaching services are going to experience six key advantages to help them apply their skills and succeed in an ever-changing market:
- Gain long-term perspective
- Achieve goals
- Enhance performance
- Receive honest feedback
- Increase confidence
- Discover the root of problems
Everybody has a coaching model, but not everybody fits in that model. The DCI coaching model is unique because it applies what the apprentice is learning combined with their strengths, values, and preferences in work. The model helps the apprentice quickly adapt to their new environment, new relationships, their boss, colleagues and helps them be successful from day one.
5 questions that go into the DCI coaching model:
- Where is the organization headed? Clarity on the company’s future strategy is key. Being able to understand where they are and where they are going provides insight to an apprentice as they discover how their work produces value to the organization’s success.
- What is the role of the apprentice within the organization? Getting a deep understanding of the specific work an apprentice will be accountable to perform then aligning it with the company’s strategy. Performance is enhanced by gaining shared agreements with vertical and horizontal relationships within the organization. By clearly stating goals and tactics, it brings greater purpose and clarity to effectively plan day to day work.
- How is my performance measured? Clarity on work expectations leads to clarity on agreed upon metrics to measure value added to the organization over time. Having frequent check-ins through various methods of communication heightens focus on work being produced and managing the boss’ priorities and expectations throughout the course of the work. Fast feedback eliminates frustration and time.
- What is my future? The focus is on knowing where the apprentice wants to go within the organization and knowing what it takes to one day fill their boss’s shoes. By forming a relationship with the boss’s boss, the manager once removed, they are actively participating in their future. An apprentice may have the role of their boss one day and they need to develop the relationship with their boss’ boss in a way that is respectful.
- Who are you serving? Knowing where the apprentice is going and their role is important, but always keeping the end in mind, which is who they are serving. In marketing, that’s what we do - we are here to serve and help shape the delivery of services to meet a client, consumer or communities need. When the apprentice knows who they are serving, they see the consumer and the work that is being produced with a different perspective.
Initial coaching process with the apprentice
We start with an initial conversation to get to know the apprentice - their dreams and why they decided to be an apprentice. We are very fortunate to find people who are learners and want to grow in their careers. We take them through a personal exploratory conversation but we begin with a common language - Strengths Finder. The biggest area of success for any apprentice is that they begin with self awareness. They really have to know themselves and their strengths and weaknesses. The coach's’ job is to balance their strong and weak points. Strengths are used to leverage their skills and increase their experience and knowledge.
Meeting with client company
After meeting with the apprentice, we meet with the apprentice and employer together to uncover what are the priorities of the company and apprentice’s boss. We begin that conversation so that we have a clearer understanding of what is going to be expected of the apprentice. We starting building out a learning plan that the apprentice will follow over the course of 12 months. The coach’s major role it to help the apprentice navigate through all of the complexities of onboarding and integrating with the organization as a whole.
During the 12-month apprenticeship
Over the course of the 12 months, the DCI team will meet quarterly with the apprentice and their boss to review the learning plan and evaluate progress. These meetings are essential to ensure the apprentice is on the right track and adding value to the company. The learning plan will evolve as the apprentice moves forward in the company and their role adapts to their new skill set.
All coaching meetings:
- Individual coaching sessions once a month
- Group coaching once a month - all apprentices and Aurora
- Peer mentoring once a month
- Quarterly meetings with company to review progress
About head coach Aurora Geis
I’m a constant learner just like the apprentices. I enjoy giving insight to the apprentices so that they don’t waste time. I became a coach because I want the apprentices to fail quickly in order to succeed in the long term.
I’ve learned that it’s essential to surround yourself with wise advisers. I’ve had some really challenging bosses throughout my career and those bosses have had me learn in ways that I don’t think I ever could have learned. Through the challenges they presented, it afforded me the opportunity to think differently about situations and environments. People can get stuck in what didn’t work and don’t open the possibility of things that can work in the future.
I’ve had professional coaches in my career and it’s the best investment I’ve ever made. They give you a perspective that you sometimes don’t have because you get tunnel vision on your work and personal life. You need that third party to get up on the balcony as you’re talking about your life to give you the insights and see things from a different perspective.
Not only does DCI rapidly develop the technical skills of marketing professionals, but we also provide career coaching. Find out more about the marketing skills apprentices learn during their 12 months.