I am a STAR
How and what we communicate with ourselves in the privacy of our own minds plays a massive role in shaping how we perceive ourselves and how we wish to be perceived by others. This internal dialogue is a key to create and manifest our future. Training our minds to use words of encouragement act as a powerful tool to transcend our limitations and empower ourselves to achieve what we desire.
‘I am a Star’ is an incorporation of diverse real-life learning experiences, an adaptation of Career theories with the core of appreciative inquiry and transformative coaching, focusing on transforming thinking patterns causing the client to succeed. The ideology behind creating the STAR framework comes from an authentic place - with experiences and lessons learnt from my once very successful and high-profile business career to losing it all and facing a major career crisis after meeting with a head injury. Managing an involuntary transition of this nature shook the pillars of belief in myself. The motivation and resilience of starting all over again with more determination and clarity was possible only with the personal dialogue I created for myself.
The focus of this article is to share ‘I am STAR’ technique and introduce one of its many implementations and advantages. I have crafted this approach with a dual purpose in mind, to prepare my clients for their new career journey, infuse them with self-awareness, belief and confidence, and to offer a deeper understanding of the interview process.
A migrant career coach
These are some of the many questions that kept surfacing my mind when I came to New Zealand 7 years ago.
Today, I am sitting in a very responsible position as a Career Consultant with Work Connect where I coach migrants and graduating international students to be New Zealand work ready. At the beginning of our coaching sessions, I see the same self-doubt, lack of confidence, fear and anxiousness in my client’s eyes. Everything I say or do can make a huge difference in the way my clients perceive themselves and make sense of the new world of work around them. I soon realised there was a strong need to implement a robust transformative coaching practice to get sustainable outcomes, where my clients can find a way to take these learnings beyond our 10 hours coaching relationship.
Bringing the STAR to life
In my previous life, for over 12 years my profiles entailed launching brands, meeting targets and managing high performing teams. Although my squad of teen’s motivation was to buy flash things, it was not incentives alone that motivated them. They looked forward to being a ‘STAR of the month’, who apart from getting incentives were awarded a STAR appreciation, with which came the responsibility to train newbies, and apparently an opportunity to throw some weight around ????
Moving on to my next role with my second chance learners in New Zealand, I was the first tutor to make report cards with silver & gold STAR stickers for demonstrating soft skills in and outside of the classroom. This was a risk I took knowing it could backfire anytime if my students thought I was treating them as kindy kids. Guess what, they argued over getting a silver star when they worked really hard to get a Gold ???? The STAR’s mattered!
Fast forward to today where I have the privilege to coach freshers to senior level professionals. There is one thing that is the critical ingredient that can make them successful, what is it? The belief in what they do and why they do it. We are all passionate, we all love what we do — then why is it that we fumble and step back from expressing who we are? I had my aha moment while recording the video for STAR behavioural questions which I have now integrated with ‘I am A Star’
As a coach, I partner with my clients to build confidence, to flaunt their soft skills and prepare them to conquer that job interview. My migrant clients are new to behavioural questions. Back home interview questions were framed around how much you know and what will you bring to this job (targets, sales, qualifications, networks, technologies etc.). Asking them to memorise 4 or 5 situations is adding to the pressure they are already in.
Question: ‘Tell me a time you dealt with stress?’
Answer: ‘Well, every day. Which day should I talk about?’
My clients learn how to answer these questions differently without getting stuck in the structure. Before they come for an interview prep session, they must complete some homework (the teacher in me loves accountability). The task involves some deep thinking in flashback, ‘share 3 happiest days in your work life, it can be anything, what did you do / not do?’
Our interview session begins with an invitation to share their experience of making the big decision to move to a new country, and one of the questions I ask is ‘What is the one thing your heart told your mind when you said goodbye to your loved ones at the airport?’
Moving on to sharing the happy 3 days for our mock interview – ‘I got 2 promotions in 6 months’, ‘I was awarded for introducing new methods’, ‘My team achieved the highest sales 3 months in a row’. These examples open up the conversation, and when we dig deeper, I see that sparkle in their eyes. Together we focus on these achievements, look back on how far they have come, and that’s what helps them change their perception of the situation, identify the positives and pick up the learnings from the negatives
We look at the job description, understand why the employer is interested in knowing how they think and behave and find ways to use these experiences as examples. Now the interview feels like a cake walk. They are my STAR, and I make them say it loud and repeat after me ‘I AM A STAR’. In any given Situation I complete my Task, take necessary Action and achieve excellent Results. Some of them ask for a hard copy for the bathroom mirror.
I love it when they call me after the interview and excitingly say ‘I was smiling when I said how I handle stress. That was fun, and I don’t mind doing it again.’ Most likely they don’t get a second chance. They are hired :-)
The STAR in me strongly believes that a mind stretched by new learnings and awareness can never go back to its old dimensions. Don’t forget to have a dialogue with yourself and say out loud ‘I AM A STAR.’