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Career Story: Corporate Self-Improvement Coach

Corporate Self-Improvement Coach

Job Title: Organizational Development Specialist

Type of Company: Business College

Education: BA, Psychology •• working on MA, Organizational Development

Previous Experience: I worked for the same organization as the Employee Development Coordinator.

Job Tasks: Designing, developing and delivering professional development opportunities for faculty and staff takes up the majority of my time. In addition, I work with individuals or departments on specific training/organizational development needs including performance improvement plans for under-performing employees. Generally my job provides a chance for employees to learn something new about themselves, others or the organization. The skills that I teach are universal and can be applied in both personal and professional settings. I have a real passion for continuous improvement which makes my job a perfect fit.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Helping others develop new skills or overcome barriers is very rewarding. It's difficult when there are people who need development, but they don't realize it especially when they are being forced to go to training...that's rarely successful. In an ideal world, everyone would recognize their deficiencies and try to improve on them. Without that, on occasion, we get people who don't really want to be learning and it's challenging to still put forth the same effort as you would with someone who is truly interested. The other challenging part about being aware of a bigger picture processes that take place in an organization is being saddled with the knowledge of what's going wrong, but not necessarily having the ear of upper management to suggest improvements (especially in your own group.) Despite those things, every day I help someone and that's the best feeling.

Job Tips: You have to love to learn and have a desire to be up in front of people who might question what you're saying and be able to handle that professionally. When I started, I didn't like public speaking, but that's something you can work on via Toastmasters or similar training opportunities. If you're good at finding ways to reach different types of learners, this is a great job for you.

Additional Thoughts: Although it may be difficult to get entry-level jobs in the training/organizational development field, having coursework in Psychology or Organizational Behavior is quite helpful. There are plenty of advanced degrees in similar fields that will allow you to attain higher level jobs as well.

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