Coaching with Patience and Grace

Valerie Bustle is a second-year finance major who also acted as a second-year coach for our first-year MBA students. Having had the pleasure to work alongside Valerie on a number of projects, I knew that her infectious enthusiasm would make her a strong second-year coach. That’s why I pulled her aside to ask her some questions in our ongoing series on the coaching experience at Tippie.  

Val BustleWhat made you want to be a 2nd year coach?

My experience as a 1st year with my 2nd year coach. In addition to helping me with my job search and adjusting to business school, my coach challenged me to pursue opportunities that I would have not otherwise considered. He took the time to understand my professional and personal goals, and he supported me on my journey to achieving them.

How has the experience been for you?

It’s been very helpful in building my leadership and coaching skills. I’ve had the chance to help four unique individuals with their own career development and professional goals. The experience will benefit my career as well, as I take on leadership positions and help colleagues to manage their careers.

What is your best memory from this experience?

When one of my coachees accepted her internship. She had a unique background and work history, and she was quite nervous about her career prospects. However, after lots of hard work and diligence, she accepted an excellent offer from one of her top choices.

What was the biggest challenge?

One of my coachees was not interested in pursuing a coaching relationship, despite my efforts to connect. This person was in the midst of changing careers, and it was clear that some mentoring could be beneficial. However, after trying to connect several times to no avail, I realized that each person must be ready to coach. If someone is not at that point, like this person was, pushing the mentorship will only worsen the situation.

Any thoughts on the challenge of coaching or career searches?

In regards to coaching, each person is at his or her own stage in their career and their willingness to discuss their career goals. By making oneself available as a coach, as a peer rather than an authority, a coach allows the coachee to determine the nature of the relationship. It requires a combination of patience and grace, but these efforts can create a strong, lasting relationship.

In regards to career searches, it is important to have a plan but to also keep an open mind. Business school is a transformational experience, and it can quickly change a student’s career plan. By keeping an open mind, students can explore and consider all types of career opportunities. Finally, it is imperative to learn the art of networking. It calls for a delicate balance of assertion and polish, and business school is the ideal time to perfect these skills. They provide an unrivaled opportunity to learn about career trajectories as well as create priceless allies when pursuing internships or full-time employment.

Any advice for international students engaging in the career search?

International students must embrace their own personal brand and work diligently with career services to pursue job prospects. It necessitates resolve and grace, but the end result is well worth the effort.

Anything you’d want to say that isn’t covered in the above questions?

Coaching has been a very rewarding experience. There have been difficult experiences, but I know that they have crafted my ability to manage teammates and to lead. Beyond that, I value the relationships that I have fostered, and I look forward to cultivating those types of relationships throughout my career.

Cheeni Rao

About Cheeni Rao

Srinivas “Cheeni” Rao is a 2014 MBA candidate. A graduate of the University of Chicago as well as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he is the founder of The Iowa Book Doctors, a publishing services company that edits and ghostwrites manuscripts for publication. He was a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” pick in 2009 and is an accomplished novelist and playwright.