The ALV Career Method is our comprehensive career transition coaching program. There’s a lot to it, and so I want to share with you exactly how it works and why it works. But before I do, I think it’s important for you to know why we even built it in the first place!
How I got here
Not too long ago, I was sitting in a crappy hotel room somewhere in Kentucky. I was a management consultant, and so finding myself in crappy hotel rooms not entirely sure where I was, was not an uncommon occurrence for me. When I first got into consulting I thought, “I’m young and don’t have a lot of responsibility. It’s okay if I live on planes and work all the time.” After a few years, I found myself thinking, “I’m young and don’t have a lot of responsibility. Why am I wasting my life being miserable, alone in a hotel room, doing work I don’t care about?” And in that hotel room, I had decided enough was enough. I decided life was too short to allow myself to stay unhappy.
Consulting was a fantastic place to start my career, but I learned that it wasn’t my forever job. And once I did, I felt lost.
I had worked so hard to get there. I had done all the “right” things. It was by many standards a great job. Why wasn’t I happy? Was I just being ungrateful? Should stick it out? If not, then what now? Is it possible to find a job you’re passionate about that also pays well or is that just a pipe dream?
I was questioning myself and my decisions. I didn’t seek help to find answers because I didn’t even know there was help to be sought.
Luckily, around the same time, I was given a leadership coach by my employer. And to be honest, I wasn’t excited about it. Coaching sounded like a hippie, made-up job to me.
I was wrong.
I found coaching to be so valuable that I continued working with my coach independent of my organization for years. And to take it about a million steps further, I found it so valuable that I eventually quit my job to start a coaching business.
Why we built the ALV Method
The coaching that I had was incredibly powerful. I felt energized and inspired by my sessions. They helped me find calm and clarity.
But there was something missing: structure.
While I was learning a lot about myself and starting to envision an ideal future, I didn’t always know where the sessions were headed. It was sometimes difficult to keep moving forward without some sort of process to follow to apply all of my insights to the actual job search.
Many of my peers were going through a similar career transition and had an experience on the opposite end of the spectrum. Every career quiz and assessment felt so binary and limiting. Are you an introvert or extrovert? Oh you like to help people? Then you should be a nurse. Analytical? You should be an accountant. These assessments felt outdated. Oversimplified. They didn’t seem to take into account how complex we are as people and that there is a lot more that goes into finding a fulfilling career path than just a few personality traits. Most career tests out there provide multiple choice questions and use an algorithm to box you into a “type” which determines your career direction. Seven billion people and unlimited career paths do not fit into one of 16 types.
My business partner, Foram, had also made her way to coaching from consulting. She was being trained in leadership and executive coaching and saw that most clients were in the C-suite. “Why wasn’t coaching being made available for people earlier on in their careers?” she thought. Why did it feel so stuffy and inaccessible? How could we bring coaching to anyone at any time?
The two of us teamed up to create Ama La Vida and our first signature program, The ALV Career Method.
We wanted to take the best pieces from each of our experiences and create a process to help people navigate career transitions, no matter where they were in their careers or in the world. We wanted to help people reconnect with themselves in an authentic way and craft a career path that was uniquely designed for them. We wanted to arm them with the collateral, confidence and accountability to land roles they thought were out of reach. We wanted to spark that excitement in them that would get them to take action and make the change they had been longing for.
And we wanted to do it all in a way that was affordable.
How the method works
The ALV Career Method is a comprehensive, 4-phase coaching program that takes you step-by-step through the process of identifying the right career path for you and landing a job in your new chosen field. You’ll start with a multi-week intensive where you’ll be meeting with your coach frequently. Your sessions will then taper off over time as we move from discover and planning to execution and support.
Before each session, you’ll complete online exercises in our proprietary eCoaching platform. Then you meet with your certified career coach to dive deep into your findings and ensure you are progressing toward your goal of an exciting new career path.
Here are the program phases you’ll progress through:
Phase One: Planning.
One mistake we regularly see people make is finding themselves unhappy in their work and then going straight to the job boards to find a new position. Most often a position quite like their current one. They don’t take the time to sit back and reflect. To understand why they are unhappy in the first place. To think about the components of their job that they do enjoy. To get clear on what impact they want to make in their career and what they need from a lifestyle perspective to be fulfilled.
Phase one of The ALV Career Method is all about understanding yourself and finding the right career path for you, not anyone else. Before you start looking outward, you must first look inward and understand your:
- Passions – The things that give you energy and make you come alive. We will want to ensure we are incorporating your passions (maybe not all but certainly some!) in your new career path. This will keep you engaged in your work and not staring at the clock.
- Gifts – Your unique traits that help you bring value to your organization and those around you. These are the qualities that make you really special, help you stand out and help you succeed. In your new path, we want to find work that you’re passionate about but also gifted at so that you can be an incredible success.
- Values – The things that guide your decisions and behavior. This is the piece that everyone forgets. The job descriptions might sound perfect, but what about the environment? Is this an organization riddled with red tape when you value change and innovation? Does this company promote based on tenure when you value achievement and contribution? What sacrifices will you have to make for this position? Defining your values helps you be clear about the company culture in which you’ll thrive and the lifestyle you want to honor.
- Purpose – The impact you want to make. This can sound daunting, but it isn’t. We see your purpose as a singular statement the defines what you want this phase of your career to be about. Maybe it’s advancing women. Maybe it’s developing others. Maybe it’s creating something new. Your passions, gifts and values will help you define this, and it will be a constant litmus test for you to always know if you are on the right path.
You might be thinking, “But what if I don’t know these things?” That’s okay! That’s what the program and coaching is for. Many other career assessments will ask you to start by checking boxes that list your passions. We don’t do that. Instead we take you on a reflective journey to help you arrive at your passions. We will ask you other questions like, “What do you do that makes you lose track of time?” or “What brings you energy throughout your day?” which help bring your passions to the surface. The same is true for gifts, values and purpose. We don’t expect you to know these things right off the bat – the reflection and coaching will help you get there.
And if you fall in the other camp where you think you have a pretty good handle on this and think you might know what jobs you want, we say do it anyway. We provide coaching around these areas for leaders, for MBA students for senior executives and all find it to be a transformative experience. This self-reflection and self-awareness will serve you well into your career beyond this career transition.
Now that you fully understand yourself it’s time to start looking outward. We begin this process with an open mind and a blank slate. We use your own passions and gifts to drive the types of jobs we search for and consider. We come up with a full laundry list of possibilities. Coach Sara says, “While quizzes place you in a certain box while the alv method embraces your uniqueness and helps you identify and land the opportunities that are aligned to you – not the other way around!”
From there it’s time to start narrowing down the list based on what best aligns with what you discovered about yourself in part one. Once we have it narrowed down to 5 options, we really explore what a day in the life of each is like and what the requirements are from an experience and education standpoint. We narrow the list down to three and then ultimately select one top option based not only on the job descriptions but also what’s important to you in terms of lifestyle and organizational culture.
By the end of phase one, you’ll have your ideal career path selected.
Phase Two: Positioning.
It’s likely that the new path you’ve chosen to go down is different from your current one. You need to position yourself for this new line of work and rebrand your online presence to align. Your coach will guide you through updating all of your personal collateral so that you get your foot in the door at your target companies. They will also work with you to ensure your interviewing skills are top-notch so that you can tell your story in a compelling and memorable way.
- Rewriting your resume. We will help you rewrite your resume and tailor it to your new chosen career path. We will optimize keywords for application tracking systems.
- Refreshing your LinkedIn profile. We make sure your profile is complete, up to date and helps you stand out. We will teach you to utilize LinkedIn as a job lead source.
- Submitting applications and networking your way into interviews. We help you submit, track and follow-up on your applications as well as utilize your network to get your foot in the door.
- Preparing for your interviews. Interviews are all about preparation, confidence and storytelling, and we help you master all of it including a mock interview.
Phase Three: Execution.
You now have everything you need to land your new dream job. What is important now is that you have ongoing accountability to ensure you bring your job search to completion. Your sessions can become less frequent, but your coach is still there to provide you with support, guidance and expertise every step of the way.
- Accountability. The job search process can take some time, and it is easy to get demoralized. Your coach will ensure you stay on track and stay positive.
- Negotiating your offer. Most people don’t negotiate and leave money on the table. We help you calculate your desired compensation and negotiate your offer.
- Preparing for your new role. You’ve worked so hard to land the job – let’s make sure you’re set up to be successful there.
Phase Four: Support.
You’ve now built momentum in your career path – why stop now? Ongoing support from you coach can help you really propel your career forward and achieve your goals. Meet with your coach on a continual basis to discuss professional priorities and goals including but not limited to: promotion timelines, collaboration with other teams, building your internal network, positioning yourself as a leader, dealing with difficult team members, managing a team. Your coach is your ongoing support system to keep you on track with your own goals and to help you navigate new situations.
How The ALV Method is different
Our hybrid eCoaching/live coaching approach.
A lot of the time when we hear eCoaching, many companies simply mean that they coach via the internet like with Skype. That’s not what we mean.
Our eCoaching platform mimics the experience of working with a coach by asking the right questions to help you reach new insights and conclusions. We couple these online modules with sessions with a coach, so that a lot of the deep reflection can happen in advance on your own time when you are in the best headspace for it. Your reports get sent to your coach so that when you get on the live session, you can dive right into the nitty-gritty and skip past some of the surface level stuff. This allows your sessions to be more meaningful and allows us to accomplish the same objective in fewer sessions than other coaches which keeps the cost down for you.
There are a lot of great coaches out there who are inspiring, approachable and ask great questions. But after coaching hundreds of clients through career transitions, we have found that a process is key.
The ALV Career Method has evolved over time, and our approach has strengthened as we’ve learned more about what our clients need to be successful with it. In order to not just feel good but to achieve results, a proven process is critical. Coach Teague adds, “This program is truly a start-to-finish experience and no stone is left unturned. Through a combination of guided modules and adaptable coaching, we can meet every client where they are.”
Tailored to you.
As I mentioned before, we don’t force you just to check a box to simplify who you are: introvert or extrovert, creative or analytical. The ALV Method helps you explore all of who you are and how your unique preferences and abilities best align with the job market. Even though we have a proven framework that we follow, what happens within that framework completely depends on you. Every person is unique, and so we flex our coaching to your needs and goals. The modules and the program are tools to help you reach your goals. Coach Katie adds that we use, “a science-backed coaching approach which empowers you to arrive at your insights and solutions and pave a career path that is uniquely perfect for you.“
Where people get stuck
We truly believe that the ALV Career Method is the best career transition program and resource on the market. However, it isn’t just a plug and play solution. There is difficult introspective work to be done and hurdles to get over to navigate the transition. There are a few areas where we commonly see our clients get stuck, but part of the beauty of this program and the team at Ama La Vida is that we have encountered these challenges many times and can help our clients overcome them.
Trying to game the system.
There’s another reason why we don’t have you check boxes for your passions, gifts, etc. beyond the fact that you may not know. Many people get in their own heads and attempt to game the system by selecting the passions they think they should select based on the jobs they think they should align with. Our reflective approach helps to avoid that, but clients can still get hung up thinking they should answer a question one way or another. Coach Sara sees her clients:
We coach them away from “shoulding” since the best outcomes come when you are true to yourself throughout the process. As you consider your own career transition, it’s important for you to set aside external expectations from family, societal pressures and even pressure you put on yourself and allow yourself to consider new possibilities.
Coming up with new job ideas.
When you have always thought about your career heading down one path, it can be difficult to consider the possibility of something new. I find this to be especially true for those who have invested a lot in their education to date with a singular path in mind. At this point in the program, we use the self-reflection which occurred in previous weeks to help guide the job search. For those who are really stuck, we provide some additional optional tools to help generate new ideas. “What I say to my clients is reminding them that they decided to go through a coaching journey so that they could get outside of their comfort zone. And no choice is permanent. So let yourself go. Explore. And just see what you come up with,” says Foram.
Being scared to dream big.
Sometimes our clients find themselves in the scary middle ground of knowing they don’t want to do what they have been doing but fearful of opening themselves up to new possibilities and big dreams. The National Association of Career Development refers to this as The Neutral Zone. Coach Teague says, “No goal is too monumental if they’re willing to put in the work. During the program, we explore and experiment to ensure that whatever next step is taken, it’s in line with what is most important to that person.”
Narrowing down to one idea.
When the time comes to select the optimal career path, we often see clients start to drag their feet. This feels like a major commitment and can be scary. There’s also the fear of saying out loud, “This is my new path.” We need to remember that fear can come when you are on your way to something exciting, and even though we are choosing one direction, it doesn’t mean that the others disappear.
Staying motivated during the job search process.
You may have heard people say that searching for a job is a job itself, and that can absolutely be true. It is a time consuming and sometimes emotional process, especially if things don’t go as planned. It takes a lot of discipline to stick with it and an ability to rebound and refocus if we do encounter rejection. It’s important for us to not just provide accountability throughout it but also emotional support and a focus on self-care as Career Specialist Eden discusses in this post.
Every day we are helping our clients discover and land jobs they love. We help them get “unstuck” or re-energized about their career paths. Career Specialist Eden loves “to see something build over the course of the sessions, either confidence, internal motivation, gratitude, and peace with THEIR process…coming into a place of acceptance!“
As exciting as that sounds, you probably want some proof! We are diligent about tracking the impact of the program, and so all of our clients complete pre and post-program assessments. Here is a sample of some of the outcomes of the program:
I love this review from Bryan:
What I believe
You already know what you want.
The more we do this, the more I believe that people actually already know what they want before they even start the program. They may not know what the job title is or where to find it, but they know how they want their day to feel. They know how they want to feel about themselves. But years of conditioning to expect something else has made this all a bit fuzzy and seemingly unrealistic. This program helps to bring it to the forefront. It helps to surface things they may have lost touch with. It helps to give them the confidence that their vision can become reality and to know it is the right vision because of the intelligent process which helped shape it. And I think it takes the rigor of a program like this to help inspire action.
Courage and commitment are as important if not more than clarity.
We say that to make a career transition you need 3 Cs: clarity around what you want to do next, courage to go after it and commitment to make it happen. Many people believe that if they can just find the clarity, the rest will fall into place.
I believe that courage and commitment are even more difficult to achieve than clarity. Often clients will come to us saying they have been thinking about making a transition for years and blame lack of vision for their inaction. But more often than not there is a fear of failure. Or a fear of what others will think. Or a fear of rejection. That is where the coaching comes in. Foram says, “Within a matter of a few coaching sessions, we’ve ignited a fire in them and they are going faster than we can keep up with! It’s amazing to see the internal motivation and confidence.”
Then there’s the piece around commitment. When you’ve just worked a 12 hour day, it’s hard to come home and work on a resume. You have a good day at work and you think, “Hey maybe this isn’t so bad, and I should stick it out.” It’s easy to talk yourself out of doing the work to make your transition happen, and the time continues to pass. An enormous benefit of coaching and this program is the accountability it provides to keep you progressing toward the goals you have for yourself.
We all need a cheerleader.
We often have a negative perception of asking for help. But why? Our whole lives we have people supporting us from teachers to coaches to advisers. Then all of a sudden we expect to have it all figured out and be experts in everything. How unrealistic is that?!
The value of having someone in your corner who is there exclusively to help you achieve your goals. Whether you need someone to help you process your thoughts or just don’t really want to make a resume on your own, we feel you. And we are here for you. And we will help make what can be a miserable process for some people, an engaging and and beneficial journey. Coach Teague says, “I love to see the confidence in my clients grow. The job search process can be incredibly intimidating. Our clients are equipped with the technical resources – as well as support and guidance and cheerleading from their coach – to face this process with determination and confidence.”
It’s your time
I didn’t get into this business because of my passion for coaching or my love for personal development. I got into it because I personally know how it feels to go from dreading the alarm clock, feeling the stress seep in just opening your email, wishing the time would pass quickly through the work weeks, to loving what I do. Not every second of every day is perfect, but I absolutely love my work.
I got into this business because I want that for you. I want you to come home from work and think, “That was 8 hours well spent.” And, “I’m proud of how I contributed today.”
I got into this business because I want to help mobilize you. To help you put aside any guilt or fear you may be feeling and take charge of your career path.
I got into this business because I want to cheer you on. I get inspired when I see people pursuing their dreams and living a life they are proud of. I want that to be you. If you do too, then this is the program for you.
Latest posts by Nicole Wood (see all)
- How to Best Prepare for Maternity Leave - December 15, 2020
- How to Keep Your Team Motivated When Times Are Tough - October 20, 2020
- How To Become Your Boss’s Favorite - October 16, 2020