For an Excellent Career Orientation
Professional Coach, a job for modern times
Translation of the article in l'Orient le Jour dated Sept. 17, 2007
With her well designated consulting firm called "Career Counseling and Coaching" and with the collaboration of Birkman International and its famous test, Roula Saba Mouhannaâ€™s task is to advise and help both the young and the adult.
For instance students who donâ€™t know which professional direction to follow or some adults who maybe have mistaken their career orientation, in order to assist them find their true calling. Here below is a profile of a new profession in Lebanon.
No, Roula Saba Mouhanna is not a sports coach. Neither is she a trainer, educator, pedagogue nor a psychologist. Her profession, in which she feels very rightly placed and which started in the US, in case we have to give it a title is without doubt: Professional Coach. For those university graduates who havenâ€™t yet found their way, for companies and NGOs with recruiting problems and other needs, she listens, analyses, asks the right questions, explains and supportsâ€¦ finally surfaces the choice and career orientation of each. All according to the famous Brikman method of which she is a certified consultant.
Holidays are over. On the last night before the frightening first day at university, still without an orientation of choice, a sign or proof, for a number of young students, pressured by a competitive world where mistakes, especially in career orientation, is already a professional blunder. What to Do?
Coming back after a long working day with that bad taste of having inherited, in the Eastern tradition, your fatherâ€™s and grandfatherâ€™s vocation but not the profession that you wanted. It is a very uncomfortable feeling of not being in the right place, the place which allows one to offer and exploit the best in him/her. What if we made a mistake?
Forty years have passed. The children are gone, the house is emptying. The urge for a change in "career", to replace her role as a mother with a job that feels like a hobby is needed. However, after such passage of time, her diploma as well as previous experience seem obsolete and her interests have changed . What to Do?
Problems of communication between a manager and his employees, and employee with his colleague, and the tension which we call today "stress" becomes unbearable.
Such are the numerous situations that Roula Saba-Mouhanna, the founder and manager of "Career Counseling & Coaching", treats with obvious pleasure.
She, herself, was subject to it when few years ago, after graduating with a degree in Engineering from AUB then an MBA from INSEAD, following varied jobs in banking and marketing, she realized what jobs "she didnâ€™t want to do". Hence, in order for her to know what she wanted to do as well as what she can do well, she discovered and did the Brikman Method test. "Thanks to my responses and to their interpretations, it clearly defined my interests, my character and all what I needed to be a fulfilled person as well as the areas in which I excel." Importantly, she learned that she wanted to become a coach, completely convinced in the method which showed her the right path. She followed a professional training in London to become a Brikman Consultant and she also became a certified coach accredited by the International Coach Federation. A new profession, modern as well as very rare in Lebanon.
The method is named after its founder Roger W. Brikman. This ex-pilot who, in the fifties, conducted research with scientists at the University of Texas, in order to recruit pilots for the US Air Force. His PhD subject titled "test of social comprehension" formed the basis of his work and his test is currently available around the world (translated to 11 different languages). "The person sitting for the test is subjected to 150 easy questions, to which he has to simply answer with a Yes or No" explains Roula. Questions cluster around 3 subjects: "How does one perceive others?", "How does one perceive oneself?" and "What are oneâ€™s needs/desires". But no cheating! Honesty is key or else the results would be incorrect.
"In general, 45 minutes are needed to finish the test, the responses are sent to Texas. I then receive a 40 page analysis. I then have to interpret and deliver it to the test taker." A debriefing session is scheduled. A 3 hour meeting in which serious conversations take place. "Itâ€™s a synergistic work between the two of us. Most important is the focus on identifying the true interests of the person, his/her strengths, social behavior, reactions under stress and difficult situations and the method with which he/she solves problems". Given the nature of the responses, the interests become more visible. "We try to find the intersection between what the person likes to do and what the person is good at. It is for the person to discover it, we only clarify, guide and help him/her define the issues." This method achieved 90% confidence level, and 50 years later, more than 2 million tests and an impressive client list varying from individuals, companies, governmental agencies to NGOs.
"I love helping others, concludes Roula Saba-Mouhanna, supporting them to define their professional career choice which is a decision for life. I donâ€™t deal with the past but the present and the future. I hope that coaching becomes a habit and a culture". Without a doubt it is a mean to building a society better adapted for the capabilities and interests of individuals. Not only a better performing society but a happier one too.
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