What Should Savvy Companies Look for When Interviewing a Candidate?


Back in the late 1980’s, while I was working at Mobil Chemical as a technical service manager, I was selected as an employee participant to train and practice a cutting-edge initiative called competency-based interviewing. Mobil’s intention was to always hire the best and brightest employees to join its workforce. However, despite its best attempts, Mobil’s batting average was far less than its target. With the help of a consulting firm, Mobil embarked on a study of its top performers to determine what characteristics these employees all had in common. The result? The consultant agency found that across all job functions, those employees that Mobil rated as its highest performers had an abundance of the following competencies:

  • Analytical thinking – analyzing a situation/problem, seeing trends and outcomes, and developing solutions
  • Conceptual thinking – identifying and developing concepts and ideas
  • Concern for accuracy – performing the job right the first time
  • Concern for effectiveness – taking action that balances results and efficiency
  • Effective Communication – communicating messages both orally and in writing so the intended message is clearly and easily understood
  • Enthusiasm for work – working and contributing with enthusiasm
  • Flexibility – adjusting priorities or a course of action without concern
  • Initiative – acting without being asked
  • Perceptual thinking – being aware of how people are responding to communication and behaviors and adjusting to elicit a more positive response
  • Teamwork – working effectively with other people to achieve a goal
  • Technical Knowledge – working knowledge of subject matter

Identification of these common competencies then led Mobil to develop competency-based interviewing, which was a radically different interview process and approach used up until that point. The competency-based interviewer was trained how to ask specific questions to help an interviewee unfold stories, so the interviewer could identify as many competencies practiced by the candidate. In the case of personal competencies, past performance was an assumed indicator of future performance.

tim-gouw-bwki71ap-y8-unsplashWhen 20 summer interns became willing interviewees to help trainees certify in this new interviewing process, the results were surprising. These college students were only told that they were interviewing for factitious jobs and had nothing to gain or lose. Each intern was separately interviewed by four interviewers. The interviewers then ranked each intern for competencies and compared notes. The results? Most interviewers found the same number of competencies for each interviewee. What was unexpected? The interviewers identified a handful of candidates that Mobil would have clearly offered a job based on the criteria of the past such as sociability, confident manner, physical appeal, participation on team sports, and academic performance, and yet, these same candidates had no competencies.

What does this mean for those companies who want to hire the best employees? Every candidate should be screened for basic knowledge that cannot be taught on the job. Certain jobs need specific technical skills such as a design engineer or lawyer. However, for many jobs, companies would likely be more satisfied in their employee selection, if they emphasized competencies in the hiring process. Most technical knowledge can be taught on the job, as opposed to personal competencies, which can only be influenced and may take more time than an employer can afford to invest. Rare is the candidate that has all the above competencies, so an interviewer should have a clear understanding of which competencies are most important for the job.

Competencies are found in both young and older adults, because they typically manifest from core values or personal characteristics of the individual. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find personal competencies across all or several dimensions of a person’s life. Since my competency-based interview training, I have always focused on hiring for competencies over a pedigree, and I have been pleased that my batting average has been higher than most.

HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.  

11 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Say at Work

words out of mouthDr. Travis Bradberry published the article The 11 Things Smart People Won’t Say (2015), where he listed and described why smart people refrain from using certain phrases in the workplace, because these words diminish others’ perception of them. Unfortunately, many employees may not be aware of the negative impact of these sentences or whether they are using them in conversation around the office. For those who may have overlooked this article, I list those words that can undermine the most knowledgeable, talented, and productive employees who use them.

  • It’s not fair.
  • This is the way it’s always been done.
  • No problem.
  • I think …/This may be a silly idea …/I’m going to ask a stupid question.
  • This will only take a minute.
  • I’ll try.
  • He’s lazy/incompetent/a jerk.
  • That’s not in my job description.
  • It’s not my fault.
  • I can’t.
  • I hate this job.

words out of mouth 2Some of these phrases are obvious in their abrasiveness; whereas, others are subtle. A response of “No problem,” as opposed to a kindly “You’re welcome,” or “My pleasure,” commonly heard from a Chick-Fil-A associate, can be more of an annoyance than a negative message. In my opinion, this list of “do-nots” are not what smart people practice but what emotionally intelligent people embrace, as I know several Mensa candidates with low emotional intelligence who continually choose from this list. Emotionally steady and astute employees carefully choose their words. Dr. Bradberry’s article begs the question, “What are the 11 things emotionally intellegient employees say at work?” What words do they use that promote creative thinking, problem-solving, accountability, and team-building?

Below would be my suggested words to frame conversation that builds a positive perception of your attitude and behaviors and empowers the organization.

  • How could we have changed the outcome?
  • What new way can we try?
  • You’re welcome!
  • Based on…observation, data, past experiences…I found…
  • When can I get [insert number] uninterrupted minutes of your time?
  • I will.
  • How can we make him/her more successful?
  • What can I do to help?
  • I take responsibility for…
  • I can.
  • What I like about my job is…

Where do your word choices land on the continuum of powerfully engaging to poorly enacted? Many factors, including stress and cultural influence, dictated where we are on this continuum in any moment. When stress is high, the filter between thoughts and words is usually thin. Stress does not absolve us of the responsibility to choose words wisely, and awareness of the powerful effect of certain words is the first step towards better choices that will show your personal best.


Bradberry, T. (2015). Eleven things smart people won’t say.  Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/travis-bradberry/11-things-smart-people-won-t-say.html

HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.  

Reclaim Your Life by Creating Healthy Boundaries

Do you feel less joy these days? Does it feel like everyone else owns a piece of you and there is nothing left? Do you dream to have 15 minutes of uninterrupted time so you can reconnect with yourself? Is your life a harried record of accomplishments and yet never-ending to-do lists? Would your personal profile be listed in the dictionary under the word “busyness”? You may sadly chuckle and infer these questions are tongue-in-cheek, but the reality is that an answer of “yes” to any of these questions is a sobering reminder of how stressed and anxiety-ridden many are as they run, not walk, on the treadmill of American life. Unfortunately, the solution is not as easy as advertised by the late 1980’s commercial “Calgon, take me away!” in which a woman, surrounded by a chaotic home, says these four words and is then transported to a relaxing bath in a quiet room. If only the solution could be solved so simply by the purchase of a few bath products and an evening spent soaking in the tub.

What’s the solution?

The solution is within your power to implement. Personal boundaries!  They are the critical component in designing the life you want. “Boundaries provide the structure to your character that will make everything else work” (Cloud, 2008).  Boundaries affect how we relate to others, how we feel emotionally, and how we perform at work. When you understand the impact of boundaries and choose to define them for your life, you will reconnect with your identity, find more joy, and create a healthier and more satisfying life. The necessity of personal boundaries has emerged as a counter force to the crisis that has developed from an increasingly structureless society that values the integration of work-life, despite the rhetoric that we need to have more of a work-life balance. American culture and work have eroded the time and space boundaries we need to focus on the priorities we value most.

How did we get here?

So how did we get to this place of exhaustion and dissatisfaction? Work structure has changed from the typical 9 to 5 hours of operation to one in which we are to be available 24-7, where working in the evenings is just an extension of the normal work day.  Work has penetrated our home space by either design or creep. Bortolot (2015) states that the home office is now one of the most important residential amenities. Even if one can physically separate his work environment within the home, he may not be able to mentally escape work.

How many of you have tried to relax in the evening, only to feel the nag of work penetrating your thoughts? Do you compromise by opening up your laptop while watching your favorite TV sitcom? Although society praises the multi-tasker, they are usually pulled in so many directions, they struggle to enjoy anything other than the satisfaction that comes from crossing off more items on their to-do list.  Keim (2012) showed that high multi-taskers performed poorly at filtering irrelevant from relevant information, had diminished ability to mentally organize, and experienced difficulty in switching between tasks. Keim (2012) concluded if you do two things simultaneously, you will not do any of them at full capacity.

adam-valstar-DfVaTYbRCfY-unsplashAlthough our lives have all benefited from technology, the tragedy is that it has also enabled the violation of our time and space boundaries. Personal cell phones allow access to you at all times. iPhones and computers give instant access to data and connectivity to work. Email has expanded our network so strangers can now reach into our personal world. Although email was initially described as a productivity enhancement, anyone with an email address is now accessible at any time by any one.  Email and voicemail can be blessings, but without personal boundaries, you may feel email is a curse because of the pressure to respond to communication, even if unsolicited. By definition most people are losing control over their most precious resource—their time. Money can be earned, won, spent and lost, but time is a finite resource.

How do I reclaim my life?

Understand what a boundary is and what it does

A boundary is a demarcation of where you end and where someone or something else begins.  Boundaries define ownership and who controls what does and does not go on in that space.  More importantly boundaries define who is responsible for and accountable to protect that space.

Understand what boundaries provide and how they serve your needs

Boundaries provide the structure that helps to define our character and personality, because they describe who we are, what we want, and how we feel and think.  Clear boundaries provide security and benefit self and others, because they are not ambiguous, are predictable, and signal what we will and will not tolerate. They help to contain chaos, because one who is clear on boundaries will step in to make sure chaos is effectively dealt with.

Define what you feel, think, and desire

Boundaries differentiate us from others and teach us how we are unique individuals in feelings, attitudes, behaviors, limits, thoughts, and choices.  What are the things that you value most in life?  How would you ideally want to live your life?  What do you want to make a priority?  What are your vision, mission, and goals?

Identify the holes in your boundaries

Rebuilding boundaries is about reclaiming your power.  Power drains have numerous sources as described by Cloud (2008): need for security, need for approval, need to be perfect, need to have others see you as ideal, need to over-identify with other people’s problems, need to rescue, fear of being alone, fear of conflict, need for harmony, fear of differing opinions, fear of anger, fear of feeling inferior, fear of someone’s power, inability to say no, inability to hear no or accept limits, inability to tolerate failure of others, hero worship, lack of internal structure, and dependency to name a few.  You should identify the holes in your boundaries and address them.

Communicate who you are to others

Set limits consistent with your vision, mission, values, and goals and communicate them to others.  You empower others by allowing them to decide and live with the consequences defined by your boundaries.  By default, you will no longer try to control others’ decisions and actions, because you can live with the outcome of whatever decision they make. Communicating and living within your boundaries is a form of respecting others and also provides a healthy model for them to emulate.

Act on your boundaries

Live each day in accordance with your boundaries.  When you are in control of your boundaries, you become a more integrated person, gain greater respect for yourself, and become more respectful of other people’s boundaries.  Boundaries allow you to influence others’ behaviors toward you, which by default makes you feel whole and more in control.

What is the cost of boundaries?

Having boundaries comes comes with a personal cost. In order to have full control, you need to have the freedom to control those aspects of your life where you have boundaries. You can only leverage them if you are not dependent on any single person or entity for survival, because the one to whom you are dependent may decide to invoke their boundaries and put you in an untenable position. As you work on defining your personal boundaries and areas of weakness, you should also take inventory of your life to understand where you have weak capital.

Has poor financial stewardship put you in a position where you could not weather a job lose for several months should you decide to invoke your boundaries? Would a work dismissal cause you undue hardship?  If so, you may need to save for an emergency fund to build that capital. What about the young adult, still living rent-free with his parents, who does not like his imposed curfew? He is not free to come and go as he pleases as a fully functioning adult, because he may be asked to pack up his belongings and move out. His first step should be to build his financial capital so he can either re-negotiate rent for more freedom or secure other living arrangements. Before invoking boundaries, you must end any dependency and be able to live with the boundaries that any other individual may choose to impose on you.

CAUTION:  Establishing boundaries for the first time may come with some emotionally charged responses from others in your life.  You may likely find that those people who have boundaries respect you more, and those people who do not live with boundaries will resort to behaviors that will test the strength of yours.

A life coach can help you determine what is most important to you, design the life you want, and develop a specific action plan to close the gap between where you stand today and where you want to go.


Bortolot, L. (2015). Four trends in home office design. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248061

Cloud, H. (2008). The one-life solution: Reclaim your personal life while achieving greater professional success. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Keim, B. (2012).  Is multitasking bad for us? Nova Science. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/is-multitasking-bad.html

HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a life, premarital/marriage, and business coach with an extensive background in business development and leadership.  She coaches others in how to develop and execute life plans, develop successful businesses, and build better relationships by identifying and living their personal values, enhancing skills and competencies, and being held accountable for executing their defined goals.

Marriage: Uncomplicated

andy-holmes-cbe2y8SK2Xc-unsplashToday’s marriages are more complicated than ever before. A half century ago, the American marriage was simpler in its expectations and roles. It was a male-female union to which the overwhelming majority of adults committed. Divorce was not a chosen option, because it was penalized with societal ostracism. Young adults would routinely marry their high school sweethearts, or those who were university bound would marry their college steady. Marriage was the assumed relationship institution which led to the saying that girls went to college primarily to get their MRS degree—signified by a marriage proposal from a well-educated gentleman before graduation.

A successful marriage was defined by key behaviors and milestones such as a husband securing a well-paying job, buying a new family car, taking a home mortgage in the burbs, having children and grandchildren. Both husband and wife had predetermined roles to play. Husbands strived to work for the big company, measured success by promotions, brought home a paycheck to support his stay-at-home wife who cooked, tended to the children, and volunteered at the PTA. Women could be teachers and nurses but were expected to give up their careers when their first child was born.

Fast forward to today, where the definition of marriage and its gender composition have challenged the mid-twentieth century design. Marriage today is more complex and requires increased skills in communication, conflict management, and negotiation (Markman, Stanley, & Blumberg, 2010). Why? Because less is automatically assumed and accepted, and more needs to be decided.


Spouses are entering marriage with higher expectations of what marriage should be and what their partner will provide toward their happiness. Many couples expect their spouse to be both best friend and soul mate. For those couples who can successfully fulfill those roles for each other, they should consider volunteering as marriage mentors to other couples who are struggling to achieve that status.

What can couples do to improve the strength and vitality of their marriage? My initial answer would be to consider marriage coaching! Ideally a couple should seek coaching before they say, “I do,” although it is never too late to invest in your marriage. Marriage coaching can help with managing expectations as well as developing strategies for building and maintaining friendship, commitment, fun, and intimacy. Although coaching can provide tools, success will be mostly influenced by the motivation to apply them.

In my marriage coaching practice, I had several couples who came with an expectation that if they could only learn some tools and skills, their marriage would improve. What happened? One couple voluntarily dropped coaching after 3-4 sessions, because as the husband said, “Although the tools are really useful, we just aren’t committed to put them to work in our marriage.” I applauded his honest answer. If either spouse is not willing to do the hard work to achieve the vision for the marriage, success will be limited or elude them all together.

Marriage is a partnership, requiring spouses to die to their selfishness in order to uplift their spouse and marriage. As I like to ask,” What are you doing that is contributing to a marriage issue?” Many spouses are surprised by the question, and as they consider their answer, they usually come to the realization that they try to argue their position with the hope of convincing their spouse to their way of thinking.When my husband and I disagree, if I do not remind myself, we remind each other of a powerful Scripture: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye” (Matthew 7:3-5, NIV). When you take the time to think about how you contributed or are contributing to an issue, you may surprise yourself how much more humble you engage in conflict resolution.

In marriage coaching, I work with couples to develop a vision, mission, and goals for their marriage that excited them. Couples who bring optimism, a willingness to develop a plan, and commitment to take action usually see their marriages thrive. Marriage coaching holds a couple accountable to develop the goals they want to work on together and move forward. It is that simple! Although the definition of marriage has been redefined in this modern age, it does not have to be complicated. Skills, tools, and coaching can take what appears complicated and make it uncomplicated.


Markham, H., Stanley, S., & Blumberg, S. (2010). Fighting for your marriage. (3rd. ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

144-2 - CopyAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.  Contact: sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com

Live, Love, and Laugh a Lot!


They say, “Laughter is the best medicine.” I believe laughter is not only the best medicine for what ails you but is part of the required maintenance for a healthy and satisfying marriage. This concept was driven home during one of my coaching sessions, where a couple was trying to figure out whether they should take their dating relationship to the next level—engagement.  Based on their survey, they were highly compatible in their emotional intelligence, communication, conflict resolution, spiritual views, financial stewardship, and interests.  What was missing?

Although they had differences in daily lifestyle habits and personality traits, theirs was not any more divergent than most couples. Frankly, I had seen couples with greater differences that were extremely happy in their relationship. As we dug deep, trying to understand why Peggy* was hesitating when her mind could justify why they were a good fit, she blurted out that she never belly-laughed with Mark*.  Peggy loved going new places and doing fun activities with Mark, but their conversations never evoked the silliness and laughter that usually comes from experiencing life together. Peggy was known to see humor in many situations and did frequently laugh with her family and other friends. She could never figure out why she did not laugh with Mark, and disappointingly, Mark never did get to put a ring on her finger. Regardless of how compatible this couple appeared on paper, Peggy did not feel connected to her partner, and lack of laughter was a significant contributor.

Why is laughter so important in a relationship? For an individual laughter helps to release stress. People who have a sense of humor tend to have less physical ailments and find greater joy in their lives. Humor and laughter shared within a marriage helps a couple cope with daily stresses. Laughter bonds and makes a couple feel like they are in it together. When you reflect on the times your marriage was most vibrant, I bet you and your spouse were laughing a lot—seeing humor in the small situations. I pray you are and continue to be in that stage.

On a personal front, my husband represents the classic duck, where water just rolls off his back. On the other hand, I am the worrier in the couple. I convincingly tell myself, someone in the relationship needs to worry. Many times, I will be verbally expressing my worries to my husband, and when I do, he always makes me laugh. How? Because he just gives me his look and says “Hakuna matata!” I usually smile in response and continue with my rationale, and he says again, “Hakuna matata.” I then respond, “but…,” and he says again, “Hakuna matata!” I finally give up and just laugh! “Hakuna matata” is a joke that keeps us together. What stories or shared experiences keep you living, loving, and laughing together?

*Names have been changed to protect identities

144-2 - CopyAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.  Contact: sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com

How Would You Describe Your Relationship with Money?

money-mindset_OMTimes_bigstock-Young-Woman-Thinking-About-Mon-47826215How would you describe your relationship with money? Parched—never enough.  Feast and famine—sometimes abundant, sometimes starving. Smooth sailing—balanced and achieving my financial goals. What do all these answers have in common? They represent the same general responses, whether one makes $30,000/year or $300,000/year.

Unfortunately, studies show that 75% of American families are living paycheck-to-paycheck (Johnson, 2013), which leads to the assumption that if they cannot find a balanced way to live on $30,000, they likely do not have the discipline and budgeting skills to live on more. As I have lived at those two household income extremes at one point over my lifetime, I believe your ability to live within your means, save for a future, and live generously is based on your relationship with money and your money mindset.

Except for material poverty, where one struggles to cover such basic necessities as food, shelter, and medical, more money does not equate with more happiness, because happiness is independent of how much you make. As a coach, I often hear comments from clients that “life would be so much easier,” that they “would be happier,” and “life would be less stressful,” if they had more money. Short (2014) studied the influence of money on happiness and found that a national average of $75,000 of household (not individual) income was the break point, where additional money did not improve happiness.

So if more money does not bring greater happiness and life satisfaction, what does? What can one do about it? One of the more interesting exercises a person can take is the Prepare and Enrich Program’s “Meaning of Money,” where a series of questions reveal whether a person’s drivers of money are to facilitate control, achieve higher status, live greater enjoyment, or increase security. Extremes in these areas may suggest an unhealthy relationship with money. For example, someone who has an extreme need of security may tend to save to the point of hoarding money and not utilizing money for self and others. An extreme need to grow status may manifest itself in overspending to accumulate designer clothes or cars to feed society’s messaging on self-worth to the detriment basic needs. Many of these extreme behaviors leave people feeling empty and a sense that no amount of money will be enough.

What does a healthy relationship with money look like? Perhaps you might say: (1) not taking on debt that interferes with saving  or (2) achieving a balanced ratio of giving and living. Money is an important tool, yet like sex, it can be emotionally charged and difficult to discuss. Our views and comfort in discussing money start in our childhood home. Whether spoken or not, our parents impressed upon us and taught us their meaning of money, which influenced our worldview and relationship with money.

As a professional coach, I work with clients so they can understand their money worldview and underlying beliefs that drive their behaviors. When clients are more self-aware, they can decide what changes they want to make to align with their chosen plan. Many people decide they want to live more generously, which means living in more financial freedom.

Hewitt and Moline (2015) offer a free online assessment so you can receive your own personalized. You can even see how you rate against the United States average along four dimensions. The dimensions measured are: (1) I long for security vs. I live in freedom, (2) I long for independence vs. I live in community, (3) I long for more vs. I live in contentment, and (4) I long for success vs. I live in calling. Based on your answers, perhaps you will choose to partner with a life coach, so you can begin a journey to move your mindset and behaviors further toward the side of the continuum of your choice.


Hewitt, B., & Molein, J. (2015).  Your new money mindset: Create a healthy relationship with money.  United States: Tyndale House Publishers.

Johnson, A. (2013). Seventy-fix percent of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/24/pf/emergency-savings/index.html

Short, K. (2014). Here is the income level at which money won’t make you any happier in each state. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/map-happiness-benchmark_n_5592194.html

144-2 - CopyAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.

What’s the Shape of Your Wheel of Life?

Wheel of LifeWhen people engage a life coach, some already have a clear understanding of what they want to be coached on; whereas, others need some help on where they should start. For those who need help, a common initial exercise is the Wheel of Life, where clients rate between 1 and 10 how satisfied they are with each dimension of their lives. These dimensions can include career, finances, health, social, family, romance/marriage, recreation, community, personal growth, spirituality, and more. When the dots are connected, the circle becomes a bit lopsided, and a picture starts to emerge. What areas are more deflated than the others? Should we begin there?

Although the assessment may point out weak areas, the client always has the choice in where the coaching relationship begins and ends. Regardless of where a client chooses to start, the assessment provides the stimulus for rich discussion in what a client may be struggling and how other life areas may be impacting the lowest scores. s family life affecting your health? Are problems with your marriage manifesting themselves in your work performance or vice versa? You and your coach can explore your Wheel of Life and then you can decide where you want to go from there.

144-2 - CopyAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.

Your Answer to “What is Life Coaching?”

act-accordinglyMany people ask, “What is life coaching?” In the simplest terms, “Getting results!” A coach’s role is to help you assess what is going well in your life, decide what you want to change, and hold you accountable in achieving your defined goals. Financial well-being, relationships, work, parenting, spirituality, and marriage health are examples of life areas you may desire change. Everyone can benefit from a life coach, who can provide the needed structure, space, and time to figure out a life vision, direction, and goals to move toward that vision. A coach will also challenge your preconceived assumptions and help you navigate around roadblocks. A coach can make a difference in your thinking, beliefs, decisions, actions and ultimately your whole life.

Coaching Scenarios

Some clients enter a life coaching partnership clear on what goal(s) they want to achieve; whereas, others come to coaching with general discontent and indecision on how to move forward with their lives. A coach has the tools to help a client where s/he stands on the continuum of life satisfaction. Common issues that bring people to life coaching include:

  • My spouse and I are not getting along as well as we have in the past. We’re in a rut and need help getting back on track.
  • I’m a married wife and mother who is getting a divorce and need help transitioning to my role as a single working mother.
  • I’ve been unhappy in my job for years and need a change but am unsure whether my unhappiness is with my specific job, my career, or my company.
  • I’m stressed about not having a work-life balance.
  • I’m a recent empty-nester and do not know what to do next with my life now that my children don’t need me on a daily basis.
  • I’m a freshman in college with an undecided major and need to decide on my major and career direction.
  • I’ve been dating a woman for two years and getting pressured for a proposal. I don’t know whether she is the right one or if I want to get married.
  • How can I be a better leader for my family and the people I supervise at work?

What do these situations all have in common? Each person is struggling with a difficult situation or decision. A life coach can help one navigate through the decision-making and goal-setting process that results in greater empowerment and success.

Coaching Process

Although each client’s situation is unique, I typically take a client through all or a portion of the following:

  • Assess on a scale of 1-10 your satisfaction in several life dimensions
  • Discuss past and current background content relevant to focus areas
  • Suggest various exercises to discover strengths and weaknesses
  • Define a vision for your life and select specific areas of growth
  • Identify and define future goals that will move towards that vision
  • Brainstorm ways to achieve goals
  • Narrow solutions
  • Develop SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Aspirational and Agreed, Realistic/ Relevant and Time-bound)
  • Monitor and overcome obstacles in achieving goals
  • Provide accountability
  • Celebrate successes

Coaching Session

Coaches and clients are equal partners, who co-construct the coaching relationship through vulnerable and empowering conversation. Coaches can administer written assessments, sometimes suggest, and lead with challenging and powerful questions, so clients can then decide on specific plans to achieve their defined goals. Coaching is grounded in the present with a focus toward the future, enabling people to move from where they stand to a position of where they want to be.

In addition to the time spent in session, coaches typically provide written exercises, document action plans, and follow-up with their clients between sessions. Coaching can be done over the phone, via Skype, and face-to-face.  Coaching is for anyone who strives to be a better version of themselves in any area of life, and successful coaching is measured solely by the client achieving results. Everyone can benefit from having a coach, so let us further the conversation and find out how I may help you.

144-2 - CopyAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.

Work Life: Where Are The Investment Dollars Going?

Factory of futureAbout 10 years ago, I first heard a vision for the future factory which required only two employees: a man and a dog. When my boss first shared this vision tongue-in-cheek, I thought it was absurd, but perhaps this vision is not as far-fetched than I first thought. Why? Because Korn Ferry (2016) has exposed the blind spot of most CEOs who value technology over human capital despite the overwhelming evidence that human capital creates the most value in organizations. Shockingly, almost half of the leaders in large global businesses believe that the predominance of automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics will make employees “largely irrelevant” in future work (Korn Ferry, 2016).

Korn Ferry (2016) also found that CEOs did not even rank human capital/employees in the top five most valuable assets now or in the next five years.  Korn Ferry (2017) asked CEOs what they thought today’s candidates were looking for in an employer. They believe company culture is what attracts talent, but in five years, these same CEOs believe flexible working (remote, cloud offices, flex time) will move from its sixth-place position to overtake company culture. Can there be a connection between a company’s drive for technology and its difficulty in finding and meeting the demands of the right talent? Does one cause changes in the other or are both shaping each other?

As a coach and consultant who sees the emphasis that CEOs and their companies’ Board of Directors are putting on technology at the expense of human capital makes me question their leadership decisions.If CEOs continue with a technology-obsessed worldview that employees are bottom-line costs and not top-line value generators (Korn Ferry, 2017), they will continue to drive on technology as a means of replacing employees. How far could that go? No one will know until we get there. Technology is and will continue to be a core focus of the collective vision in the highest performing organizations (Korn Ferry, 2017). Although technology has replaced manual labor with automation to gain processing efficiencies, today, technology is shaking the foundation of the shared belief that work provides human dignity and that humans were designed for work.

What is my forecast for the future? Although history has shown humans adapt to their environment, an extreme condition may result in push back. I believe there will be a softening on the drive for technology in certain life areas, and the question becomes which companies will respond. Technology is here, forever, and will continue to strengthen, but as been historically true there are cycles and coming of full circles. Humans were built for connection, and we move back and forth along a continuum of connectedness with one another throughout our lives.

Over the last several decades, technology has widened our connectedness at the expense of its depth. You may not remember the names of your neighbors two doors down, but you have thousands of Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections. I believe there comes a point in a person’s life when s/he says, “this isn’t working for me anymore.” When they finally ask themselves that question, I believe they will put technology in its proper place and structure their lives with more personal connection. They will demand more services where they interact with people and not technology. They will choose employers who value human capital and who tap into their employees’ creativity. When this will occur?  Your guess would be as good as mine. In our capitalist society, a need does not go unfulfilled for long. I would expect small and medium sized businesses to flourish as they hire employees to directly service their customers.

What I do know is that people are personally struggling in this new era of technology.  They are trying to find purpose and fulfillment not just in their work but also personal lives. Many feel they are on a treadmill, expending energy, but not going anywhere.  Many do not have a vision or have articulated a dream for their lives. I do believe personal coaches will play an integral part in the work and personal landscape of people who have a desire for something more.


Korn Ferry Institute. (2016). The trilling-dollar difference: Retrieved from  https://www.kornferry.com/institute/the-trillion-dollar-difference

Korn Ferry Institute. (2017). The talent forecast, part 1: Adapting today’s candidate priorities for tomorrow’s organizational success. Retrieved from  http://www.kornferry.com/the-talent-forecast/the-talent-forecast

HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.  Contact: sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com