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  • Writer's pictureSherry

Meet Jeanne Schad – Coach & Leader

Sherry Benjamins: What led you to the work of coaching others?

Jeanne Schad: Most coaches will tell you the same thing – I was always a coach, even before formal training. I am part of the third generation of entrepreneurs and my parents started two businesses when I was a child. I was always surrounded by a sense of possibility and innovation along with a responsibility to give back to the community. Even early in my career, I followed great leadership and strived to be a good leader. Then I had a personal experience that was difficult, but it led me to change my career.

Back in the early 2000s, I was working in the advertising industry. I had a completely different experience working for two different managers of the same organization that eventually resulted in my departure from the company. It led me to a deeper exploration into the culture of management and teams. I realized that culture can be influenced and determined by who you work for.

At that point, I decided to change my career, which I did over the next few years. I signed up for a coach training program and began to network in HR and OD circles. In 2008, I launched a coaching business and eventually joined up with a career services firm selling coaching services at scale. I thrived in helping companies look at their talent and how to engage them in new ways. Now I apply my coaching skills in my leadership role and in helping companies bring career coaching throughout their organizations to engage and retain their people.

SB: From your experience, how do the best leaders shift from reactive to being present and fully engaged and centered?

JS: It comes down to agility and resilience to change. Those companies that are built for change and staffed by leaders who are welcoming change are going to be better off than those trying to defend an old business model. I believe that even in high speed change environments, agility is a learned skill and can be taught. What is interesting about the pace of change is that recent Bersin research states that job security is still a top priority and job loss anxiety is up. As an individual if you can continuously learn and skill up, you can become your own safety net. You are better equipped to handle your own security. For HR leaders, they can shift the power to the individual to own their own career by supplying them tools to learn. We don’t learn this in school – college might prepare you for the first job but not the second or third one.

SB: How have you helped others “deepen their impact” given the intense pace of change you are referring to?

JS: As an organization, Randstad RiseSmart is helping other companies create an atmosphere of talent mobility. What I mean by that is a company that allows people to move from role to role and apply new or expanding skill sets. We focus on three things; providing the organization with the ability to learn, the time to learn and the tools to learn. That way people have ownership of their career path. It’s certainly a hot topic of discussion now and I am hopeful that companies are understanding the value of knowing and developing their own people. We see that fairly traditional companies are talking about how they are making change and adapt their culture around innovation.

SB: Who are the role models for leading in the future?

JS: The companies that I am intrigued by are those who are hyper-focused on the employee experience. I pay attention especially to those who make it on the best places to work list; they are places we should look at and learn from. Getting on the lists and staying on these lists is difficult. I recognize that is a lot of work yet it pays off. Reaching that higher bar and continuing to up the game in talent means a lot to those who work for you or aspire to work for you.

SB: What have you learned about yourself in your career journey?

JS: I have learned what to say yes to and what to say no to and where my contribution can best be made. I have learned how to surround myself with people that have complementary skill sets. I find experiences that build on my strengths. I also do my best work when I am on a team that is energized with a future vision. I am more about creating future. I am fortunate to have a boss now that provides an overall destination with the help of the team and allows flexibility in getting there.

SB: What is your advice to business, HR and talent leaders?

JS: I suggest that you not waste time trying to convince leadership of their growing and changing talent needs. Instead I recommend you place your energy into working with leaders who know change is the new normal. Seek to understand them and recognize their signs of readiness for change in various parts of the organization.

Thank you Jeanne!

I appreciate you bringing such a refreshing and honest perspective to the business of careers. You have not only experienced the richness of varying cultures, structures, roles and leaders but you have built business, reinvented yourself, and successfully led your own business ventures. We can all learn from you Jeanne. You have expressed the importance of shifting from reacting to leaning in while also looking at the future. This is a capability that seems so valuable in a disruptive changing world.

In Conclusion...

After our call, I ordered and began reading Pamela McLean’s book on Self as Coach and so appreciate her message and yours that the best coaches and leaders today are agile, responsive and adaptable.

Check out Jeanne’s current organization and their real experiences in moving talent and business forward. If you want to connect to Jeanne Schad feel free to write her at

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