ICMA (International City/County Management Association) deploys Coach Connect, a Turazo solution, to to facilitate ICMA members finding coaches to assist with career development.
Michael Colella, Customer Success at Turazo, spoke with Curtis Brown, Neighborhood Program Specialist for the city of Columbus, Ohio, about his experience using Coach Connect. Curtis is one of the most active mentees on the ICMA-Turazo platform.
ICMA is the leading organization of local government professionals dedicated to creating and sustaining thriving communities throughout the world.
Why did you seek out Coach Connect? What’s been your experience?
After joining ICMA I started looking at how I could begin connecting with people and resources to further my career and learn more about local government management. At first I didn't believe Coach Connect was a service that could be utilized by someone in the early stage of their career. It was a free service with industry leaders, where you simply schedule time to speak with them and ask questions. I feel incredibly lucky to have found this resource.
I’ve used it consistently since then and connect with three coaches regularly. They’ve helped me with career decisions, and so much more. I can take a call from my home, or away from home if I'm traveling. The invitation synchs with my calendar, which seems like a small thing but the ease of use is huge. It’s a fantastic program.
You set up some long-term coaching relationships, and our technology it typically used for initial conversations. How do you navigate moving from one to the other?
We have our session, and if it’s a good match we exchange numbers and I ask if we could meet a few weeks out. Then I take charge of the scheduling. It happens naturally.
What’s your style or method of finding coaches?
I check every few months for newly added coaches. It’s important to know their relevant experience maybe even with a non-local government organization or a private company. Because I want to ask them very specific questions. It’s empowering.
Awesome. Everyone has a different approach.
I look forward to knowing if someone is fairly new so I can ask them about their journey. For people who have been in local government for several years, I ask what steps I should take to be a leader they would hire. The near-peer questions I ask are different from questions for an industry expert. If someone is more seasoned, I ask about trends they are seeing. They might share that I don't have to take a traditional path like they did, that there are a lot of generalists who know about finance, development, refugees – or 10 other little things. I’ll ask a seasoned employee what would help them hire me if my resume came in front of them.
That approach is really powerful and insightful. You're learning from each other versus talking to the decision maker who's been there for a long time.
I had a coaching conversation prior to a big conference, and they made sure I met some other attendees. We made a connection, that we’re in this together.
What’s the most surprising thing you've learned or the most impactful experience you've had on the network?
I learned about the Local Government Management Fellowship by having a conversation with a coach, as well as how to continue building my resume. The advice and mentorship I have received through Coach Connect has been invaluable to me.