Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work
Halimah Bellows has been a Pacific Northwest and California-based career counselor/coach for more than 20 years, she holds an MA in English Language Teaching, an MS in Counseling Psychology and received training at The Coaches Training Institute. She is also a seasoned workshop presenter and radio guest. We have conducted an interview with her.
What do you aim to achieve with your new book "Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work"?
My intention is to provide a comprehensive career development book for the 21st century to address the critical concerns of our time—the workers who are victims of downsizing and outsourcing, the “boomers” who are at retirement age but cannot afford to retire and the recent college graduates who are faced with an avalanche of confusing information and are clueless about how to pursue an appropriate career path.
What is unique about the perspective offered by “Champion Your Career?”
“Champion Your Career” is unusual in that it combines career counseling with career coaching. By asking the appropriate questions, “Champion Your Career” not only gives the reader the theory behind choosing a career that's right for an individual, but offers practical exercises, resources, and powerful questions so that the reader can then become his or her own career champion. The other books that are in the market now offer career choice theory with self-assessment exercises, but without the coaching structure and support that moves readers to active decision-making within the process of becoming their own career champion.
How long did you take to write this book?
The book in its current form was developed over a three-year period. Much of the material came from a radio interview show that I had done earlier, based on my twenty years of experience as a career coach. I was given the rights to the tapes from the show, and, with the help of my developmental editor, I turned the interviews into prose and added updated information, resources and social media platforms.
To whom do you recommend this book?
The book is designed to be adapted for use in multiple settings. It can be an accompanying text for a college career and life-planning course. It can be used in midlife by those who want to change careers but don’t know what direction to take. At the same time, retirees seeking post-retirement careers can use this book along with financial and other post-retirement planning materials.
What are the benefits of this book?
This book provides readers with the tools for exploring and assessing their values, passions, strengths and skills in order to pursue a career path that will lead to a life of fulfillment. Career development is a process. Once the readers learn this, they can strategically apply the process at any point in their working lives. Additionally, the book provides up-to-the-minute resources for exploring today’s job market.
What are your background and credentials?
After completing my undergraduate studies in Social Science and English at New York University, I earned an MA in English Language Teaching at the University of Exeter in England and then taught English as a Second Language in England and Indonesia. Returning to the United States, I earned my MS in Counseling Psychology at San Francisco State University and received intensive Certified Coach Training at The Coaches Training Institute in San Rafael, California and Retirement Options in St. Louis, Missouri to become a Certified Retirement and Professional Coach. Additionally, I have obtained graduate certificates in Training Systems Development and Educational Drama. I hold Washington and California Community College Teaching and Counseling Credentials and am a Certified Dependable Strengths Articulation Process Facilitator. I recently served on the executive board of the Puget Sound Career Development Association.
How has your direct experience in working with your clients influenced your approach to writing?
I know that the key to quickly gaining insight and taking action toward right livelihood has to do with the art of asking the right questions and providing guidance about how to uncover what is important and true for each reader's personal career quest. I wanted to present the material in a personal, easy-to-read style with humor to make it accessible to anyone pursuing a new career path. I have designed “Champion Your Career” as self-paced career development workshop in book format. I offer specific concrete action steps illustrated by the career success stories that are sprinkled throughout the book.
How important is the ability to listen non-judgmentally to people?
In any counseling profession, the ability to listen non-judgmentally is critical. Talking with a non-judgmental listener enables people to examine their own ideas with greater clarity, discarding judgments that have been imposed on them by others in the past and arriving at solutions that truly work for them in their lives.
How has this helped you in your career building?
At an early age I became aware of my natural ability to listen to people non-judgmentally as well as my desire to be of service to others. In my life as an educator, a career counselor and a coach, I have been able to marry my fascination with people’s stories with my deep interest in the world of work.
What other kind of coaching services do you provide?
In addition to career coaching, I offer a number of other coaching services. With Personal Coaching, I work with the client as a private navigator for his or her life journey. With Retirement Coaching, I help individuals plan for a vibrant and enriching retirement life after full-time employment. For couples, I offer Couples Coaching to provide the tools for creating a satisfying and enduring partner relationship that enriches and enlivens friendship, reduces stress, increases peace of mind, deepens commitment, and improves quality of life. In the business world, I offer Relationship Systems Coaching, which is the process of working with partnerships and/or teams in a business or non-profit setting in order to help the organization members interact more effectively and profitably and with a higher level of satisfaction. I also offer Small Business Coaching and Consulting to help businesses promote continuous growth and strength by clarifying goals, creating a strategy for completing those goals, and building a support framework to keep the business moving forward. And I offer Business Partnership Coaching, which allows partners to consciously and intentionally create a partnership that can be the cornerstone of business success.
How has your personal philosophy about career development inspired your writing?
I am passionate in my belief that fulfillment from making the right career choice is imperative to achieving a life well-lived. Most working adults spend one third of their days in the workplace. Being in a rewarding career and a healthy work environment has a ripple affect throughout their personal and interpersonal lives.