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BY petevanepps

Do You Need a Military-to-Business Coach?

If you’re considering a transition to business, this is a great question to ponder. “Do you need a military-to-business coach?” The dictionary defines the word coach as a person who teaches, trains or instructs others to a level of proficiency, if not experience. In a sports context, the answer to the question is obvious. I can remember some of the most influential people in my life guiding me to make a tackle, throw a ball or work through different schemes of the opponent to win the game. In sports, the coach is instrumental in training and instructing athletes to win.

It’s easy for many of us to connect to having a coach. Whether it was Friday Night Lights or Saturday Morning Soccer (aka “orange slice soccer”), we have either been a part of a team or followed a team and watched how the coach shaped and molded his or her team to victory. What about other contexts and other scenarios? Could Obi Wan Kenobi be considered a coach to Luke Skywalker? Gandolf to Harry Potter? And Mr. Miagi to Daniel Larusso? Well, we apply our definition – a person who teaches, trains or instructs others to a level of proficiency, if not expertise, then I would say YES, of course, Obi Wan, Gandalf and Mr. Miagi could be considered coaches.

Given those examples, lets answer the question “Do You Need a Military-to-Business Coach?”

The reason I think the question is pertinent is that I often speak to military officers considering getting out of the military to make the move to corporate America. One of the first questions I typically ask as I am exploring an officer’s plans and goals is how they plan to prepare to maximize their opportunity. I often hear things like earning certifications, conducting information interviews with people in business or watching YouTube videos on how to interview. All of those things can be valuable, but if you asked Daniel Larusso (the Karate Kid) to watch YouTube videos on how to beat Johnny Lawrence at the All-Valley Karate Championship, I think he’d be overmatched and in a bit of trouble. No, Daniel needed a coach.

After watching thousands of officers prepare to make the move from the military to the business world, I can say, without a doubt, that the answer is “Yes.” It is most beneficial to have a coach by your side.

Some would argue the opposite. They may say, “I can find a job on my own – I don’t need a coach.” To that, I would agree. Most military officers, without any assistance, could find a job, but finding a job is a low bar. We are talking about way more than finding a job. We are talking about interviewing with industry-leading companies by hiring managers and decision-makers who are representing open positions. These positions are set up for higher-level leadership roles in the organization and these hiring managers almost exclusively hire industry-experienced business professionals. I look at it this way – did Tiger Woods need Butch Harmon or Hank Haney to win golf tournaments. Of course not! He was a phenom. He was natural, BUT Butch and Hank watched Tiger with a critical eye and they made Tiger better. They were able to make micro-adjustments along the way that helped Tiger win a jaw-dropping 15 majors and a total of 82 golf tournaments. Tiger knew he was good. He also knew that a coach would make him much, much better.

At Cameron-Brooks, we have coached thousands of officers through the transition. We have a 50-year track record of helping military officers create a step-by-step plan to learn about their options, connect their military experiences directly to opportunities in corporate America, craft a resume that will stand out to hiring managers and ultimately launch a successful business career. Heck, it’s even my title at Cameron-Brooks: Transition Coach. If you are interested in learning about a plan and strategy that you can employ to maximize your transition, call me – I’ll help.



Pete Van Epps