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An Interview with Career Coach Misty Loetterle


Misty Loetterle is a career coach with the Goldman School's recently launched Master of Public Affairs degree program. Below, she discusses what ignited her interest in career coaching and what are great questions for mid-career folks to be asking.

What got you interested in career coaching in the first place? What opportunity did you see for this type of role?

My entire career has been focused on recruitment and talent development, but it wasn't until I was a manager that I realized how much I enjoyed coaching. I had been doing it informally all along, I suppose, but then discovered it was a profession and I knew that is exactly how I wanted to support people.

You are working with Goldman's new Master of Public Affairs program, which draws mid-career professionals from all types of backgrounds. What kinds of goals and questions are drawing folks to the MPA?

The MPAs are unique students. Many of them have families. They've experienced great success in their careers and are now looking for more meaning from their work. They've tried jobs on for size and have played diverse roles. Now they are poised to align their careers with their passion, values, and lifestyle. Many of the MPAs are making a transition from one sector or industry to another and want to be able to leverage all of the great experience and integrate their MPA education, so they can continue in an upward trajectory.  

How do you help MPAs explore their career options?

I practice Positive Psychology Coaching, which means I work with students from a strengths perspective. This type of coaching encourages creativity, curiosity, and looking at the circumstances in which each of them will have the greatest chance of happiness and success. Together, we identify what they do best, what motivates and energizes them, the kind of work environment they thrive in, their leadership style, and how they want to contribute in their work. We also explore the fear and uncertainty that accompanies navigating a career transition. Students experience increased confidence and a strengthened belief that they can integrate their prior work experience with their current career goals to continue on an upward spiral. Once they have clarity on these things, we work together to frame how they'll communicate their passion and strengths to employers and networking contacts, so they make a memorable impression.  

What are three things people in a similar career stage could/should be thinking about as they look ahead?

1. Make it a point to check-in with yourself periodically to assess how you are feeling about your work. Good questions to ask:

  • What percentage of time am I working on projects and tasks that motivate me and give me energy?
  • What percentage of time am I working on projects or tasks that drain my energy or give me stress?
  • Does my work bring me joy? Most of us have moments of being unhappy at work and that is normal, but if you wake up in the morning dreading going to work day after day, that is a sign that you are likely not using your strengths on a regular basis and/or the organization you work for doesn't align with your values. 

2. Remembering that it's never too late and fear is normal - fear is our way of telling ourselves, "This is really important to me." In my private practice, I work with leaders and I'm always surprised that they have the fear of taking the leap and pursuing what makes them happy. It's truly never too late!

3. Give yourself the permission and space to explore what other possibilities may be out there for you. You can do this with a coach, a trusted friend or family, and/or through self-work. 

When you are not at GSPP, how do you like to spend your time?

When I'm not at GSPP, I'm traveling around the Bay Area working with organizational clients on how to bring their best selves to work. On my off days, you'll find me hiking, in a dance class, reading, or spending time with my friends and family.