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Getting unstuck: Coaching that centres confidence with ZJ Hadley

May 10, 2024
Jenna Aquino

A lot of us are on a lifelong journey to develop more confidence. We care deeply about developing the courage to stretch ourselves in the directions we’re called to, and find resilience when we fail.

And lucky for us, Executive Coach and Advisor ZJ Hadley generously shares her unique expertise on this subject to the community on the regular as one of our career coaches.

ZJ is a person you’d want by your side when you’re facing reality head on. She’s a pro at helping people confront the hard truths about where they’re giving their power away and how they can take it back—applying it instead to the goal they want to achieve.

Suffice to say, she adds a certain je ne sais quoi to our Career Accelerator program—a space that houses our ever-expanding collection of resources and education, in addition to support from our three uniquely talented coaches.

“I have a less structured approach [to coaching] … as I mature in my career and do more and more of this work, I’ve started to see that I really want everyone to learn about a few key things. 

  1. Confidence
  2. How bias can be affecting them at work
  3. The language they use

Beyond that, I let my clients lead us through the work they want to be doing.

I work one-on-one with people to really address what they are bringing into the room at that time to help them move forward. It seems really effective to me to get there organically the way that person wants—they’re in the driver’s seat.”

Folks that work with ZJ walk away having experienced breakthroughs and equipped with the tools they need to gain new momentum in the places they’ve hit a proverbial wall. She knows what it’s like to shift careers, take risks, raise your voice. 

Today, she’s a Fractional HR professional working with a bunch of successful companies. That’s not to say she hasn’t navigated a lot of twists and turns in her own career. She actually started in theatre as a Stage Manager and moved on to work as a local distributor in the music industry, prior to her shift into tech and consulting. 

From there, she’s journeyed through a dynamic professional background not only in HR, but also across operations, finance, learning and development, diversity equity and inclusion, and more. She’s seen (and felt) a lot.

The work that I want to help people with, especially career seekers, is around reframing how they look at failure. To acknowledge how stressful and full of rejection job hunting can be. That it feels bad not because you're bad, but because the system is bad. 

We're all working within this flawed system that the people who are in power who want to stay in power have designed, and it's nobody's fault, but it sucks. 

And I think just having a partner to help you navigate how much it sucks can be really impactful.”

ZJ is the person to go to for help identifying your skills and building your confidence so that you can articulate them and pitch yourself. She’ll call you out if you’re short changing yourself and she’ll always tell you like it is.

“People tell me that I’m real and genuine. Working with me can be pretty intense as any sort of reflection and change can be and I don’t pretend it’s not going to be. If you’re in a place where you’re ready to confront things and get unstuck, and you want a partner in that, that’s where I really shine. I show up [for my clients] in the way that they need to be shown up for.”

I asked ZJ what she’s most excited about bringing to the Growclass community through the Career Accelerator especially. 

“I love answering this because one of the things I’m bringing to the career accelerator is helping people rethink how they look at networking. I strongly believe we should only network with people who we think are cool and make our lives better. It shouldn’t feel like a slog. 

I think Sarah and I are a great example of that. We met maybe 7 years ago through some mutual contacts. We kept in touch because she’s doing cool stuff and she presumably thinks I’m doing cool stuff. Then next thing you know, she has an opportunity to bring on someone cool and taps me on the shoulder. 

That’s the enthusiasm I want from the kind of people I’m adding to my network.”

ZJ also has a ton of advice for folks interviewing for more senior positions with directors and C-Suite executives, which for a lot of people, is a huge part of levelling up in their career. 

And for those who might not know—if you’re a Growclass student from any of our 2024 cohorts, you have access to two coaching sessions with ZJ, EMW, or Gloria through the Career Accelerator included in your membership. You’ll want to take advantage of those.

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