Kathy Caprino on Her Success as a Career Growth Coach

Kathy Caprino on Her Success as a Career Growth Coach

Interview by Maja SkokleskaMaja Skokleska
Published: March 07, 2023
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Who Is Kathy Caprino

Kathy Caprino, M.A. is an international career and leadership coach, writer, speaker and executive trainer helping professional women rise, thrive and reach their highest, most rewarding potential. A former corporate VP, she is also a trained therapist, seasoned executive coach, Senior Forbes contributor, top media source on women’s issues, and the author of two books including her latest, The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss.

Running my own coaching business has been one of the most rewarding (and stretching) experiences of my life.
Kathy Caprino

Lucky are those who bravely follow their dreams and end up doing what they love. However, not everyone is confident enough and has the power to take action and reach their career objectives. Many even struggle to make a small change, escaping from workplaces where they don’t feel meaningful while sacrificing their wellness.

That was the case with Kathy Caprino, a career and leadership coach with international success who enjoys helping people, particularly women, succeed in their professional lives.

Intrigued by her courage, in this interview we speak with Kathy to hear her story and how what she does helps individuals reach a higher level of career success, leadership and impact.

Spotlight: Tell us about your early career beginnings and what it took to rise to a VP position.

Kathy Caprino: I always loved writing and ideas, and I studied English Literature as well as psychology in my undergraduate studies. I started my career at age 22 in publishing and rose to the level of Marketing Manager, overseeing marketing initiatives for books and periodicals at a number of renowned national and international publishing companies. I then moved to working at a well-respected book club organization, overseeing market research to support the development of new products and services.

From there, I moved to a different company, to serve as a VP overseeing Product Management of a number of business units, at a national marketing organization that offered travel, auto and entertainment programs offering customers special benefits and services in those areas.

Looking back on those 18 years in corporate life, I’d say that rising to the level of VP took commitment, dedication, a keen interest in learning and growing beyond my current sphere and level, and also utilizing some of the natural talents and skills I had developed throughout my life, including strong communication, relationship-building, strategic thinking, problem-solving, mediation, research skills, and organizational and managerial ability.

What was the turning point that brought about your career switch after spending 18 years in corporate life?

In the days following the tragedies of 9/11, I was laid off in a way that was brutal to my self-esteem, and it was a culmination of several years of numerous crises, including sexual harassment, gender bias and discrimination, chronic illness, zero work-life balance, toxic colleagues, and narcissistic bosses. And worse than all of that was waking up every day asking myself “Is this really what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life?” because I felt that the work I was focused on didn’t have any true meaning or purpose for me, nor did it offer what I felt was contributive value to the world at large.

So I said, “Enough!” and through a series of life-changing events, I earned a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, and became a therapist. Then launched my business focusing on career growth services for professional women. I’ve never looked back. Running my own coaching business has been one of the most rewarding (and stretching) experiences of my life.

Based on your experience as a career growth coach, what are the major challenges women face today in their professions?

My latest book, The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss details my research over the past 10 years in working with thousands of professional women across six continents, and shares what I’ve found to be the 7 most damaging power gaps that negatively impact a staggering 98% of professional women today. And 75% of women I’ve studied are facing at least three of these gaps at the same time.

When we have these power and confidence gaps, we simply cannot thrive and succeed to the fullest degree or reach our happiest and most rewarding goals. And there will be a lot more conflict, struggle and pain in the process of trying to achieve our goals.

In my research, I’ve seen that thousands (even millions) of women are missing both the bravery to take full accountability to change what isn’t working in their lives, but also their lacking the power – both internal power and access to external power -- to make the changes they long to.

And this lack of power and confidence takes the form of the seven specific power gaps.

They are:

#1: Not Recognizing Your Special Talents, Abilities and Accomplishments (63% of women studied have this gap)

What those who have this gap often think:

“I have no idea how or if I’m special, unique or talented. I don’t think I have any special abilities.”

#2: Communicating from Fear Not Strength (70% have this gap)

What those who have this gap often think:

“I can’t speak up confidently or with authority.”

#3: Reluctance to Ask For What You Deserve (77% have this gap)

What those who have this gap often think:

“I’m not sure I deserve more and even if I do, I don’t know how to ask for what I want.”

#4: Isolating From Influential Support (71% have this gap)

What those who have this gap often think:

“I hate networking and I’m reluctant to connect with people I don’t know who might be able to help me.”

#5: Acquiescing Instead of Saying “STOP!” (48% have this gap)

What those who have this gap often think:

“I’m afraid to challenge the unfair behavior I’m facing and all the mistreatment I’m seeing around me towards other women.”

#6: Losing Sight of Your Thrilling Dream (76% have this gap)

What those who have this gap often think:

“The big dream for my life that I used to have is gone. I have no idea what I want to do for a career or how I would even get there given the challenges I’m facing. I’m just not meant to have an amazing career.”

#7: Allowing The Past To Continue to Shape and Define You (62% have this gap)

What those who have this gap often think:

“I’m really hurt by what’s happened to me in the past and I can’t seem to put it behind me or get over it.”

What advice would you give those who are not truly satisfied with where they stand professionally but are afraid to get out of their comfort zone and take the first steps toward their dream job?

First, read The Most Powerful You. It will help you make transformative change. And that change starts by taking empowered action unlike what you’ve ever done before.

I’ve learned that insight alone doesn’t change our lives – it's an empowered action where you start doing what you’ve been previously afraid to do and say – that will change your life. And it’s critical to get some outside help (a coach, mentor, coaching buddy, etc.) who can help you believe in your ultimate vision of your life “before it’s hatched” and will help you remain true to who you really are, what you authentically want and who you believe you can be.

Your work in career growth, leadership, mental health, productivity and women's issues has been featured in over 200 leading newspapers. What's the secret to this success?

The short answer is that I’ve dedicated a good part of my life to women’s professional growth, and have written two books about it (Breakdown Breakthrough and The Most Powerful You) as well as written over 1,000 articles on my Forbes.com blog “Career Bliss” and my own blog. I’ve also interviewed hundreds of the nation’s top experts in fields essential to professional success. From all this, I’ve created some very effective resources, tools, and programs that move people forward fast.

The media often reaches out when there’s a new trend in the workplace or business world that they’re hoping to learn more about from someone who has insight on those shifts or trends they’re seeing. I’m very grateful that some top media outlets view me as a relied-upon source for helpful information.

You host the Finding Brave podcast which has achieved huge success. What is the primary reason for its launch and how do you pick your guests?

When I launched my podcast Finding Brave, I had a deep desire to connect with -- and learn from -- true movers and shakers and thought leaders around the world -- including bestselling authors, business leaders, Pulitzer prize winners, entrepreneurial gurus, creatives, teachers, researchers, and others who were making a positive impact in the world of business, leadership, career growth, personal development and more.

My hope was to share their insights with a growing community of our listeners who are excited about the idea of “finding brave” in their own lives and work, and who welcome fresh ideas and insights that could expand their own success, fulfillment and reward.

I select guests whose programs, materials and thought leadership (books, TV shows, podcasts, writing, etc.) offer ideas and strategies that I believe will inform, uplift and inspire my community and audience to make the changes they long for in life to achieve their ultimate goals for success and happiness.

You are currently offering three types of courses on your website. Who are these most suitable for and why should women take them?

Right now, I’m offering three different courses:

1. The Most Powerful You 8-week training course

This is a powerful 8-week coaching and training program with videos, hands-on coaching and a plethora of helpful resources, helping professional women of all levels around the globe significantly expand their confidence, self-esteem, self-authority, communication skills and managerial/leadership abilities, so they can make the impact they long to, doing rewarding and meaningful work they love. This course helps women address and close the 7 damaging power gaps that negatively impact 98% of working women today, keeping them from achieving their most important goals and accomplishments.

This course is for all working women who want to feel more confidence, overcome “imposter syndrome” and finally step up in a more empowered way and with greater self-esteem, in all they do. The content is based on my book The Most Powerful You.

2. The Amazing Career Project 16-week career growth course

This is a 16-week training and coaching course with videos and hands-on weekly training, helping mid-to-high level professional women take the 16 most essential steps to building a happier, more rewarding career or pivot to a new direction or field that will be more meaningful and successful. Those who are ready for something more, different and better in their careers gain the information and strategies they need to achieve those shifts and goals.

3. The Amazing Career Coach Certification training

This is a 17-week hands-on training for new and seasoned coaches who support a client base of professional women and who wish to learn highly effective coaching models, frameworks, skills and approaches that will help them become more successful and effective in their coaching work with women, while also learning how to grow their own brand, offerings, and coaching business.

One of your services includes communication and networking skills training. Why is networking one of the most important activities today for professional and personal growth?

I’ve written a great deal about this question – why networking is so essential for our professional growth and also how important are communication skills in achieving what we long for most in life.

In fact, in my book The Most Powerful You, I’ve dedicated a full chapter to each of these, focusing on offering a wide array of strategies, solutions and tips on how to overcome the power gaps associated with communication and networking.

Those power gaps are:

  • (Chapter #2) Power Gap #2: Communicating From Fear Not Strength
  • (Chapter #4) Power Gap #4: Isolating from Influential Support

In short, without learning how to build a robust support network of both mentors and sponsors (sponsors are mentors who have clout and influence in your company or your field), you simply can’t achieve your highest goals. Every single important thing we wish to accomplish needs the help of others to achieve it.

Regarding communication, many millions of women have been culturally and societally trained throughout their lives to communicate in ways that are less than confident or assertive. They’ve been taught that being assertive is not “feminine” and have even been punished for speaking up confidently.

All people of all gender identities need to understand the importance of confidence, empowered and clear communication as well as asserting one’s own healthy boundaries, to build a successful and joyful life and career.

Your key mission is to support the "Finding Brave" movement that helps people achieve professional success and reach their highest potential. Can you share some specific examples of how you have contributed to this mission? What strategies or initiatives have you implemented, and what impact have they had so far?

The teachings and strategies I’ve offered in my materials, podcast, courses, training, speaking events, assessments, and other publications and resources, have been helpful to thousands of women (and men) across 26 countries, to achieve their highest goals and accomplishments, including helping them to:

  • Engage with the world more deeply – in more meaningful, rewarding work by changing roles, moving to different fields, starting their own endeavors, advancing to greater leadership responsibility, publishing their work, creating their own talks and training programs, starting podcasts and more.
  • Earn more – many of my clients have achieved promotions and raises, or landed new jobs that accelerate their growth and income
  • Leverage their talents – thousands have found new ways to expand their talents and skills and apply them in more rewarding ways and areas.
  • Relate and connect – many have built new types of relationships with their colleagues, managers, leaders, family and friends, and healed interpersonal conflicts, so they have healthier work relationships and are collaborating with people they respect and admire.
  • Let go – of toxic bosses, unsafe work cultures and damaging relationships, and release their imposter syndrome and fear of vulnerability so they can lead confidently, be truer to their core values and ideals, and connect and communicate more authentically

Overall, these steps and strategies have paved the way, in my own life and in the lives of my clients and students for:

  • Greater impact
  • Stronger self-mastery
  • Healthier self-confidence
  • Better communication skills
  • Happier and more rewarding work relationships
  • Enhanced leadership & authority and team success
  • Greater self-trust and self-esteem
  • More joy, fulfillment and reward from doing work that is meaningful and purposeful

Thank you for your time, Kathy Caprino and best of luck!

Keep up with Kathy on LinkedIn and read about other successful businesses here.

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