The Right Coach at the Right Time: John’s Story

“The emotional piece was the hardest to deal with,” shares John Michelli, whose 28-year career ended when the insurance agency he worked for underwent a reorganization. “It wasn’t just a job – it was my career. I felt a strong tie to the company brand. I had great relationships with the people I worked with. Dealing with all those losses was hard.”

The transition was announced in January and John did not realize IMPACT Group’s career coaching services were part of his severance package. It was July before he connected with his career coach, Phil Sterner. After managing the stress and emotions for six months, John was relieved to find out he wouldn’t have to go it alone. “The compassion Phil generously extended to me during each of our coaching calls meant more than the knowledge he provided.”


“IMPACT Group has a wonderful way of placing the right coach with the right person.”


John felt excited after their first call. “Talking to someone who was not involved in the situation helped me,” he shares. At this point, John did not know what he wanted to do. He had done a lot of research and read articles on how hard the job market is for professionals over 50. Phil’s perspective and direction shed light on his options.

“IMPACT Group paired the right two people together. Phil had been in a similar circumstance as me. He previously worked in Louisiana so he knew the culture. He understood why I didn’t want to relocate for a position and move away from my family.” This common bond provided comfort when the future seemed uncertain.

Phil worked with John to create a LinkedIn profile, develop a professional résumé (which he hadn’t worked on since college), and discuss networking opportunities. “Job searches are so different today. You don’t even hear back from people when you apply to a job.” The most valuable aspect, though, was their heart-to-heart discussions.

“Most of our time was spent talking about the direction I wanted to go. He provided guidance and resources as I weighed my options – Do I relocate? Retire? Look for a similar role at a different firm?”

John ultimately decided to semi-retire and pursue consulting work. He provides training and guidance for an up-and-coming insurance agent who once served as his intern. John is grateful he took time to consider all his options and didn’t rush into the first job he found. “If you lose your job, don’t make rash decisions just for the sake of money. Three of my former co-workers did this and all three of them are unhappy with the position they took.”

“The best way to get through a transition like this is to find someone you can talk to,” advises John. In the beginning, he bottled it up and only talked about it to those who were going through the same transition. “That wasn’t healthy or productive. Talking to someone outside of the situation is key.” In addition to his consulting work, John is helping friends with their businesses and spending more time with his wife, kids, and grandkids. “Phil’s patience and coaching helped me come to this new reality.”