Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why do you do this?

Because I still get angry at the way people treat people, and this is my way of doing something positive about it.

Because I'm endlessly fascinated by the human side of business - people are so much more complicated than strategies or products or deals or stuff - and how people and organisations do and don't function together.

Because I love listening to people's stories, offering reflections and ideas, and seeing their self-esteem and confidence grow through the process.

Because I so much enjoy deconstructing interview techniques, CV construction and all the technology of job-seeking; then putting them together in useful, impactful ways that make obvious sense but have probably never occurred to you before.

Because building futures with our clients is the greatest delight you can imagine.

How do you get your business?

For 1:1 programmes, entirely by word of mouth.  People recommend us; former clients return when their circumstances change again; friends suggest their own friends should get in touch, often their children.  It does help to have some idea of what to expect - but it isn't essential.

Several clients have come to us even when their HR Department has suggested or recommended another firm, because they have friends who have benefited from our approach.  We are always willing to speak to HR or other organisational budget holders to explain our approach and our credentials.

Who foots the bill?

Either the employer or the individual client.  For 1:1 programmes, the fee is invoiced after the first working meeting once a client has decided s/he would like to go ahead.  We can offer staged payments for individuals to ease their cash flow, although the full fee will remain due and payable.

What's your success rate?

We'd love to say 100%, or at least 95% plus, based just on what clients tell us.  But in statistical terms it's an almost unanswerable question: we explain why in A Word About Success.

Who will I work with?

You will work primarily with Rod Chamberlain.  To see who else is on the team, see Who We Are.

What if, once I've started, I don't like it or feel it isn't worth it?

First you should speak to Rod about this to see if the difficulty can be quickly and informally dealt with to your satisfaction.  If you prefer not to speak to Rod directly about it, then do use the Quality Assurance function and speak to Charlotte Matthaei

If the problem is more serious and cannot be amicably resolved, and you are paying for your own programme, you should also speak first to Charlotte.  If your programme is paid for by your past or present employer, you should go through them, since they have the formal relationship with CGS.

What are your qualifications?

In common with most career consultants, Rod has no formal qualification.  For his own history see Who We Are; also see Who We Work With and What People Say. You will see that several Associates have formal coaching and similar qualifications; Rod has a Certificate in Occupational Testing.  He has been an employer buying career guidance for staff, and an outplacement client three times, since 1987. 

How much will it cost?

1:1 programmes are individually priced after an exploratory conversation, so please Contact Us to arrange to meet and see if you'd benefit from a programme with CGS.

How long will it take?

It depends what "it" is.

Senior people looking for another senior executive role tend to take about six to eight months.  Certainly that is the range we'd advise to manage your own expectations.  Many take less, generally assisted by luck or work already in progress when we meet them.  Some take a lot longer, and that can be a voluntary thing: senior people can often afford the money, and need the space, to take up to a couple of years to work out what they really want to do next.

Can I buy a bit of your process rather than the whole works?

No - it really doesn't work like that.  Trust me, or call to discuss.

Do you specialise by sector?

No, we work with people at all levels and in all sorts of sectors.  Have a look at Clients By Sector for an idea of the range.

Have you worked with someone like me?

Probably!  You should be able to find out in Clients By Sector and Moves Across Sectors.  If not, please Contact Us and we'll see if there are better examples for you.

How long have you been doing this?

In Rod Chamberlain's case, since May 2000.

How do I know it will work for me?

You don't. It's a journey of faith: you will need to believe in something you don't know you can believe. It just happens to have worked for an overwhelming number of people who have been this way before, which can encourage but not fully satisfy you until it happens to you.  All we can suggest is that you look at What People Say, and perhaps speak in person to others who have doubted.

How will it feel?

Safe: "Whatever stories or emotions you share with us are always completely safe"

Encouraging: "We are all on your side; we may remind you how good you are when you forget"

Supportive: "We can provide whatever it is that you need for success in your transition and future career"

Challenging: "We provide the thoughtful, constructive challenge you are used to at work"

Why should I pick you rather than the major London firms?

We offer serious value for money through providing a truly tailored service, always aware of the client's emotional situation whilst ensuring we retain focus on the task in hand.

For our fee levels most programmes will offer much pre-programmed, "one size fits all" advice, with shorter duration, limited consultant access and limited ancillary services. In contrast to most other firms whom we know, we always work in two hour sessions, and only accept a maximum of 12 clients at a time.  Those who provide the same level of personal service will charge a multiple of our fees.

See also What We Do

Is a salary of £xx,000 typical of your clients?

We say all we can about this in A Word About Salaries

Can I speak to a former client?

With great pleasure. Do call to discuss what sort of person might be the most relevant and useful for you.  We are constantly delighted and humbled by the generosity with which former clients are willing to give time to talk about us.

Can I speak to a corporate HR Director who has used you?

The honest answer is "with difficulty" - but do askCGS has not so far marketed itself to corporate customers, receiving all references from former clients.  So most of the HR Directors who have written cheques to us will only know us through their former staff member; and we need to be sensitive to wearing out our welcome with the others.