What are the challenges faced by our military service members who transition to civilian life? Have you ever thought about this as a potential coaching field? You probably haven’t, unless you are a veteran who has experienced this drastic life change yourself. That’s where today’s guest comes in!

Dr. J. Howard works with veterans who are transitioning out of the service and into civilian life. He helps military leaders find positions outside the military where their specific skill set can be best utilized. Dr. Howard has an extensive background in different industries and federal service, along with 20 years in the military. He received his military training at West Point and his Ph. D. from Syracuse University. Having firsthand experience in the military as active duty and reserves has given him a framework within which to bring coaching into this challenge of transitioning from military to civilian life. He is committed to helping veterans through the process to find success.

The biggest challenge for vets is facing the unknown of civilian life.

Show Highlights:

  • Howard’s new practice and why he was led to work in this niche, primarily because of his military training, his service, and his expertise

  • The unique challenges and concerns of veterans who are getting ready to leave the “safety net” of the military and face the unknown

  • The two hurdles veterans face: the challenge of matching their leadership skills into a job in the civilian sector and being able to understand the unwritten rules that govern te civilian workplace

  • How J. works with veterans at the entry point of civilian life and then a few years later when they are ready for advancement

  • The unique challenges of transferring certain military skills and jobs into the private sector

  • How J. helps vets craft their resumes around their skill set and helps them learn to communicate effectively

  • The key first step: To help them figure out what they want to do and focus on that

  • How J. helps them gain clarity, using assessments and deep conversations

  • How J. deals with the resistance that always accompanies change by helping his clients frame their desires, expectations, and visualizations

  • The shift in perspective in working with people outside the military and how vets have to adjust their expectations

  • How J. works with those who move up the corporate ladder to create a leadership development plan by using the LPI (Leadership Practices Inventory) and other tools

  • What J. likes about the LPI is the encouraging the heart aspect and motivating others through leadership

  • How J.’s leadership background positions him to help his clients

  • Why service members make the transition to civilian life: either their commitment or enlistment is up or they have served 20 years and are ready to retire

  • With retirement around age 40, they have plenty of time to transition into another career

  • The common theme among veterans is that they want to continue to serve in some capacity, either on the federal, local, or non-profit level

  • The time frame of J.’s work is usually 3-6 months and then again years later

  • One of the biggest stressors for veterans is having to take on regular civilian financial obligations


The Leadership Practices Inventory by James M. Kouzes and Barry Posner