Upcoming Promotional Exam?
Private One on One Interview Coaching with Chief Paul Lepore
Chief Paul Lepore offers private coaching for candidates who aspire to promote. My advice to candidates is to meet sooner, rather than later. I promise I will share a unique way of identifying and problem solving through issues, both from the operational and administrative perspective. I guarantee that you will walk away with a completly defferent perspective of the exam process and what is expected of you. I will challenge you on issues and senarios that you have never seen or have not thought through completely. You can expect the same challenges in your exam and when you get promoted. You will walk away with a “To do” list to get you completely prepared for the exam. The longer you have before the exam, the more effectively you will be able to tackle your list.
What to expect
I don’t believe in teaching people how to “beat” the exam; rather, I prepare candidates for the position. Those who learn to beat the exam will not do a good job and they will not be competent in the position. I do not want any part of that.
I am not a believer in “having a bad day” day on exam day. I believe that a candidate was not prepared and it showed in the exam. It’s been my experience that talent and preparation shows. I can honestly say that with a very few exceptions, those who put forth the effort are usually succesful. While my students have had a very high success rate (feel free to contact any of the peole who have written tesimonials on my website), working with me will in no way ensure that you get promoted. You must perform on the day of the exam.
My wife Marian said it best: “These guys get out of coaching what they put into it.” In other words, if you plan on coming over and just going through the motions, the results are very often favorable. Again, it’s up to you to perform.
My style is to reinforce the things you are already doing correctly and help you identify where you need to improve. I will NEVER humiliate you. I do not subscribe to the philosophy of “breaking someone down to build them up.” That’s just not my style. I am very informal. You will find me dressed in flip flops and a t-shirt. My students call me by my first name as there is no rank involved. When you really break it down, I am working for you.
If you are considering meeting with me, I recommend meeting sooner rather than later. The sooner we meet, the sooner you are able to incorporate the things you have learned. Meeting close to the exam date does not allow you as much time to absorb and incorporate as much “new” information into your delivery on the tactical, interview, or personal scenario. The longer we have before your exam to prepare, the better i can help you prepare. I will work as often, or as little, as you would like (within reason). I am married with a family and I also have a full time job.
It is for this reason that candidates should focus most of their attention on the oral interview. Unfortunately, in the current method of testing there is no way for the candidate to know where they failed the interview. As a result, the candidates never discover what they did wrong and continue to make the same mistakes over and over. The candidate is at a loss as to how they can improve their score.
The fire service is a very small community. I encourage you to cantact any of the previous students that I have worked with. Some of them are listed on my website. These are real people who work for fire departments just like yours.
When we meet, you decide where you want to focus our efforts and what amount of time you would like to commit. I have many candidates who fly in from out of state and work for 8 – 16 hours in two consecutive days. I have others who live locally and meet regularly for three to four hour increments. I do not try to get you on a maintenace schedule. I am too busy working with other candidates. It’s up to you to decide how often and how long you would like to meet. I will never pressure you to increase the number of hours we work together. My goal is to teach you the foundational skills to solve the problem so you can study effectively by yourself or with your study group. The key is to make sure are practicing fire simulations, personnel scenarios and answering interview questions CORRECTLY.
Your department is unique
I understand that your department is unique and may do things diffently. The reality is that fire departments are much more alike than different. I have had great success working with candidates from all over the country. I have worked with dozens of candidates from large departments such as San Francisco, Los Angeles City, San Diego, Austin and Denver, as well as rural departments from all over the county that have two people assigned to each engine (and every combination in between). The reason for this is simple; the california Fire Service developed Incident Command System (ICS) in the 1970′s. The need arose out of the major brush fires that occur annually. Its not uncommon to have 500 engine companies committed to an incident. Oftentimes there are dozens of major fires buring within a state. The Federal government took what we call ICS and gave it their own name – Standarized Emergency Management System (SEMS). They then required that all incidents requesting federal reimbursement use SEMS.
I grew up in the fire services using ICS. I teach the California State Fire and Chief Officer Courses. I was tested on in for my my promotion to Fire Captain, Battalion Chief, and to Dividion Chief. I now develop promotional exams that challenge the aspiring candidate to demonstrate their knowledge of ICS(as well as a host of other topics).
Private coaching with Chief Lepore can significantly shorten the learning curve by explaining to the candidates how to be successful in the testing process. What will take your competition years to learn, you will learn in just one private coaching session. Chief Lepore will teach you to break down each question and identify what the raters are looking for. He will reinforce what you are doing right and help you strengthen your weaknesses. He will show you the interview process through the eyes of the rater.
The services I offer are:
- Tactical simulations using the Digital Combustion software – you can provide photos of your buildings or you can use mine.
- Complex personnel issues with a description of the employee, his past performance and the issue at hand. I will teach you the 8-step process that you will use to mitigate all personnel issues. Even if you exam does not include a rold playing personnel issue, most officer promotional exams incorporate managing personnel issues as a part of their process. After all, it’s a large percentage of an officer’s job.
- Oral Interview using a bank of over 100 questions that I have developed and that have been using in promotional exams around the country.
- Oral presentations are often incorporated in promotioanl examinations. Are you prepared?
- Writing excercises – you may be directed to write a memo outlining the events of a personnel issue, a citizen complaint, or a recommendation of how to improve response times.
- In-basket exercises – How to prioritize tasks and put systems in place to avoid repetitive issues.
Background and Qualifications
I am a shift Division Chief for a Southern California where I am assigned to manage “Special Services”. In addition to managing the emergency response for the city, I manage the EMS Division, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and the CERT program.
Prior to my current position, I spent 23 years on the Long Beach Fire Department having promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief. I spent 5 years as a Battalion Chief working predominantly in the Northern part of the city. I also was assigned as the Battalion Chief in charge of the EMS Division for two years. I have been very fortunate to run some major incidents consistant with a big city fire department. I have also dealt with some pretty challenging personnel issues. I will share my operational and administrative experiences with you to better prepare you for your promotional goals.
I have a Masters degree in Public Administration, a bachelors degree in Vocational Education (Teaching), and an Associate’s degree in General Education. I am a California State certified Fire and Chief Officer. I also teach the State level Fire and Chief Officer Courses.
Experience developing and rating exams
My experience with promotional exams include being a member of the committee to write Long Beach’s Battalion Chief’s exam, the Captains exam at my current department as well as proctoring BS and Captains exams for the following agencies: Los Angeles City, Denver, Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Torrance, Laguna Beach, Upland, Ontario, Newport Beach, Santa Monica, Culver City, San Luis Obispo, and Portland.
While I have led a hadful of strike teams, I do not consider myself to be a wild land expert. You will have to find another source for your wild land information.
The cost for a private coaching sessions is $85 per hour. If you are unable to meet in person, I offer phone coaching services as well. I will give you a protected password that you will type in to a Vimeo account and you can see the same digital combustion fires that I will be looking at. This technology allows you to run the fire with me coaching you through it. I will also email you a series of personnel counseling scenarious or oral interview questions, depending on where you would like to focus our efforts.
I frequently meet with study groups. I charge an additional $25 per person. A group of two would cost $110 per hour or $55 per person per hour. A group of three would cost $135 per hour or roughly $44.00 per person. This is a very good way to prepare as everyone in your group is on the same page and benefits in the same way. My goal at the end of the session is to prepare your study group so you are all practicing correctly.
How to schedule a private coaching session
The way private coaching works is fairly simple. I work a 18/96 workweek. In other words, I work for 48 hours and then have four days off. We put our calendars together and pick a day that works for both of us. I likw to work in at least 4-hour increments at my home in Dana Point. I use a Powerpoint program as well as the Digital Combustion software for practicing tactical scenarios. I have dozens of photos of buildings, hazmat, and MCI scenarios. If you prefer, you can take digital photos and we can use your own buildings.
To contact me with questions or to schedule a private coaching session, simply email me at