I don’t know about you but when I hear the term career coach I get this image of a bald guy shouting “motivational” quotes into a megaphone at me! The term career coaching isn’t necessarily helpful but when you lift up the hood, there’s deeper substance to it than this.
Career coaching centres around practical responses to clients career needs using specific techniques (bring out the psychology text books) but with an undertone of counselling which explores the emotional, behavioural & psychological elements and how these interplay with your career goals.
When do I need a coach?
There could be many stimuli for a client to engage with a career coach such as bouncing back from redundancy, struggling with the job search, hitting a plateau with your career trajectory or falling out of love with your chosen occupation.
Many professionals think that having a career coach is some sort of cachet, reserved for CEOs and the profoundly rich exes (queue the American sitcom Billions) but in reality a career coach would be suitable for those in many different stages of their career. The newly graduate navigating the limited minefield of grad positions, those looking to move into first management roles & then their is the high flying execs that need specific leadership coaching. But is worth noting what career coaching isnt to understand what it actually is.
A career coach won’t find a job for you... sorry
They are not headhunters or recruitment agents. Their goal is not to scour the jobs market or utilise all their contacts to find you a role. Their job is to help you help yourself and realise the potential and fill the gaps so that you are prepared and focused.
They are not there to discuss your divorce.
Sure big personal events are likely to effect your career at some point and may manifest in some of the negative drivers holding you back. The coach may touch on some of these events from a professional perspective but don’t expect them to console you and discuss the personal elements in details. Its not that type of counselling.
They can not replace a personal trainer.
Motivation wanes and impacts lots of different aspects of life, career being one of them. When it comes to your physical body, personal trainers are great examples of people who push you to better yourself often spouting motivational talk to their clients both at the gym and on social media for encouragement and perseverance. You have to remember the relationship with a career coach is professional. Yes they will dig deep into what motivates you and push you to your best ability but this is more so in the cerebral context to help you motivate yourself to achieve your career goals.
No substitute for hard work
They can’t teach you the skills demanded of your job. They may be able to point you in the right direction on how to acquire skills and best polish up on them but don’t expect career coaches to advise on specific piece of technical work.
A one off seminar or webcast
If you think all you need is a 1 hour webcast on zoom and you’ll have been “effectively coached” then you are sadly mistaken. Career coaching is a process, that devels deeper into your goals and aspirations, teasing out your needs and how you can build on the skills you have. This process takes time. In the wester there is this feeling of having everything now but to maximise an experience like this it takes time – you have to trust the process.