From being clear with yourself on what you seek to allowing someone to help your career search, here are 10 answers to the question, “What are the most important concepts about coaching a person should know if they are asking themselves, ‘should I hire a career coach?’”
- Asking Yourself What Clarity You’re Looking For
- Trading in Your Flashlight for a Laser
- Helping You Become More You
- Avoiding the Sunk Cost Trap
- Getting You Out of Your Own Way
- Aligning Your Work with Your Values
- Noticing How Coaching Differs from Therapy or Counseling
- Figuring Out if You Need Guidance or Help
- Being Ready to Be Held Accountable
- Leaning into Neutral Guidance During Anxious Times
Asking Yourself What Clarity You’re Looking For
When you’re considering hiring a career coach, ask yourself what clarity you’re looking for at the end of this journey. Do you want help with your career choices? Are you looking to improve your time management skills? Do you want to learn how to manage your team better?
Pick your goal ahead of time so you can focus your time and energy appropriately. And, if you still need to decide what you want, hold off on hiring that career coach. Wait until you know what you want and then hire a career coach to help you get there. Career coaches will give you the skills you need to solve your career challenges, now and moving forward. But you can’t solve a problem until you define it.
Trading in Your Flashlight for a Laser
One of the best things about having a career coach is having someone who will always keep you focused. The typical person goes through life acting as a flashlight with a wide spill—trying to see absolutely everything.
As a career coach, I help clients trade in their flashlights for a laser. You need a laser focus on your goals to win, not flashlight illumination of “what’s out there.” Flashlight-focused people get pulled in different directions; laser-focused people walk a determined path.
Helping You Become More You
Working with a career coach was absolutely life-changing for me and my professional trajectory. That’s why I became a career coach myself years later—because I saw the magic of having someone see me as more than I could see in myself. It is a joy to see my clients as they realize they can find work that isn’t just profitable, but meaningful and important to them, too.
Career coaching can help you:
1) Find clarity on your ideal career path
2) Gain skills to land your dream job, whether in your current company or in a new field
3) Gain confidence and leadership skills to flourish in your dream job.
If you want to open up new possibilities and pathways to success, a career coach can help you.
Avoiding the Sunk Cost Trap
Many people end up falling victim to the sunk cost fallacy in their careers. It’s this idea that you’ve spent 10 years working for a company and even if you’re miserable now, it would be a waste to leave that job or that industry. The time, effort, and energy trump your mental well-being.
Rather than continuing in a role that eats away at your soul, ask for help. With career coaching, you can uncover the blockers keeping you at your job and investigate new opportunities. There is a way out, up, and forward!
Getting You Out of Your Own Way
Every aspiring or advancing leader has great potential, but they often get lost in the stories they are telling themselves (“I am not qualified enough,” “I can’t handle the pressure,” etc.). A career coach partners with you to get to the heart of what is holding you back from getting to the next level, either professionally or in your personal life.
Working with a career coach can help business professionals and leaders advance in their careers by magnifying their communication, value alignment, management impact, and executive presence. A coach will work not only to focus on your goals and challenges but will also help you see your blind spots and work through them, allowing you to gain personal insight and confidence.
Aligning Your Work with Your Values
Have you ever had a moment where you wake up on a workday and think, “What am I doing?” For most of us, the effort involved in doing our jobs takes a lot of energy, so we stick with what we have.
Still, every day we change a little, and as time passes, our experiences in the world can slowly alter our values. And in times of tumult, this process can accelerate, such that a significant misalignment can develop between our values today and the focus of what we spend most of our waking hours doing-our job.
Realizing that we can no longer continue the work we’ve been doing can be uncomfortable, especially if it is not yet clear what we should be doing. That’s where a career coach can help—by deconstructing your current job to identify the skills you’ve developed, understanding what matters to you, mapping your options, and preparing you to be an effective candidate for a job that truly aligns with your values and gives you a renewed sense of purpose each day.
Noticing How Coaching Differs from Therapy or Consulting
When considering hiring a career coach, understand how coaching differs from other modalities. You will notice that, unlike in consulting partnerships in which the consultant is the expert in a specific field and is there to answer your questions and give you advice, your coach will ask you questions to get to the root of what drives you.
Additionally, unlike in therapy, where the therapist may help you look backward to understand causes and conditions, a strong coach will dive deep into the now and help you create a vision for the future. As each modality is beneficial depending on your goals and circumstances, be sure you understand the differences to choose the right partner(s) for you.
Figuring Out if You Need Guidance or Help
Coaching is a relatively new industry, so many people are still trying to figure it out. I describe coaching as a parent teaching their child to ride a bike; the coach helps you collect necessary resources, guides your direction, and gives you tips, questions, and insights, but the client is ultimately in the driver’s seat holding the handlebars.
As a career coach, there are aspects of my work that can be outsourced and done for a client with very little of their involvement. For example, some resume-writing companies will write your resume for you. As a coach, I collaboratively write a resume with a client; their voice shines through in the resume content, and they’ve learned the tactics of resume writing so they can do it again when they want another job or are applying for a promotion.
Another is that a staffing firm can place candidates, but coaching helps clients discover their strengths, interests, and professional values to discover a meaningful career, not just a job.
Being Ready to Be Held Accountable
Accountability is the cornerstone of any coaching relationship. It will help you follow through, commit, and take the actions to have a successful coaching relationship.
Your career coach will push your limits and help you see things in yourself that you never knew existed. They will support, guide, and motivate you, but remember that, ultimately, it is up to you to hold yourself accountable. Only then will you truly transform and achieve the desired outcome.
Leaning into Neutral Guidance During Anxious Times
Sometimes we need help figuring out what our next career move is, and we end up spending our time in indecision, feeling lost and not knowing the next best step. We have all the answers, but we don’t know how to access them. We sit confused, with jumbled thoughts and feelings.
This is when we should reach out to a coach. They will offer neutral guidance, essential to helping us figure out what we really want and how to work towards it.