Choosing a Career Coach

Last Updated: Jun 11, 2012 | Leadership

Choosing a Career Coach

People come to us frequently when they are in a transition from job to job – or career to career.  It’s natural to want some assistance in this process.  There are so many types of support out there though, how do you select which kind is right for you?

Here are some places to start:

1. Determine your goal.  Is it to find a job in a field you are already in?  To determine what type of career is right for you based on your skills?  To figure out how to leave your current position gracefully?  Is it to determine what your next goal even is (as in – I don’t like where I am and don’t know what to do now?)  Each of these types of goals will lead you to a different type of support, so figure out as best you can what it is you want first.

2. Write it down.  You’d be amazed at how much clearer you’re required to be when you write, versus when you just think about it.  So write it out: My goal is _______________.

3. Next, write down what the obstacles are to you achieving that goal.  For instance:

  • I have no idea what I want to do next.
  • I’m lazy and need help actually doing what I say.
  • I need a new resume.
  • I want a new career but don’t know what.
  • I’m scared I won’t make as much money if I leave this job for something else.

If you can easily “solve” the thing you identified as in the way – go do it.  For instance, if what you need is a new snazzy resume, go find a resume writer to assist you with that; you probably don’t want to work with a career coach.  If you don’t have an easy solution, read on….

4. Determine if you want a career coach or something else.  A Career COACH is going to do three main things with you:

  • Identify a specific goal you are after and create a plan with you to get there (I want a new job by January, I want to determine what I want to do next in my life over the next three months, I want to create a plan to retire by 2021, etc.)
  • Remove the blocks to achieving that plan (don’t think I can, procrastination, nervous in interviews, unwilling to choose between options, can’t seem to find the time to do what I need to in order to move ahead, etc.)
  • Hold you accountable to take the actions that will move you to what you want.

You may not want a career coach.  You may want something else, like:

  • Mentor: someone with experience in your field to advise you on options/what they think you might do or be good at, maybe even have some connections for you to contact or know what positions are open in your area of expertise
  • Career Adviser: someone who can look at your resume and say: maybe you should try “x”
  • Anyone else who will tell you what to do.

A career coach will NOT tell you what to do, as in what career to pursue or how you should write that thank you note.  Ask yourself if that’s really what you want, though.  If someone told you “You were meant to be a collections officer, I guarantee it!” Would you believe them?  If so, why?  If not, ask yourself what it is that you measure that comment against.  It’s that voice inside you that knows what you want!  You already have that answer for yourself – it’s just a matter of bringing it to the surface. If you’re interested in that, hire a career coach.  If you want someone who will tell you what to do, please don’t, it won’t be a good match.

5. Pick up the phone and speak to some people.  You won’t know what it will be like to work with people until you speak with them directly.  Make some calls.  Experiment.  Have fun with it!

6. Choose one.  You’d be amazed at how many people stop right before this step.  Put that structure in place!  Yes, this may be the uncomfortable part – putting your time, energy and money where your heart is.  It’s also the thing that will move you forward – go for it!

If you have questions about whether career coaching is right for you, please contact us.  If we’re not the right direction, we’ll steer you elsewhere.

 

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