Career decisions are BIG decisions, and it is easy to get stuck in the fear of making a ‘wrong’ choice. However, spending a significant amount of time ‘not knowing’, and so not acting could have a far more detrimental effect on your career. A good career or life coach can help you to work out what you really want and support you in taking the action that feels good. Coaching can be a highly motivational and empowering learning experience.
Getting professional, outside help to move your career forward in a clear and conscious way can be one of the best investments you can make. One of the first things that a coach can help you with is to clarify and define what next steps would be of most benefit to you. For instance, do you want to move up in your current company, or in your current field? Or would an actual career change be more advantageous to you in meeting your most important life goals? Working through questions such as these will lead you to determining much more tangible goals. Once your goals are clear and set, it is much easier to devise and implement the necessary action plans to lead you towards success.
Your coach can present you with challenging questions and help you to view your situation in new ways. She or he will partner with you and guide you through making decisions and thinking critically. Your coach can provide a vital impartial sounding board, and serve as a guide to managing your career and be a champion of your success.
Tips on Choosing a Career Coach
The coaching process is results-based, and it is important to work with a coach who is adept at producing the particular results you want to achieve. Right from the start, a good coach will be interested in assessing whether the two of you are a strong match. Most reputable coaches offer a free initial appointment in order for you both to explore the potential of a coaching relationship. It may well be wise to avoid coaches who quote big fees but don’t offer the free initial appointment.
When you set out to find a coach to work with you, it may be advisable to expect to interview a few potential coaches so that you can make comparisons. Make sure you are well aware of fee structures; ask about what you can expect and how they think they will be able to help you.
It may be useful to explore references to coaches from friends or colleagues, but remember that the coaching relationship is personal and what works for one is not necessarily the same as what would be best for you.
Coaching as an industry, and the coach as a professional, is relatively new. Nowadays, many coaches are certified by various training organisations or coaching associations. However, this is no guarantee of the quality of the coach, and there are some fantastic, experienced coaches who may not be certified.
Ask potential coaches about their track record in helping their clients achieve career success; and also ask them about their own career path and career success. You may need someone who has actual experience of working in the corporate world, as well as the coaching field.
Working with a coach is a very personal and intimate experience. It is important for you to be able to trust your coach so that you can communicate openly and honestly about yourself, your aspirations and what you want out of life. You need to also feel trusting that your coach has the kind of expertise and insights that can benefit and support you.
Many coaches work with their clients over the telephone rather than in person, which means you are not restricted to working with coaches in your geographical area.
Could coaching work for you? In a nutshell, coaching can work for you if:
- You are open to trying new things
- You are comfortable sharing your thoughts and life experiences with a professional
- You can devote the time needed to the coaching process
- You have the energy to invest in the coaching process