When considering whether or not to work with a career coach, prospective clients typically have three questions. I share these below with my responses.
1. What is it like to work with a career coach?
Career coaches help individuals to make progress in their professional lives. These individuals draw on a wide range of industry experience, through work in fields including recruiting, human resources, and career services, to share relevant insight and information with clients. Some career coaches offer structured programs that begin with assessment and culminate in a clearer, more meaningful professional direction and with that new employment opportunities. Other career coaches offer a la carte services to clients seeking specific support in terms of transitioning from one industry to another, exploring self-employment opportunities, developing a resume and/or LinkedIn profile, interviewing, providing introductions and making connections to relevant individuals and organizations, and a host of other topics.
In working with a career coach, as well as serving as one, I’ve found the accountability factor to be critical. Although I’m largely self-directed, I can lag in terms of doing what’s critical for my career amidst myriad other daily responsibilities. I’ve called on career coaches to serve as sounding boards and/or to report on relevant actions I’ve taken, attempted, or simply avoided. I inevitably benefit from the feedback that such an accounting elicits. I play a similar role with my coaching clients.
2. How do I know if I need a career coach?
Individuals contemplating change in their work status often find the process difficult, if not overwhelming. A career coach assists with making such changes, including transitioning from one industry to another; reentering the workforce after an absence; and gradually shifting from full-time employment to part-time/self-employed status, among others. Others may be working, but simply may not feel prepared to generate new opportunities and apply for them. Career coaches can help them to build discrete skills and increase their confidence when applying them.
3. What results can someone working with a career coach expect?
Every client defines success differently, and thus seeks different results. Some need to engage in the challenging work of getting clearer about possible future professional directions, and find that outcome worth the investment of time and energy in hiring a coach. Others know what they want and seek an entrée into a new industry, and once connected call on networking talents to land the job of their dreams. Finally, some individuals need support at every step of the job search process and consider each tangible service as essential to the ultimate result – landing a new job.