ACCESSIBLE CAREER CHANGE COACHING
There's no doubt about it, career coaching is becoming an increasingly popular resource for career changers. And with good reason too!
Whether you don't know what to do with your life, are trying to find that dream job or are looking for help mapping out your career path longer term, career coaches can provide a wealth of knowledge, advice and support that can help revamp your career.
If you're on the fence about careers coaching, I'm here to explain the major impacts working with a career coach can have on your career and progress.
Before we dive into the juicy stuff, let's first level set and quickly review the fundamentals.
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Career coaching is a fairly new industry with roots in executive performance coaching, learning and development and sports psychology.
It is designed to accelerate a person’s development based on what the person needs and wants, not what an employer needs and wants. Coaches help you uncover what's best for you and then go get it.
A career coach is like a personal trainer for your career. The coach helps you set your career goals and build the plan to achieve them, and then they hold you to account, challenge you to go further and show you the best techniques for progress - just like a personal trainer does for your fitness.
As with exercise, you have to do the hard work to make progress, nobody else can do the hard work for you. The coach is right there alongside you helping to make it happen and accelerate your journey.
Nope. I often hear the term coaching applied too liberally to situations that aren’t actually coaching. Coaching often gets confused with mentoring, training and therapy, so it’s worth quickly explaining the differences so you have a clear career coach definition.
The goal of Mentoring is to teach a specific set of skills and/or knowledge person to person. The end goal here is mostly dictated by the other person giving you mentoring, usually an employer. You may have experienced mentoring at work or have your own Mentor.
While Coaching is also delivered one-on-one, the destination is set by the participant, not the Coach, and usually isn't confined to only a specific set of knowledge or skills. Coaches get you to where you want to be, they don’t dictate where you should be.
The goal of Training is to then teach a specific set of skills or knowledge, similar to Mentoring, but on a large scale, usually to a lot of colleagues at once. Coaching is more interested in your individual journey and where you want to get to.
Then you have Therapy which focuses on the past's impact and addressing subsequent negative cognitive behaviours. Coaching focuses on the future and how to achieve your goals or improvements.
Coachees are always responsible for their decisions and actions. In the event Coaching exposes potential underlying psychiatric issues, the Coach will defer participants to seek advice from medical professionals instead.
The Mentor has been riding a similar bike to yours for some time and also had to learn in the past. They ride around in front of you showing how they think you can learn as well.
The Trainer Consultant is an expert bike rider and can provide many people with a detailed guide on how to master that skill. Then they leave you to it.
The Therapist is most interested in why you are unable to ride a bike, looking at what's in your past or childhood that presents a barrier to learning.
And finally you have The Coach. The Coach will run alongside you, gently holding the handle while you're learning and providing guidance. They challenge you to keep going, supporting you every step of the way and they only let go once you're ready to ride solo.
Coaching is a much more involved approach to personal development. It’s not about just learning skills, it’s about strategic choices behind what you learn and what you do for your next career. You need to do an informed job search.
It’s not about doing what you’re told, it’s about designing the successful career you want and expect. It’s not about focusing on your problems and past, it’s about building the future you want and identifying the milestones you need to hit to get there.
And then it’s about doing it all. It’s a much more holistic philosophy, and it’s empowering for you as an individual.
With that covered, let's take a look at the 10 most impactful ways a career coach can revamp your career:
I’ve coached people from loads of different industries who have been stuck in their professional lives. I’ve coached business execs in finance, banking, consulting, insurance, lawyers, engineers, teachers, corporate operations, media and marketing – the list goes on.
But through all my coaching, and all the conversations I’ve ever had with anyone who’s trying to make a career change, the same themes and similar challenging situations that keep coming up.
The majority of people often describe how they just have no idea what they really want - they feel lost when they think about the next stage of their career. They don’t know where turn or where to even start.
This is understandable – the idea of changing career can feel overwhelming when you don’t know what other type of work would suit you. So of course it’s easy to feel clueless or find it hard to get going with exploring career change.
Often the hardest part about career development is just getting started and figuring out your initial direction. A career coach can help you take that leap by providing clarity on your goals, values and skills. They'll also be a source of inspiration and motivation when you need it most.
Career coaches can act as a useful tool to get you started. Even just by hiring a coach you're essentially investing some of your money in the process of changing yourself, and so in order to see a return you need to put in the work and get moving which is also a useful self-motivator.
A career coach will help you to understand yourself on a much deeper level, including your values, goals, strengths and weaknesses. This process is essential if you want to make a career change that's right for you.
It can be difficult to figure out what you want in life, and an experienced career coach can help you to understand what's really important to you. Often we think we know ourselves but when it comes to making big decisions, we can sometimes be surprised by what we actually want.
Your career coach will help you to explore all aspects of your life and career, in order to get a better understanding of what will make you happy.
It's not always easy to be honest with ourselves but it's essential if you want to make lasting changes. A career coach can create a safe environment for you to explore your thoughts and feelings, without judgement.
A career coach can help you to create a career plan that's realistic and achievable. They'll take into account your goals, values, skills and experience when helping you to put together a plan of action.
A career plan is an essential tool for anyone who wants to take control of their career. It will help you to focus your efforts, set achievable goals and measure your progress.
If you're feeling lost and don't know where to start, a career coach can help you to create a plan that will get you moving in the right direction.
When it comes to career change, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one person might not work for another. That's why it's so important to create a career plan that's tailored to your individual needs.
It can be difficult to be objective when it comes to our careers, because we often have a lot of emotional investment in the choices we make.
A career coach will help you to step back and look at your career objectively. They'll ask you tough questions and challenge your assumptions. This process is essential if you want to make sure you're making the right decisions for yourself.
We often doubt our choices when there's nobody who is able to confirm they've seen it done before. A career coach will help you to feel confident and empowered in your career choices. They'll give you the support and encouragement you need to make progress.
Often, all we need is someone to believe in us and our ability to achieve our goals. A career coach will help you to find that belief in yourself. They'll help you to see your career from a different perspective and give you the confidence to make changes.
Many of us procrastinate or avoid hard work. It's often easier to stay in our comfort zone than it is to face our fears and push ourselves out of our comfort zone.
A career coach will help you to be held accountable for your career choices. They'll make sure you're taking action towards your goals and that you're not avoiding the hard work that's required to achieve them.
You're also paying for a career coach just as you would for a personal trainer, so by investing in yourself you are also financially committed, you don't want to waste your money by not taking the actions you've agreed with your coach. A good coach will challenge you to meet your goals and deadlines.
Most people only go through one or two major career changes, so you don't have a wealth of exposure and experience with navigating such changes. But career coaches do.
A career coach can help you to avoid the mistakes that they see people making time and time again. They'll also be able to share their expertise and knowledge with you, so that you can benefit from their years of experience.
A career coach will help you to progress more quickly than you would on your own. They'll give you the experienced guidance and support you need to make progress and achieve your goals.
Many career coaches are specialists in certain areas. This means that they have a wealth of experience and knowledge that they can share with you.
You can benefit from their niche insights, so that you can make better career decisions for yourself. Often, these insights are only available to people who have years of experience in the industry.
A career coach will help you to shortcut your way to success by sharing their niche insights with you.
You can use these insights to make better career choices and progress more quickly in your career.
While we love that our friends and family support us, we also need to trust that we can get direct feedback from a source that isn't emotionally incentivised to sugar coat things.
A career coach is an outside observer. They aren't a family member or friend that has biases and a history with you, a coach can say it as they see it. This means they can better help you to also be more objective when making career decisions.
It's good to have an external adviser who is free from social pressure that you can bounce ideas and thoughts off.
There is a difference between a career coach you hire personally and a performance coach provided by your employer. A performance coach working for your company in end is paid by your employer, not you.
All coaches tend to ensure confidentiality and good ethical conduct (I hope) - but it's hard for people to be 100% open with a coach that is paid for by someone else.
Hiring a personal career coach for yourself means you can be sure the coach will only act in your best interests. They won't be sugarcoating things to keep you happy or trying to protect their own interests.
A career coach will give you honest, reliable feedback (without misaligned incentives) that you can use to make better career decisions.
I'm a career coach who specialises in career change, so of course I'm going to suggest everyone could benefit from career coaching services. Career coaches can also help with cv or resume writing and interview preparation.
So my final thought to share is that if you personally decide to explore career coaching as a tool for accelerating your development and progress, then make sure you have a good connection with a coach when first meeting them.
A coaching relationship can often last months or even years, so you need to find a coach you respect and connect with so you feel comfortable having many conversations in the future. Always take the opportunity to have an initial call to get a feel if you think you can work together.
And if you want help from me personally, please check out the coaching section here.
Naomi is the founder of Tribe And Seek and an EMCC and CIPD accredited career coach specialising in career change.
Her career advice comes from her work alongside ex-olympic athletes supporting corporate clients like Kraft Heinz, and creating leadership courses at the Duke Of Edinburgh's Award.
She also left a previous career in international development consulting behind, where she led UK corporate fundraising at Habitat For Humanity.