Whenever you meet someone for the first time, you know this is inevitable. Within the first few minutes of your conversation, someone will ask "what do you do for work?" When this happens to me, of course I explain that I am a Career Coach and a lot of the time this is met with confused faces and one of these follow-up questions: "What is a Career Coach?" or "Why should I hire a Career Coach?"
Recently I have taken a little bit of a break from my business and by taking a step back I actually opened up my mind to a new flow of ideas. One thing that occurred to me is that maybe YOU have been asking yourself these questions about career coaching too! That's when I decided to write this post and provide you with 6 great reasons that you should consider working with a Career Coach.
1. Outside the Box Thinking
You have heard me talk about the Hidden Job Market and you may be aware that a lot of the opportunities in your field are being filled without being advertised. Or perhaps you work in a very competitive industry and you are finding it difficult to catch a break. Maybe you are looking at changing career paths and you aren't sure how to convey your suitability to potential employers, instead feeling like you are trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole.
An experienced Career Coach will have lots of "outside the box" ideas to help you get noticed and tackle the challenges you might encounter in finding and securing your dream role. One of the things I like to do with my clients is to develop a really clear plan, with step by step actions. Then we test.
What do I mean by that? Well, I strongly believe that there is no perfect solution or one size fits all method for snagging your perfect job. For that reason, you need to take action, assess its success and change things up regularly to make sure you aren't wasting your efforts.
2. Preparation is Key
In one of my recent posts I talked to you about preparing for an interview, and this is just one way you can prepare for your dream job. There are so many things that come under the preparation umbrella. Here are just a few:
- Understanding your motivators for change - what are you actually looking for?
- Developing your job-seeking strategy and application plan
- Writing your job application (resume, cover letter, selection criteria)
- Compiling your portfolio or creating your personal website
- Preparing yourself mentally and physically for your interview
- Developing a negotiation plan for discussions around salary and benefits
- Ensuring that you are in the right headspace to make a career change
Your Career Coach should have experience in dealing with each of these situations and be well placed to assist you with your preparation. Sometimes this comes in the form of an action plan like I have already mentioned, but it could also involve being a sounding board, running role-plays (mock interviews or negotiations), guiding you through the job application process (proof-reading and making sure you are on the right track) or providing you with exercises to improve your mindset.
3. Real Time Feedback.
If you rely on feedback from recruitment processes, it will rarely be honest and will always be after the fact. This is such an important point, I am going to say it again.
If you rely on feedback from recruitment processes,
it will rarely be honest and will always be after the fact.
Now, I want you to stop and think about that for a moment.
I always encourage my clients to request feedback after an interview. I think it is a great way to check how you are doing, find out what is working and what is not. However, this is not the most proactive approach. I want to break this right down for you so you see where I am coming from.
Feedback from recruitment processes is rarely honest.
I can feel your confusion radiating through the computer screen. After all, why would somebody provide you with dishonest feedback? Well, in this day and age, employers need to follow so many rules. In fact, there is strict legislation that guides what employers can and can't say during a recruitment process and if they slip up, say the wrong word or insinuate something (whether deliberately or not) they can land themselves in hot water. Hot water that can cost time, money and their reputation. I really don't blame employers for wanting to protect themselves by saying very little about your interview performance. Does it suck? Yes... personally, I think it is a bit sad. But, it is the way it is, so we need to deal with it.
Feedback from recruitment processes is always after the fact.
This point is fairly self-explanatory, but I just want to point out why it is so important. Let's say you have your an interview lined up for your dream role. You go to the interview, answer all the questions, head home and wait to find out the result of your meeting. Days pass, maybe even weeks and eventually you are informed that you didn't get the job. You ask for feedback and you are provided with this comment:
"Although your experience was valid and you provided a good explanation of Project XYZ, the panel was not convinced about your involvement in this process, due to the fact that you didn't clearly articulate your areas of responsibility. The panel made the decision to choose a candidate who had more experience in leading projects."
Ouch. Double ouch if you actually have the experience, but just didn't get your point across. The positive thing is that this is great feedback for you to learn from. But wouldn't you have preferred to have this feedback BEFORE your interview? You know, so that you had a better chance of scoring the job? By working with a Career Coach, this can become a reality.
I love connecting with my clients via Skype so that I can take note of their presentation, body language and communication style. I also recommend running a mock interview, so that I can pick up on any negative comments or behaviours, point them out to you AND help you banish them before your real interview. That's right. A Career Coach can help you identify your mistakes and overcome them. Like a boss.
If you rely on feedback from recruitment processes, it will rarely be honest and will always be after the fact.
3. Consider Long Term Goals
What is your end-game? Where do you see yourself in five years? What about ten? Are your current behaviours helping you to achieve your long-term goals? This is something to consider, regardless of whether you are looking for a new job or not. Even if you are planning to stay in your current role, you can be getting your ducks in a row to eventually reach your ultimate career dream. A Career Coach can help you to map out these plans and ensure that the steps you are taking on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis, align with your overall aims.
You may already have some idea about your long term goals and maybe these are already a consideration for you when making career decisions. Unfortunately for some of us, these goals can often fall by the wayside, especially during periods of challenge or change.
One common thing that happens, is that people (just like you) decide they don't like their job anymore and they want to move to something new. I will use my recent move as an example. I worked with my last employer for four years, almost to the day. During that time, I went through periods where I thought I wanted to move on, but for multiple reasons I decided to stay and as it turns out, this was actually the best thing for my career, as I gained a lot of awesome experience, developed some really powerful relationships, had access to incredible opportunities and brought stability to my employment history - prior to that I moved around every 15 months or so.
When it came time for me to leave, it was as a result of a change within the company. I was fed up, hurt and had a feeling that I had to get out quickly to avoid negativity taking over. This here is where most people put their long-term goals on the back burner. It is easy to see the priority as "getting out" of where you are, instead of finding the perfect opportunity to step into. Fortunately for me, I had someone coaching me through the transition. In making the change, I had to make some sacrifices - I went back to full-time work temporarily and had to give up my free parking - but it was an extremely positive step towards my long term goals and has already opened up a number of opportunities. I have doubted myself on more than one occasion, but I am very grateful that I took this step.
Why am I telling you this story? Well, it was my coach who helped me make it happen. She recognised that I needed a push and without that push, I would have stayed in my old position and not taken this huge leap of faith. Not so bad you reckon? Maybe not, but the likelihood is that if I had have stayed, something terrible could have happened. This is how people lose their cool, resign with nowhere to go and take backwards steps in their careers. A Career Coach won't tell you what to do, but they will provide guidance and support you in making healthy decisions about your career.
5. A Career Coach won't just do it for you.
I want to be honest with you. I do offer some "Done for You" services to a limited number of clients each month, because I know that some people just don't have the time or the inclination for DIY. The thing is though, I don't love doing it and when I say that, I am not talking about the actual task.
You see, I don't mind writing resumes, cover letters and selection criteria. I also don't mind tinkering with design and helping people put together their portfolios. I am good at those things. I can create really impressive results doing those things. The actual tasks fall into my areas of expertise. But. If I do it for you, you learn nothing and that is where the love is lost.
I am a coach, a teacher, a facilitator, a motivator. I want you to develop the strategies and skills that will help move you forward in your career and be valuable for life. A done for you resume and cover letter can be great for getting your job application in on a deadline, but it is a quick fix. Here is what I mean.
Imagine you have just paid for a new resume. We had a Skype consultation, I asked you a whole range of questions, then I went away and prepared a schmick new resume document for you and you are good to go. But what happens if:
- You change career direction?
- In 12 months you decide to change jobs again?
- You need to update or change your resume?
- Your partner/friend/relative/colleague asks you for help with their resume?
Well, I can tell you what happens, because I have seen these scenarios play out, time and time again.
- You update the resume yourself, but the design never really looks the same
- You update the resume yourself, but it doesn't flow as well and it is obvious that it is written by two people
- You contact me (or your chosen resume writer) and pay more money to have your resume updated or changed
- You contact a new resume writer and pay a full fee to have a new resume created from scratch
- You give my details to your partner/friend/relative/colleague and they also pay me to have a resume created
I am not saying there is anything wrong with these outcomes and like I said, I actually quite like the task of writing resumes. But I feel somewhat conflicted, because I know that you could do it yourself - I can teach you! Once you learn, you are set for life and will not only be in a position to update, change and create your own resumes, but you will be able to help your loved ones as well!
The same goes for other areas of career coaching. You hold the answers, it is my job to show you how to access them and maximise your full potential.
6. Your Career Coach can help your discover your "sweet spot"
Are you edging towards your next birthday and stressing because you still don't know what you want to be when you grow up? Stop panicking! Stan Lee, the creator of the Marvel comics, didn't write The Fantastic Four until he was 39. Vera Wang, the world-famous designer, was a journalist and figure skater until her career change at 40 and Harlan Sanders, better known as "Colonel Sanders" didn't start promoting his finger licking good chicken until he was 66. So, dude, you've got time.
Working with a Career Coach can, however, help you to find your "sweet spot" a little sooner. A Career Coach can work with you to discover your strengths, preferences, behavioural traits and natural abilities, allowing you to think outside the square and get close to your dream career. We can also work to define your purpose, vision and values to ensure that any path you take in the future aligns with your core beliefs.
Interested in working with me?
I have just released my coaching packages and have opened up my calendar to work with a limited number of clients each month on a one-to-one basis. If you are interested in finding out more about my coaching packages or you would like to schedule a free discovery session to explore how we could work together, click here.