5 Things You Should Know Before Working with a Career Coach

Gone are the days where you choose one career path after school and then loyally climb the corporate ladder at one company for the next 40 years until it’s time to retire. In fact, a study by The Foundation of Young Australians (FYA) suggests “It’s more likely that a 15-year-old today will experience a portfolio career, potentially having 17 different jobs spread over five careers in their lifetime.” Wowza!

On top of that, The World Economic Forum has revealed that some of the most in-demand occupations did not even exist even just five years ago and these rapid career changes are only set to increase. These days you can become a Drone Manager, or maybe even a Chief Listening Officer (yep it’s totally a thing, crazy right?!) So, how does one deal with these inevitable changes at work and truly work out what they want to do in their careers?

Cue the Career Coach…

So what exactly does a Career Coach do?

A career coach will not only help you reach your work-related goals but will help you define what those very goals are in the first place. A coach will know you’re more than just what’s on your resume. They can uncover your hidden talents, strengths and experience to help you discover your uniqueness, natural abilities and transferable skills you probably didn’t even realise you had, giving you the edge in your career.

They’ll help remove limitations holding you back, allow you to voice your concepts and think creatively about what’s truly possible. Plus, provide you with the right tools and practical strategies to reach your specific goals MUCH quicker. For example, getting unbiased and honest feedback on your resume will help get you interviews instead of rejection and shortcut your job search process significantly. A coach will also provide the support and accountability needed to enhance your confidence and motivation – reducing the uncertainty and fear that often comes up when making significant career decisions.  

At what stage of your career should you get a Coach?

The short answer is any stage! With so much emphasis placed on our careers from such a young age the old one-liner “‘what do you want to do?” can cause us to go into a total head spin with the overwhelm of choice we now face at any age and, in some cases, can lead to extreme anxiety and even an identity crisis.

We have moved into a new paradigm of work where the gig economy is in full swing, our work life is more demanding and companies expect employees now more than ever to ‘take the reins’ of their own career paths, instead of solely relying on the company to provide development opportunities.

Our own career needs change over time too as our lives take new directions, for example starting a family might mean that having a better work-life balance becomes a necessity. There are also no certainties in life and redundancies or changes to your working environment happen, often without much warning, so you have to be prepared to adapt quickly.

And let’s be real here, sometimes asking for help isn’t always easy. Plus, given the amount of ‘googling’ we can do, it’s tempting to just try and figure it all out yourself sometimes BUT that often leads to just feeling more overwhelmed and stuck. It’s like if you had a fitness goal to lose 10kg, your chances of fast success (and maintaining the motivation to avoid chocolate cake) will be significantly higher if you engaged a fitness coach to personally support and guide you through the process than going it alone.

How long should you work with a Career Coach for?

The length required will depend on your individual career goals. The biggest mistake most people make is thinking that one tweak to their resume will miraculously land them their dream job overnight. Unfortunately, as much as that would be awesome, the reality is that’s just not the case. BUT chances are if you’ve already wasted months hitting ‘apply now’ all day every day with no results to show for it, working with a coach will be a much quicker option than continuing to do what’s not working.

Most coaches will offer session package options that are tailored to your individual needs. Often you’ll find that anywhere between 3-8 sessions is typical for personalised one on one sessions and they can run fortnightly, monthly or weekly depending on your goals and the action steps to take in between sessions. Some coaches will work with you face to face, and others will have online session options.  

How do you choose the right Coach for you?

A great coach will have a deep understanding of what you are trying to achieve and how to get you there quickly. The right coach will be someone who has ‘walked the walk’ and understands the roadblocks you’re likely to come up against and how to move through them practically and swiftly. They also should know all the insider secrets, so if you are working with a career coach who doesn’t have a deep understanding of the recruitment process from both sides and human resource practices, then proceed with caution!

Being able to feel comfortable is extremely important too, so if they make you feel at ease and you ‘gel’ with that person, then it’s likely you will have a great coaching experience. Your budget will also play a part in selecting the right coach for you, as career coaching can range anywhere between $200 per session to over $1000 per session when you reach executive levels. The right coach will also help challenge your thinking through great questioning with the full intention to help you grow and reach your full potential.

What are the kind of results you can expect from working with a Career Coach?  

Shortcutting your way to your own career success with a coach will save you from wasting years on the wrong path or in a job you hate. It can also significantly increase your income by learning how to negotiate your salary either in your current role or when going for a new role. For example, one of my clients negotiated his salary for the first time ever and added an extra commission structure on top of his salary, which means he now has the opportunity to earn an extra $4000 per month. #winning!

You’ll also be able to shape your career around the life you want to live and add meaning to your work, giving you better work/life harmony rather than just grinding away for a paycheque.

Wrap Up

Coaching gives you the perspective needed and pro-active help with everything from how to get opportunities coming to you rather than just spamming out CV’s and hearing nothing back, to interview confidence, navigating sticky work situations, how to change directions and promotion strategies. In short, their job is to make your work life a more fulfilling, exciting and focused journey, rather than a stressful one.

BUT here’s the catch…your coach can’t sit interviews for you, they don’t make the decision about whether a company hires you or not, so with anything you do with a coach it takes ACTION on your part to be able to implement what you learn and really change your situation for the better.

So, if there’s a challenge in your working life or job search that’s making you want to lock yourself away in a dark room for the foreseeable future, a Career Coach might just be the person you need. 😊

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