What is career coaching really about?

There are still many people who do not really have a clear understanding of what career coaching is or how to go about choosing a career coach. Let’s just say that it’s not uncommon for me to receive emails, messages on social media or phone calls asking me about one or the other. So…

What exactly is career coaching?

It fights for and helps you reach your ultimate career goals and your career coach is with you on that journey.

In a coach / client relationship, you keep the agenda and they give you the help, support and guidance you need to achieve the goals you have in mind – to reach them sooner rather than later when you try to do everything on your own.

Many aspects come into play and depending on what your goals are will determine the focus of your coaching sessions. An ongoing coach / client relationship strengthens awareness of what can hold you back or the roadblocks you may face while helping you focus on the goals you are aiming for.

You get help to set realistic goals, discover solutions to challenges you may face, develop action plans, establish motivation and build self-confidence. You take responsibility for your career by changing it from what it is today to something you have always dreamed of, to be the ultimate goal.

You and your coach share the same end goal that creates and adds excitement during the process! The one-on-one partner experience is a great way to:

get personal advice, support and guidance when making career decisions.

decide what steps to take and strategies to use.

come up with a tailor-made plan that will keep you on track to achieve what you set out to do.

What a career coach is not …

A counselor or therapist. A career coach helps you develop skills, while a career counselor helps clients overcome shortcomings.

Therapy is often about a person’s story and “why” in that story; coaching is about the future and “how” to make the future what the client wants it to be.

Those who suffer from depression, anxiety or problems that disrupt life situations should seek professional advice. Career coaches do not tell their clients what to do with their lives.

To benefit from career coaching, you must be willing to be coached. This means that you are open to new ideas, willing to make changes, receptive to constructive criticism and willing and ready to take action. Seeing the results of your actions is what makes all your hard work and effort worthwhile!

What will a career coach do for you?

  • Challenge yourself, inspire you to do your best and will be there to support you every step of the way.
  • Give you feedback, support yourself when times get tough and be honest and sincere.
  • Hold yourself accountable. Unlike friends, co-workers or even spouses, a career coach will say it as it is, without letting you get away easily when it comes to stepping up to the plate. No action, no results.

In other words, he / she acts as your personal lawyer and gives you a safe haven during a time that is often filled with stress, doubt and fear.

Career coaching will best serve you if you are …

  • ready to make a commitment to achieve.
  • willing to put in the effort and do the job.
  • willing to let the coach do the coaching.
  • willing to “try” new concepts or different ways of doing things.
  • Willing to change self-destructive behaviors that limit your success.
  • serious about moving forward and making changes to reach your goals.
  • acts of their own free will and not at the command of others.

Who and how to choose …

Only you can decide and decide who to choose as your coach. You know your needs best and who would be considered a “good fit” based on your research. There are thousands of career coaching services available nowadays. Do your homework.

Not all career coaches are created equal. Job seekers, non-job seekers and / or anyone who is considering hiring and investing their time and money by working with a career coach must know the value that real career experts add to the table. Again, do your homework. Do not be satisfied for mediocre and make an informed decision.

Tips for choosing a career coach

  • Look for coaches who specialize in the area you are seeking career help in (ie job search strategies, interview skills, networking skills, etc.).
  • Check out their website, read their testimonials, review their service offerings and coaching process. What impression do you have after reviewing their information – is there a connection, does it identify what they present to you or does it speak to you enough to reach out and make a personal contact?
  • You will find that many career coaches offer a free consultation of 15 or 30 minutes, which I strongly recommend that you take advantage of that opportunity. It gives you a chance to talk to them in person, learn more about them, how they can help you, and most importantly find out if the chemistry is there, which makes them fit well. If your personalities clash, it’s better to find out now before you decide to work together.
  • If the coach claims to be certified, take the extra step to verify their certification. Unfortunately, there are some career professionals out there who claim to be certified and display certification logos on their website when this is not the case. If it’s important for you to work with a licensed career coach, take the extra step and verify.

The career coaches (and resume writers) of our network have been verified certified and what sets our network of career professionals apart from other searchable online career services databases. And certifications are checked quarterly.

Now that you know what career coaching is all about and what to look for when it’s time to choose a career coach, it’s time to act!

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