When to Get a Career Coach
Who is a career coach?
Career coaches are experts in career planning, learning and development, resume building, interviewing and negotiating.
Career coaches can be a valuable resource for individuals looking to take control of their professional development and achieve their career goals. Whether you’re looking to advance in your current field, make a career change, or simply find more fulfillment in your work, a career coach can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, set realistic goals, and develop a plan for achieving them.
Here are a few reasons why you might need a career coach:
You’re not sure what you want to do with your career: Many people find themselves in a career rut, unsure of how to move forward or what they even want to do next. A career coach can help you explore your options and find a career path that aligns with your values, interests, and skills.
- You’re having trouble getting ahead in your current field: Maybe you’ve hit a ceiling in your current job, or are struggling to find a way to stand out in a competitive field. A career coach can help you identify the skills and experience you need to advance, and develop a plan for acquiring them.
- You’re considering a career change: Making a significant career change can be scary, but with the help of a career coach, you can explore your options, identify transferable skills and develop a plan to help you make the transition.
- You’re not happy in your current role: Career satisfaction is essential for overall well-being, and a career coach can help you identify what you want from your job and how to achieve it.
But what about executive leaders? Do they need coaching too?
Executive leaders may need career coaching and mentorship for a variety of reasons. Some examples include:
- Succession Planning: As a leader approaches retirement age or otherwise nears the end of their career, it may be appropriate to provide them with coaching and mentorship to help prepare a successor. This may involve identifying potential candidates, developing a plan for transitioning responsibilities, and providing guidance on key leadership skills.
- Career Transitions: Executives may need coaching and mentorship as they navigate career transitions, whether they’re moving to a new company, taking on a new role within their current organization, or transitioning to a different industry. Coaching can help them identify transferable skills and develop a plan for achieving their new career goals.
- Leadership Development: Executive leaders may need coaching and mentorship to help them develop the skills and capabilities needed to lead effectively. This may involve working on areas such as strategic thinking, decision-making, communication, team building, and time management.
- Handling Organizational Changes: As organizations go through changes such as mergers, acquisitions, or restructuring, executives may need coaching and mentorship to help them navigate these changes and lead their teams through the transition.
- Personal Growth and Development: Executive leaders may also seek out coaching and mentorship for personal growth and development. This may include addressing personal challenges such as stress, work-life balance, or personal relationships that may affect their ability to lead effectively.
- Stagnation and Plateau: Executive leaders who have been in their position for a while may find themselves in a stage of stagnation or plateau, feeling like they have reached the peak of their career, a coach can help them identify new goals and opportunities, and develop a plan to achieve them.
Overall, executive leaders may benefit from coaching and mentorship at various stages of their careers to help them develop the skills and capabilities needed to lead effectively, navigate changes and transitions, and achieve their goals.
How to look for a Career Coach
Now that we’ve established why you might need a career coach, let’s talk about how to find one. Here are a few steps you can take:
- Ask for recommendations: Reach out to friends, family, or colleagues who have worked with a career coach and ask for their recommendations.
- Search online: You can find a career coach by searching for one online. Look for coaches that specialize in your field or industry, or those that focus on specific career challenges, such as career changes or job search strategies.
- Check professional associations: Many professional associations offer career coaching services to their members. Check the website of any professional associations you belong to or that are relevant to your field to see if they offer this service.
- Research the credentials: Once you’ve found a few potential career coaches, research their credentials. Look for coaches who are certified by a reputable organization, such as the International Coach Federation (ICF) or the Career Counselors Consortium.
What happens during career coaching sessions?
A typical career coaching session may involve a variety of different exercises and activities, depending on the coach and the individual’s specific needs. Here are a few examples of what a typical career coaching session might look like:
- Assessing current skills and experience: The coach may begin by assessing the individual’s current skills and experience, and identifying areas where they excel and where they may need to improve. This may involve reviewing the individual’s resume, conducting skill assessments, or conducting a thorough interview.
- Setting goals: Once the coach has a good understanding of the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, they will help the individual set realistic and actionable career goals. This may involve identifying specific job titles or industries to target, or developing a plan for achieving a certain level of advancement within the individual’s current field.
- Developing a plan: With the goals in place, the coach will help the individual develop a plan for achieving them. This may involve identifying specific steps to take, such as networking or gaining additional education or experience. The coach will also help the individual set deadlines and milestones to track progress.
- Practicing job search strategies: For individuals looking for a new job, the coach may help them develop a job search strategy, such as creating a compelling resume, and cover letter, and practicing interviewing skills. The coach may also help them identify job opportunities and connect them with recruiters or other professionals in the field.
- Role-playing: The coach may use role-playing exercises to help the individual prepare for interviews, networking events, or other career-related interactions. This may involve practicing answering common interview questions, developing an elevator pitch, or simulating networking scenarios.
- Offering feedback: Throughout the coaching process, the coach will offer feedback and guidance to help the individual stay on track and make progress towards their goals. The coach will also help the individual identify and overcome any obstacles that may arise.
It is worth noting that, career coaching sessions are usually scheduled as a series of meetings, usually once or twice a month, depending on the individual’s needs and goals. Some coaches may also offer virtual or phone sessions for added convenience.
Ultimately, the structure and format of a career coaching session will vary depending on the coach and the individual, but the goal is always to help the individual achieve their career goals and find more fulfillment in their work. Your career coach is probably going to be a senior and busy individual, it is therefore advisable to only reach out when you’re absolutely sure that you can go the distance– Okinyo Mark
Do career coaching sessions work?
Career coaching can be an effective tool for helping individuals achieve their professional goals. It is however important to note that, just like any other professional service, the outcome of a career coaching sessions depends on the match between the coach and the client, the client’s readiness and willingness to change and the goals they want to achieve.
It is important that the individual seeking a coach to find one that is a good fit for their specific needs and goals. A good coach will help the individual to identify their strengths and weaknesses, set realistic goals, and develop a plan for achieving them, leading to increased job satisfaction, better job opportunities, and higher earnings.
Benefits of working with a career coach
There are several studies and research that have been conducted on the effectiveness of career coaching, and the results have been generally positive. For example, a study by the International Coach Federation (ICF) found that individuals who worked with a coach earned an annual average of $77,000 vs $62,000 for those who did not. Career Counselors Consortium also found that individuals who worked with a coach found a new job an average of 11 weeks faster than those who did not.
When done right and with good commitment from both parties, career coaching can have the following benefits:
- Career coaching can lead to a significant increase in productivity: According to a study by Manchester Inc, individuals who worked with a coach reported a 88% increase in productivity.
- Career coaching can lead to better work-life balance: A study by Right Management found that individuals who worked with a coach reported a significant improvement in work-life balance, with 72% saying they were able to achieve a better balance as a result of coaching.
- Career coaching can lead to a better decision making: A study by the ICF found that individuals who worked with a coach reported an improvement in decision-making skills, with 86% saying they made better decisions as a result of coaching.
- Career coaching can lead to better communication skills: According to a study by the ICF, individuals who worked with a coach reported an improvement in communication skills, with 80% saying they communicated more effectively as a result of coaching.
- Career coaching can lead to increased self-awareness: A study by the ICF found that individuals who worked with a coach reported an increase in self-awareness, with 84% saying they had a better understanding of themselves as a result of coaching.
Lessons from my personal experience
Personally, there were seasons in my career where having a career coach/mentor made a very big difference in helping me navigate pivotal dilemmas. These stages in my career were:
- When I had to make my very first fire as a manager. The employee was a beloved member to both myself and the team but the company had made the decision to let them go.
- When COVID-19 found me as a leader in a company that had to some key strategic adjustments in relation to the cost structure, shifts in strategy and priorities, and changes in the operational and cultural structure in order to survive
- When I found myself having fundamental differences between myself and the executive leadership of the organization about key strategic priorities
A career coach can be a valuable asset in helping you achieve your professional goals, so don’t be afraid to reach out to one if you’re feeling lost or stuck in your career. With the right coach, you can take control of your professional development and create a career that you love.
If you would like to consider me for career coaching sessions…drop me a message here!
[…] good counsel and mentoring: In a previous article, we talked about the importance of getting a career coach. The perspective of a senior person who can help you navigate your career is an invaluable asset to […]