Career coaching helped me find more job satisfaction, gain confidence in my abilities, and put me in charge of my professional image. Now, as a career coach myself, I get to pay it forward. However, not everyone understands what career coaching is or how it might benefit them.
When you hear the word “coach,” what comes to mind?
For some, they’re thrown back into flashbacks of a high school team huddle with a literal coach shouting, “run it again.” For others, the term evokes something more cringey—imagery of self-help mantras, social media marketing schemes, and promises that seem too good to be true.
I’ll be the first to tell you it is difficult to identify value and authenticity when it comes to coaching. Those seeking the help that quality coaching can offer may approach their search from a place of scarcity and desperation. They need help getting out of a dead-end job, feel blind to identifying what other options are available to them, and this leaves them vulnerable to quick-fix solutions that don’t always pan out, but almost always charge a premium.
Career coaching is a legitimate service with the potential to help others find a better life trajectory. Take it from someone who’s been on that side of the fence. One day I was graduating feeling the highest sense of purpose as a future teacher. Years later, I felt stuck, burned out, and paralyzed by dissatisfaction and the overwhelming sense that I had no idea how to get myself out and headed in the right direction.
In this article, I’ll highlight six ways professionals of all breeds can grow from a quality career coaching service.
[1. Design Your Life]
How much time did you spend actually planning and defining your career before you started working? While few people have tunnel vision and know exactly what they want in their work, most professionals grow up hearing very little about career planning and professional development and don’t have someone in their lives who mentors them on the importance of integrating work with other parts of their lives. While this norm is changing, most people have never considered what they value and how their values show up—or don’t— in their jobs.
At Career Benders, we believe in designing your work around your life instead of the other way around. While the balance between living to work and working to live ebbs and flows throughout one’s life, we know our clients’ lives hold meaning across various important areas.
Great career coaching starts here. A coach will work with a client to identify what’s most important to them, what they need, what they want, and what unique circumstances are legitimate factors in their lives that they should consider when looking for work.
The best coaches don’t tell their clients the answers. They may help level expectations, but they don’t place judgment or assign a currency to any response. Instead, they aid their clients in unveiling these values themselves. Having this clarity takes time to identify but is paramount and serves as a guiding framework for someone’s overall decision-making and career growth. Don’t settle for less.
[2. Learn the System]
Career coaches are experts in the field of work. A good one will know things about the state of labor, hiring processes, and interview strategies that, today, you don’t. In this way, a career coach serves as a teacher and as an intelligence asset.
For example, most jobs use applicant tracking systems as the first step in reviewing a resume. This means to even have your resume land in front of a real human, you first need a resume that is formatted and compliant with the artificial intelligence software responsible for translating your work experience. Career coaches can teach you ways to make your resume more effective. Better yet, some are trained in the art of resume writing and can refurbish yours into a much more polished document, showcasing your skills and unique abilities.
Unfortunately, time is not a renewable resource. When I started my career change, I knew I lacked a lot of industry expertise, so I sought a coach to help me understand the systems at play and teach me how to apply this new knowledge to my job search strategy, speeding up my search timeline. I went from feeling like another brick in the wall to feeling a sense of awareness and greater control over the process.
[3.Understand the Power of a Network]
Ever heard the saying, “Your network is your net worth”? While it may sound like it’s coming straight from the lips of some start-up bro in Silicon Valley, there’s a great deal of validity to these words. Relationships matter and good people will help you find good opportunities.
Having a quality network is essential to growing in your career. When looking for a new opportunity, making connections and learning from others is important. Networking may come easily to some or feels like terror to others. Either way, a good coach can take your natural ability to a new level or help you develop foundational networking skills like finding informational interviews.
Networking is also a great way to pay things forward for others and lend a helping hand where you can.
Career coaching can help you reframe the way you think about a network, giving it value and depending on its meaning beyond just using people into approaching it as a two-way street. Like a financial advisor, A coach can consult with you on diversifying your network to be a strong asset in your professional portfolio.
[4. Leverage Transferable Skills]
The labor market is shifting beneath our feet. Amidst the Great Reshuffling, we also have an aging population leaving the workforce and a declining birth rate. Despite these circumstances, there are now more jobs than there are people. As a result, employers are forced to rethink how they attract, train, and retain their employees.
The good news about all of this change is that we are starting to work in a skills market. More people will change careers than what was once normal. Companies are beginning to focus less on a candidate’s similar job titles and more on what durable and transferable skills they can bring to the work.
Within this reality, workers are empowered when they understand their current skills and how they can translate across industry and job titles. Career coaching can help professionals identify relevant skill gaps, capitalize on their current skills, and craft a narrative that helps clients own their professional brand and level up in their careers.
[5. Overcome Paralysis by Analysis]
We spend most of our lives working, so it’s easy to get stuck in our heads about how our career determines our self-worth. People often approach a job search with motivation and vigor only to find themselves in the black hole of overanalyzing each job posting, application, and opportunity. Soon enough, it becomes too overwhelming, and avoidance creeps in.
Vigilant worrying and self-criticism about how you’ll never measure up thrive in the comfortable corners of our isolated minds aka imposter syndrome. Career coaching can end this quarantine.
A career coach is an accountability resource and a thoughtful partner in your success. The simple nature of having a person and a space where you can process your thoughts aloud, ask questions, and seek feedback is a powerful antidote. Further, coaching helps to narrow your focus, set goals, and steer forward.
[6. Gain Confidence, Find Meaning, and Own Your Story:]
Whether it’s a dead-end job with no path for growth, a toxic culture, financial barriers, or a lack of fulfillment, finding job satisfaction and meaning in our work starts with choosing to believe in yourself.
While not everyone needs a career coach, the guidance that coaching offers can be a key resource for many. When I made a career change, having a trusted champion in my corner made all the difference in seeing possibility in myself and cultivating inspiration that kept me focused on the hard days.
Career coaching helped me gain confidence in my abilities, identify areas I could grow, name what values were most important to me in my approach to work, and map a plan for achieving my version of success. Perhaps most importantly, I learned to own my story.
You can .
Career coaching may be a great option if you’re stuck or uncertain about your next steps.
Are you ready to take control of your career? Schedule a free strategy session with one of our career coaches today.