Article written by Nick Roud, Award Winning Coach 2024
Career coaches offer a range of professional services from helping you navigate what you want to do and achieve in your career, working through the ups and downs of job searching, bringing your authentic voice to interviews, crafting a resume that truly reflects who you are to being a healthy sounding board.
Good career coaches will not tell you what you need to do but ask the right questions so you find the answers. They will partner you and sit along side you as you personally work through situations. A career coach is not a mentor, they are your trusted coach.
It’s not uncommon for a professional to have a career coach throughout their professional career no different to that of an elite sportsperson working with their dedicated coach. That relationship will be build on trust, an appetite to enable the professional to be the very best that they must be. The relationship may start out in a structured format over say 4-6 months with regular meetings. Each meeting will have focus and determined outcomes and or work on prior to the next coaching sessions will be reached. Over time move those regular meetings may move to more ad-hoc meetings say twice a year where high level discussions will be had to measure progress, personal and professional achievements and areas that might need refining. See those meetings a bit like getting your annual health check completed, important yes, but above all reassuring that you are where you need to be.
So How Do You Decided You Need A Career Coach?
There will be times and situations during your professional career where conversations with partners, family and or friends may not uncover the real answers. Our partners, family and friends may struggle due to the relationship to ask the elephant in the room questions. They may agree with you to avoid conflict and or hurt your feelings. That’s not to say all a career coach will do is ask uncomfortable questions far from it, your career coach will also deeply care for your success and want you to achieve great things and in doing so set high expectations of you. There may be times that you need an external sounding board, someone who is a little distance from your current situation where you can safely explore options, thoughts, ideas and then realistically put together a workable career plan. That distance takes out the emotions and brings reality to life.
A career coach’s role is to ensure you get to where you need to be and by doing so will encourage you, provoke you, challenged you, stretch you and give you the space to think clearly. Above all the good career coaches will be your biggest cheerleaders and give you a kick up the arse when you are not putting in the effort and or commitment that will be needed for you to achieve your results.
The career coaching relationship like any professional relationship will be strictly confidential, that means nothing will be shared back to your partners, family, friends and or to your place of work. The engagement should have an engagement letter, terms of business, non-disclosure document and commitments. These are your rules that will ensure the coaching engagement is set up to be successful.
There are many career coaches around, the good ones have ensured they are certified, accredited and legally allowed to coach. They will have insurance for their work and be very clear during the initial conversation that they are the best coach or not for you. A bit like a good accountant, lawyer and or builder, recommendations will go a long way for you too ensure that that particular career coach is the best fit for you.
It would be wise to ensure when looking to engage with a career coach that you do your due-diligence, checking out a few things will ensure your are working with the best coach for you. Meeting say 3 career coaches would be a good number, and, during those meetings understand the career coaches backgrounds, how they operate, what services do they offer, what has been their success and failures. How do they charge by the hour, by the block or results based. Find out what their ROI (return on investment) is for previous professionals who have worked with them.
I’d also encourage you to be clear on where you are at right now, and the reason you are considering hiring a career coach. Getting the fit right will also be a very important aspect to the professional relationship. Chances are if your gut is telling you don’t go there then my advice would be to politely say thank you and keep looking for a coach that fits with you.
You Are Not Progressing Quickly Enough In Your Career!
Many professionals who I have the privilege of coaching here at Roud Career Coaching are looking to advance their careers. They are driven, high achievers and want to be the very best that they can be. That means they are potentially looking to move into a bigger role. A good career coach will be able to offer suitable leadership assessments that will bring evidence to life on where you currently are in your leadership. Those assessments will look at where you see yourself and where others see you. This is in the form of a leadership 360 degree assessment. Don’t be forced into using the coaches assessments. It has to be right for you and your situation. My clients utilise them as an evidence based option. Getting up to date clarity on thier leadership strengths and or development areas is a real game changer for them and once completed the individual can then put in place a plan to ensure they have the best chances of landing that bigger position over time. What might get uncovered are some small or gapping holes which need to be worked on in order for you to be ready.
Working with a professional career coach will ensure nothing is left unsaid. Trust should be made effortlessly, open dialogue will ensure you are progressing effectively. If you are not progressing in your career working with an external career coach will uncover why.
Let’s say you keep getting rejected from a bigger role in your current organisation and you are not getting any supportive feedback. No matter how polished your interview, presentation etc, are the executive team and or board don’t want you to leave your current position as you are too valuable to the company. A good career coach will help you understand where you are now, what you might want to work on and more importantly bring reality to the conversation all the while not not affecting your relationships at work. Nine times out of ten you will never be considered for a bigger role within your current company, an external move may be the only option for you to consider.
Your Resume Isn’t Hitting The Mark!
Ensuring your professional documents are ready can be a real daunting challenge. How do I ensure I am capturing what is relevant and what to leave out? An experienced career coach will work with you to either refresh your current resume or breath life into a brand new one.
The career coach of 2024 will appreciate, understand and know first hand how resumes need to be written, they will be able to support you through all the various hurdles and keep things very simple. To be clear, 2024 is not a time for War and peace resumes. The career coach job will be to ensure you are articulating your professional strengths and key transferable skills that will enable you to get called in for an interview.
If you have applied for say 5+ positions and still nothing then I would consider engaging with a Career Coach. This is the perfect time to engage with a career coach or more importantly prior to commencing your job search, find a career coach and put a plan together first to avoid possibly getting rejected. A good career coach will ensure your biggest assets are highlighted in your resume. During your resume coaching sessions your career coach will also ensure that your LinkedIn profile is reflecting your current resume.
You Are Invited In For Interviews But Not Being Offered The Role!
Interviews are very complex, no two people are the same just as no two interviews will ever be the same. Understanding what is working and what’s not is vitally important. What to start doing and what to stop doing!
A good career coach will help you ensure you are targeting the right interviews and once identified will help you articulate yourself to your audience. They will not script things, they will encourage natural conversation to flow. Remembering an interview is a two way conversation the career coach will provide valuable insights into how you are interviewing along with suggestions that will allow you to make a greater impact. Different interviews will take different approaches, from panel led interviews to presentations, to informal coffee chats. A career coach will help your thinking and ensure you are as ready as you can be.
Your Confidence Is Bouncing Around!
We all go through highs and lows in our career and life. Whilst most career coaches are not trained psychologist it’s important to remember that confidence plays a huge part in any humans success. Many clients work with me on ensuring confidence is balanced. Getting to a place where you understand what triggers your confidence, and you feel your best is what we are looking for. Being over confident will hinder you as will imposter syndrome. Getting clarity on when, how and where confidence fluctuates and deflates will be a process that good career coaches will explore with you.
How To Hire A Career Coach?
We started this article ensuring that you get the very most from your professional relationship with a career coach. It will serve you well if you do your due-diligence. Simply looking on Google and calling the first company that springs up might not be the best approach. I’d encourage you to speak, interview three career coaches.
Some questions you may want to ask them;
- How long they have been in business
- What are their credentials and coaching qualifications
- What services do they offer
- Can they give any referees to contact and or testimonials from previous clients
- What are their fees.
- What successes and failures have occurred for them as a coach
Research their website, where are their offices, do they operate face to face or via conference calls. Work out what is best for your current career coaching needs? Be as clear as you can with your potential coach. Once you have landed on your preferred coach make sure you have legal terms of business and rules of engagement. Ask about what makes them unique and successful in the coaching work they do.
Finally if you are stuck on two career coaches my thoughts would be go with your gut!
Jump in and get to work. I look forward to being of service to you and your professional career development.
Roud Career Coaching
Helping Professionals in their Careers since 2006. Global Award Winning Certified Coach.