Many people come to a fork in the road several times during their careers where they ask themselves if they need to change direction.
That change could be working the same job for someone else, seeking a promotion internally or elsewhere or changing careers altogether. To make these decisions we often ask friends and colleagues for their advice, and do our own research online reading relevant blogs and news articles. But how many of us have actually considered seeing a career coach?
The decision whether or not to see a career coach usually comes down to cost, and doubts about whether they can really understand who you are, what you’re interested in and where you want to go. Often you don’t know the answer to these questions yourself, so how can someone else? Paying someone to help us find a job when we may be unemployed and short of cash is also a little frightening, but there are many advantages to seeking professional advice if you’re unsure of your next career move.
The search for employment can be lonely
Often the search for a new career can be a lonely pursuit. You may have friends and family around to offer advice and support, but often it isn’t objective and you are the one who ultimately makes the decisions. Maybe you’ve left school or university, or been fired from your job and the search for employment has begun.
You are asking yourself questions only you can answer and even then sometimes you can’t quite work it out. You’ll be searching for courses and jobs alone, your routine will be compromised and part of your identity from study or work has been taken away from you. With time on our hands often we can procrastinate and find other things to do, rather than get down to the task of working out what we want to do for a career and formulate a plan to get there. You are often lost in your own thoughts and start to wonder why no one has called you back or if your cover letters and resume are good enough. A career coach can provide you with actionable tasks and clear goals to be achieved one step at a time.
A fresh sets of eyes and ears
There are so many questions that need answering when we’re trying to decide what your next career move is:
- What am I really good at?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- What industries are looking for people with my skills?
- How can I make contact with them?
- Is my CV good enough
- Do I need additional training
- What should I say during an interview? etc.
All of these questions and many more are valid, and sometimes it’s impossible for you, or your friends and family, to give you the answers you need. A professional career coach can provide the perspective you need, whereas the opinions of those close to you, and even yourself, can be biased.
Not only will an experienced career coach be able to give you sound technical advice such as resume and letter writing, and what to say and do during an interview, but also give expert opinion on where your skills can take you and what additional skills you’ll need to get you where you want to go. And if you don’t know where you actually want to take your career, they can help with those decisions as well! The best career coaches will quiz and probe you to determine your talents, personality and ambition. They will provide honest feedback, because their only focus is pointing you in the right direction to successfully finding the career you want.
Not more tests!
Nobody likes sitting tests, but seeing a career coach and being put through a series of assessment tests can really make a difference to your job search focus. You’ll be able to determine what careers are best for you based on your current skill set, and what skills you need to learn to get where you’d ultimately like to be. You may discover that you don’t actually need to leave your current job. You may just need to upskill in order to move into a role that will deliver job satisfaction.
Make the most of your career coaching sessions
If you decide to see a career coach, the next step is to make sure you’re prepared for what is coming. Unlike when you take an item of clothing to a dry cleaner, pay some money and return later to collect it, going to a career coach involves actively participating every step of the way. The career coach can only do so much, and what they can’t do is read your mind, go to the interviews, and make all of your decisions for you. And don’t expect them to tell you exactly what jobs to go for either. Their job is to help you discover for yourself what your professional calling is. To get the most out of your sessions you need to be completely open and honest. Don’t give answers to questions because you think that’s what they want to hear, or because it may lead you down the path of a career you think you might want. The only way to truly determine what the best career is for you and how you’re going to get there, is to leave all inhibitions at the door. Don’t just go through the motions and be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. Accept that preconceived ideas you may have had about yourself could be wrong, and your abilities and talents may be best served in another field.
When deciding on whether to go to a career coach, you need to look at it from a purely business point of view. Do a cost-benefit analysis and work out if the benefits of seeing one outweigh the financial and time costs you will incur. If the answer is yes then book an appointment today, after all this is a huge decision that could affect the rest of your life. If a career coach can get you into a great job quickly, then surely the expense is worth it. Alternatively, if you know what you want to do and how you’re going to get there, then clearly you aren’t going to need a career coach. But the only person that can make the decisions is you…so what are you waiting for?