What is career coaching and who is it for?
Career Coaching is for anyone who wants to make a change in their career. I work with individuals at the beginning of their exploration, at midpoint through their current role, when embarking on a new career or indeed closing a work chapter.
Over the last 200 hundred years, life expectancy has nearly doubled in the UK. People are living longer than previous generations meaning a longer working life for many and a greater number of people will have the opportunity to change jobs more frequently. Some look to diversify their skills and build experiences and even pivot their career completely.
Having a predictable, linear career will become less usual as more people undertake different roles reflecting the differing chapters of their lives. This can be incredibly freeing but potentially more than a little daunting.
According to a study carried out by the UK’s Work and Learning Institute in 2022, one in three adults report they want to change jobs, but the majority think they lack the skills to switch to a new role as they feel they lack the transferable or specific skills.
So if you want to change but don’t believe you have the skills to do so, what are your options for career change, promotion or leadership development? Perhaps you could consider engaging with a career coach, someone who can assist you to maximise your potential, overcome obstacles, and navigate the complexities of the job market, ultimately leading to greater satisfaction and success in your professional life.
There are any number of scenarios where you may benefit from seeking guidance from a career coach including returning to work after an absence due to illness or maternity/paternity leave, to improving your prospects at your current organisation. You may be feeling stuck in your current career or perhaps you’d like to future proof your skill-set or brush up on your interview technique.
It can be challenging to even think about your next career chapter when you’re in a full-on current role. Taking time with a career coach can give you the headspace and structure you need to identify for yourself your next potential chapter.
And it’s not always about changing your job or career completely in order to gain deeper satisfaction in your working life. It can be useful to spend time unearthing your hidden talents and then working out ways you could incorporate these in your current role or organisation. It’s surprising how often people minimise their unique skills assuming everyone has the same innate abilities when this is really not the case.
Coaching can increase success for entrepreneurs and founders who may face unique challenges due to the isolated position they inhabit. Which is proving common for young entrepreneurs, who pose dilemmas in finding a suitable mentor or objective sounding board. And when your business is thriving and totally all-consuming, how do you go about finding what might seem elusive flexibility of work/life balance that is often desired?
You may not have considered it before, but perhaps a career coach would be a good start in helping you address your career questions. Whether you are navigating a career change or looking for insight to climb the ladder in your current organisation, a career coach can help you in a number of different ways.
How can a career coach help?
1. Defining what success means for you
Have you ever really invested time in truly unearthing what your career goals are? It can be easy to assume it’s the next rung of the ladder or a certain number on your payslip, but is that truly what’s in your heart? Increasingly clients are coming to me at very senior levels in advanced careers and are struggling to find meaning in their lives because having attained what they thought they wanted, they’ve discovered that wasn’t it after all.
A career coach can help you gain clarity about your career aspirations and identify your long-term and short-term goals. They can assist you in exploring different career paths and determining which ones align best with your skills, interests, and values. They can help you clarify your career goals and think holistically about what success means for you as an individual rather than getting caught up in what other people think or what success looks like on instagram.
2. Developing a career plan
Whilst career is the main topic I typically work with clients to explore what their longer term intentions are for life more broadly as these will have a significant interplay.
What is your long term intention? What are the short, medium and long term goals that set you off on a different path? Building a sense of intention towards where you see yourself in the future is a more flexible and adaptive way to create and build your own sense of your personal vision. Spending time envisioning what your life may look like in 10 or 20 years can be highly informative and give you clear signals as to whether or not you are on the right path.
Once you have a clear vision of your career goals, a career coach can help you create a strategic plan to achieve them. They can act as a sounding board, a thought partner in assisting you in setting realistic and actionable objectives, ultimately holding yourself to account. It’s important to outline the steps needed to progress in your chosen field so you can start to get a sense of where resistance may show up.
3. Assessing strengths and aligning to your values
Reflecting on your personal Values and drivers: There is something magical in working with individuals to unearth and identify their true strengths, values, drivers and natural abilities. Not everyone is aware of the power of working in harmony with our innate abilities and it can be easy to minimise our strengths in favour of focussing on areas where we feel we need to improve.
- Evaluate your strengths and skill set: Before leaving your current role, research potential ones you’d like to pursue to ensure you have the skill set needed to complete the job’s requirements. If you need more advanced training, you can take online courses to earn certifications while you stay in your current role until you have a strong enough skill set to move to a new position.
- Evaluate your current academic level: If you’re interested in a position that requires advanced education, consider staying in your current role and attending courses until you achieve the academic qualifications needed to work in your ideal career.
- Evaluate role responsibilities and requirements: Evaluate the responsibilities of your current role to decide which you prefer at your next job. It’s also important to think about what elements make you want to leave your current position, like company culture or job responsibilities. If you’d like to complete the same job responsibilities, but in a different company culture, keep this in mind as you interview with potential companies and learn more about their work environments.
- Evaluate your Financial position: As you prepare for a new role, determine if you’re financially stable enough for a career change. For instance, the new job title you’re interested in may pay less than your current one. Evaluate your finances carefully to ensure you’re not undergoing a significant pay decrease that could adversely affect you.
4. Enhancing job search strategies
It’s not easy finding a new job and can feel like an endless task. It can be incredibly helpful to have someone objective to discuss a personalised approach based on your goals. If you’re actively searching for a job, a career coach can help you optimise your job search strategies. They can assist with crafting an effective resume and cover letter, improving your interview skills, and providing insights into networking techniques and online presence.
5. Overcoming career obstacles
We can all find ourselves stuck from time to time or in situations that can feel tough to navigate alone. I know from working with leaders across different industries that even the most seemingly insurmountable issues can be resolved or navigated successfully when you spend dedicated time with a coach.
Career coaches can help you navigate challenges and obstacles that may arise during your professional journey. They can provide guidance on overcoming setbacks, dealing with workplace conflicts, managing career transitions, and developing resilience.
6. Building Personal Accountability and support
Sometimes we can be our own best coaches and at other times we can put ourselves under paralysing pressure to do something or make a change and it can cause a spiral effect keeping you trapped. A skilled career coach knows how to motivate you without creating guilt or a feeling of ‘should’ that it’s all too easy to give ourselves when we strive for accountability ourselves.
Through the career coaching I offer, I often serve as an accountability partner, helping you stay focused and motivated on your career goals. They can provide support, encouragement, and objective feedback throughout the process, empowering you to stay on track and make progress. They can also support you in developing a proposal or business case for your specific needs.
7. Networking and connections
Even if you’re a natural networker, there are always ways you can improve or new avenues for you to explore. For some people, networking fills them with fear and does not come naturally, however there are techniques that can make it easier and the right coach will be able to guide you based on your personality profile.
Career coaches often have extensive professional networks and can introduce you to relevant contacts in your industry. They can provide guidance on networking strategies and help you build meaningful connections that may lead to career opportunities.
Career coaches can be useful at any number of points in your career, and can offer valuable guidance, expertise, and support throughout your development journey. In addition, you may wish to take a broader approach and engage with life coaching and examine your life holistically.
Career Change Coaching
If you’re feeling stuck or would like support and guidance for your next career move, I offer free 20 minute consultations. We can discuss where you are now and where you want to be and how we could potentially work together.