Coaching in general is an industry that has grown exponentially over the last decade or so. It all started in sports, where the best athletes made use of a coach to improve their skills and to stay ahead of the competition. Coaching has spread to our everyday lives and nowadays you can be coached on anything from your relationship to your career.
Most people have never used a career coach but they know of somebody that has. Some people will use a career coach every time they change jobs, although the rule of thumb is rather that a career coach is useful when an individual is considering a major change in their career, such as switching industries completely or relocating.
The career coach will:
- Try to find out your life purpose and suggest careers that are aligned with this. The closer your job is to your purpose, the happier and more satisfied you will feel.
- Help you recognize what jobs you are suited for based on your talents, personality, and ambition. These can be detected through general discussion, testing, and probing questions. The best coaches are very honest and will tell you what you can and what your limitations are likely to be.
- Assist you to clarify your long term career goals and creating a roadmap to achieve them. This is a long process and can take a few sessions.
- Structure your job search, help with your application documents as well as coach you through job interviews.
The career coach won’t:
- Tell you exactly what job you should go for. The idea of having somebody telling you exactly what you should do and make your decisions for you is not what career coaching is about. Like a Freudian psychotherapist, the coach will not be giving you the answers but rather ask probing questions for you to reach the solution yourself. Just like with psychotherapy, this can be a lengthy process so the more clarity you have already, the quicker this process will be.
- Know everything about you and what you should pursue. Some coaches will purport to have the answers and solutions to your career before you sign up and have your first session. Stay away from any coach claiming this, as this is impossible. It’s impossible for a coach to turbocharge your career, only you can make this happen.
- Come with you to interviews or write your CV. They are there to assist you with a job application process, not to do it for you.
Cost & time scales:
The fees charged by career coaches vary greatly and you should definitely shop around for a deal. Expect to pay anything from $100 to $500 for a two-hour session. Remember that being a coach is a very popular profession and there is a great deal of competition, which plays into your hands as the buyer. The sessions are usually paid upfront for a number of hours with the coach.
You should be able to swing a free initial consultation, to get a feel for the coach and their methods before deciding whether you want to continue.
As for the time scales, career coaching can take anything from one session to a full-year program with fortnightly sessions or checkups rather.
The best way to find one:
Coaching is not regulated in any way and there are myriads of self-appointed career coaches out there. The best way to go about finding the right one for you is to ask friends, coworkers and perhaps even your HR department who they can recommend and why. You will want to find a coach that works with people in your industry, that has added value to others (a good coach should have references available) and that is within your price range.
Make sure you get a coach that treats you as a preferred client and not just another appointment of the week. If the coach sounds very busy, best to check with someone that will have the time to focus on you and your needs.
So is it worth it?
Yes and no. The determining question here is really: Do you know what you want to do and how to get there? If so, do it yourself. If you are unsure about what career direction to take, if you have little idea of how to get somewhere – speak to a coach and see what they can do for you. Remember to always get a free consultation first!