What’s the role of a career coach?
The role of a career coach is to help you work out what you’d like to do and how to get there.
The world of work is changing at a dizzying speed; many of the companies transforming the world today didn’t even exist five or ten years ago. According to the Institute for the Future, more than 85% of the jobs in 2030 are yet to be created. So developing your self-knowledge and knowing your strengths, skills and interests is critical to make sure you lean your ladder up against the right career wall.
Much careers advice in secondary and tertiary education is lamentable – often led by individuals who although well-intentioned, are utterly removed from today’s professional world. And with the workplace un-recognisable from a generation ago, well-meaning advice from parents and their friends can also be limited in its usefulness. For those already in work, there is often pressure from family and peers not to change – the status quo is always more appealing – but is it really?
Work takes up the majority of one’s waking day, week and life. Approximately 3,515 days out of an average life span of 30,000 days are spent at work so it’s really important to do what you love and love what you do. To put this in context, by the age of eighteen 6,574 days have gone, by the time you’ve hit your 30th birthday, 10,950 days have gone and at 50 years old, 18,262 days have passed. You don’t want to waste one minute of your one precious life doing stuff that’s doesn’t take you closer to where you want to be.
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Working with a career coach helps you work out what’s important to you; what sort of a person you are, which are the most suitable career paths where your skills, personality and experience will be most valued and where you will thrive.
Coaching can range from a single coaching session to a series of more regular coaching to meet the client’s specific objectives. A session is typically between one and two hours but the length depends on the nature and range of the discussion. Some career coaches offer a mentoring approach – providing practical guidance on how to prepare your personal brand (CV, elevator pitch and social media profiles), where to look and how best to apply for roles that suit you. They may even be able to help you with networks or job shadowing opportunities through their contacts. Depending on the coach, sessions can be face to face or online, often supported with email and text support with homework often given.
Some coaching organisations also offer skills assessments and independent reports which can be really useful in helping identify strengths, and personalities and potential career paths. A qualified and experienced career coach will take you through the nuances of your report. Some personality assessments are freely available online like 16PF and MBTI these can be helpful in getting clarity on what sort of person you are which is useful in understanding what sort of organisation you’d be suited to.
Working with a coach to help clarify your skills and strengths is not only critical in order to chose the career path that’s right for you – self awareness and interpersonal skills, confidence and motivation are key skills employers are looking for. There will likely be many others like you with your academic background or formal training – you need to stand out – get your personal qualities to shine. Your coach will help you develop these and more. Alternatively, you can work through the Forward Career Coaching ‘How to get a Great Job Workbook’ in your own time.
Remember, working in a role/organization that does not suit your natural strengths and interests can be a pathway to disaster.
Alice: “ Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
The Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
Alice: “I don’t much care where –”
The Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.
Don’t be like Alice! A career coach will help you work out what you’d like to do and where you’d like to go so that all your energies can focus on getting you to where you want to. As Bill Gates said ‘Everyone needs a coach.’
Investing in a career coach is one of the best things you can do.