These days it seems there’s a coach for everything. But, when it comes to managing your career, what can a career coach do for you? After all, you’ve got this far on your own and you’ve done pretty well… right?
If you’re contented, effective and fulfilled and in your ideal job then the chances are you don’t need a career coach right now. But if you feel like:
- You really should be somewhere else but you don’t know where,
- You’re being held back by your lack of skills or belief
- You want more satisfaction from your working day
- You want to do more than just survive the working day
then it’s time to take action and seek help. That way you’ll avoid making the following common mistakes:
1. Believing that you know what the problem is and how to fix it
You’re fed up at work, no one appreciates you and you get overlooked. The solution is obvious, isn’t it? You work with idiots that can’t recognise a good thing when they see it! Well, that may be the case but perhaps you need a new mindset.
Or perhaps this scenario resonates with you. Your first step into line management is harder than it looked and you’re stressed. You are reluctant to admit that to those that promoted you or your former peers whom you now need to manage.
So, what to do?
You could plough on regardless and hope things get better, and well it might. But a better plan would be to seek expert support in confidence building and skills development. Career coaching will help you to see your situation from a variety of perspectives. It will draw out your skills and blind spots, identify actions to improve your working relationships and help you get recognition.
“A wise man changes before he has to”
2. Not accepting that your career is your responsibility
People love to help someone who is showing initiative; someone prepared to do what’s needed to get the edge on their competitors. Career coaching can help you develop that edge and hence show your proactivity.
If you know what you want from work and life then conversations with your manager, the HR function, key stakeholders in your project, potential customers or networking groups become so much more powerful. A career coach will help you discover what really motivates you and help you formulate your career plans and strategies to make your working day more successful.
“This is your world. Shape it or someone else will”
3. Relying on friends and family for guidance
Great idea. But only if:
- They work in your industry
- Are up to date on recruitment techniques
- Understand office politics and organisational behaviour
- are prepared to drop out of friend or family mode to adopt the support and challenge techniques of a coach!
That’s a tall order from people who care about you and won’t want to upset you. And they might well have their own agenda such as trying to protect you from failure and keeping you close to home. Their advice and support will be well intentioned but it won’t be objective.
Keep your friends as friends and rely on the professionals for your career development!
4. Waiting for something better to happen to your career as if by magic
With no clear vision of your future role you won’t recognise an opportunity when it comes along. There is plenty of science to prove that when you know what you’re looking for, you’re much more likely to find it. With a vision, you’ll be able to create opportunities and get support from others via powerful, targeted and effective conversations.
A career coach will connect you with your motivations, work aspirations, life goals and values. Few people understand what drives them and risk spending their working life unhappy and unfulfilled. If you know your motivators and your blind spots, you’ll develop a new perspective on work and how it can work for you. You will be able to develop the skills which matter most to your success and future direction.
“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their growth”
(Sir John Whitmore)
5. Expecting that good work will be enough to get promotion and recognition
I was once told that I was good but that, unfortunately for me, I didn’t work in a “meritocracy” and being good wasn’t enough. As someone motivated by recognition, I took this to heart! Here are a few thoughts about expecting good things from doing good work that are worth bearing in mind:
- Doing good work consistently will not get you recognition if the right people don’t know you did it. If you don’t know who the right people are, then get a plan for next time or ask!
- “Just” doing the work you’re paid to do, no matter how fantastic it is, will not be enough to gain promotion or enhanced training opportunities.
- People notice negatives more than positives. Doing good work and delivering it late, because you have difficulties prioritising or delegating, definitely isn’t going to help you get on!
A career coach will help you:
- Remove your blinkers and form a more objective view of your relative performance so you’ll be able to develop strategies and skills to delegate and prioritise
- Form a career plan that enables you to brief a mentor and reach out to the right influencers in your organisation
- Build the confidence to go beyond the day job and show your full range of capabilities.
- Overcome frustration with your job with preparation for your performance review so you can have a productive conversation with a fair outcome.
6. Thinking that engaging a coach is a sign of weakness
We all engage specialists to support us in our day-to-day lives. Why is engaging a coach to help move on your career any different to engaging a conveyancer to help you move house?
Even if we think we’re pretty good at something, we can still be better. Andy Murray is a great tennis player but he wouldn’t be without a coach to help him to keep improving.
So why shouldn’t you hire a career coach to help you work on your career game plan?
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t”
7. Expecting the firm’s HR function to be on hand
If you have access to an HR department, then you know how busy they are. They would love to help you for sure. But how much time can you realistically expect them to spend with you to brainstorm your options, prepare for an interview (even an internal one) or help you deal with a difficult colleague?
Could your manager help instead of HR? Perhaps. But perhaps not if you’re wanting to escape their department or they’re your biggest headache!
Your organisation can best support you when you have a career plan and/or you’ve identified your development needs. Imagine how much more powerful your conversations on your next steps would then be.
Help others to invest in you by showing your commitment to your own development. This is most important for those of you coming to the end of management trainee programmes or professional qualification schemes. Your company will look to you to have an idea of what you want to do next else they will soon stop taking an interest. A career coach can help you structure your plans and identify the right direction for you.
8. Assuming that a coach isn’t worth the investment
Ultimately, it comes down to what price you put on freedom and fulfilment. Working with me over three months costs c.£400. That’s the difference between:
- Promotion or staying put
- Having the right job in the wrong place and finding the courage to find a workplace that shares your values.
- Staying unfulfilled in a permanent role or pursuing your dream of self-employment.
Aren’t you worth that?
A coach challenged and motivated me to overcome my fear and leave full time employment to go freelance contracting. And I’ve never looked back. I earned more as a contractor and have had control over my own destiny ever since. That coach was worth his weight in gold. Not only to me but to all my loved ones. At last they were spared my constant banging on about what I should do with the rest of my life!
A one-off session costs under £100. In that one session you could:
- Resolve your challenging working relationships
- Develop compelling new goals
- Rehearse an interview
- And more besides.
What value would you put on starting the day with confidence and a sense of purpose? That’s got to be better than feeling anxious and overwhelmed before the day has even begun!
“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you”
(Robin S. Sharma)
If by now you’re convinced that working with a coach is exactly what you need – or even if you’re not – call me for a FREE clarity call. Find out more about how I can help you develop fresh perspective on your life in business.
You’ve nothing to lose and a more fulfilled life to gain.
Shirley, The Change Agent. 07990 514537