A career coach is similar to having a personal trainer, but instead of improving your fitness, career coaching can improve your professional health. Whether you want assistance to identify your employment goals, advice on what your training options are or support for when you’re unsure what to do next with your job, working with an independent expert can provide you with much-needed clarity, motivation and encouragement. Here are ten ways that career coaching can help you, whatever your situation.
1. You’ve finished studying but don’t know what career path to take now
Once you graduate, the world (and your future working life) is apparently your oyster. However, deciding what to do next can be a daunting prospect.
Maybe you’ve realised you’ve studied the wrong degree, and you’re not keen on working in that particular field. Or perhaps you’re overwhelmed by all the opportunities open to you, and feel unable to make progress with any of them?
Career coaching can help you to consider all your options after university, make a sustainable, long term choice and put a plan into action. This could be choosing a graduate job, enrolling on a postgraduate course, setting up a business or even travelling the world.
For example, if you’re put off certain roles because you’d have to return to studying to be qualified for them your career coach can help you to weigh up what you have to gain from the investment in your time and money and advise of potential sources of funding if you’re not sure that further study is affordable.
2. You’ve started working and realised you’ve made the wrong choice
As you go through life you make decisions. Not every choice you make will be the best one for you.
If you feel that you have made a bad employment choice, rather than resigning immediately it can be helpful to talk to a career coach. Discover whether if it’s worthwhile sticking with the job until you’ve learnt enough for it to be useful on your resume or leaving now.
3. You’re not sure where the passion’s gone – and how to get it back
If the enjoyment has gone from your working day, career coaching can help you to identify whether or not the path you are on now is sustainable. Will you be satisfied long-term in this role? Sometimes it’s okay to have a job you are more or less happy with, especially if you just want something that pays the bills.
But when a job is no longer right for you, you can get advice on how to develop a plan to move on and find a new role to reignite your passion. Career coaches can also guide you on how to get professional satisfaction from doing something which is a bit dull.
4. You’re looking for a fresh start in a new job, or even want to change careers entirely
Few of us pick the right job on our first try. When someone’s not in their dream job, they often want to find something they are passionate about and hopefully find their true calling.
If you have made a poor choice, recognise it and take action. Remember, the only wrong career choice is the one in which you stay in a job you know is not right for you.
When thinking about changing jobs, it’s important to find the right one this time. Not sure where to start? A career coach can show you how to research, evaluate and apply for potential jobs before you make any life-changing decisions.
5. You didn’t get the promotion you’ve been aiming for
Getting promotions, even when you have the right skills and experience, is not always easy. Specialist advice can show you how to move upwards within an organisation.
Sometimes a new role will require you to do things differently to what you were doing before. Identifying what you need to learn to succeed in a higher role will increase your chances of promotion. You can also learn how to demonstrate your value to an organisation and improve your influencing skills. Having the tools, techniques and skills you need for promotion can fast track you towards your next role.
Being overlooked for a more senior role doesn’t always mean you have to quit. When there seems to be a lack of career advancement opportunities in your current role, a career coach will show you ways to ask your line manager or HR department about how you can take on more responsibilities and advance professionally.
6. You’ve missed out on getting a pay rise
Have your colleagues received a pay increase when you didn’t? Perhaps you feel like you’ve been overlooked regarding your pay and you don’t know why? If you lack the skills to ask for a pay rise, are you missing out on getting the remuneration you deserve?
The idea of negotiating a higher salary makes many people feel uncomfortable: they don’t want to seem rude or greedy asking for more money, especially if an initial request has been rejected. Working with a career coach can equip you with the skills to ask for and negotiate a pay rise that matches your expectations.
For example, they can help you identify whether you are performing or overachieving on your KPIs to build a good case for requesting a salary increase.
7. You have a difficult manager, an unproductive team or an unpleasant work environment
The workplace can sometimes be miserable and unpleasant. When you are struggling with an unsatisfying job, difficult boss or toxic workplace, it can feel like the only situation is to leave.
When quitting isn’t an option, professional career coaching can help you turn a bad situation into a good learning experience and make your job more tolerable. You can discover techniques and skills to help you manage the challenging aspects of your current role, and even learn how to thrive in difficult circumstances.
8. You want to learn skills to succeed in a new management role
The professional and/or technical skills that have fuelled your success to date are likely to be different to those you need as a manager. Often leadership skills are more relevant that technical ability at senior levels. Unfortunately when employees move from non-people management roles to leadership roles, organisations don’t always provide formal on-the-job training to support them in this transition.
Career coaching can help you discover what skills and knowledge you need to be a successful manager who achieves high performance from their employees. This is an opportunity to develop a strong leadership style and long term competencies.
9. You’re nearing retirement and don’t want to leave the workforce, but your current role isn’t suitable
A person who carefully plans for retirement is more likely to feel positive about it. When considering retirement, it’s important to make plans not just for your financial future, but also regarding your lifestyle, relationships and possibly work.
Many retirees want to remain in the workforce, although not always in the same role. With post-retirement career planning, you can decide whether you want to look for a role related to your previous profession, investigate new career paths or start your own business. Retirement age career changes often take more courage than those when we’re younger. However, with careful planning it is possible to find a role in retirement that is both fulfilling and practical.
Coaching can also provide assistance with developing a resume and identifying job opportunities, and give you tips on networking and interview skills.
10. You want to return to the workplace after a break
Going back to work after taking a few years break to be a parent can be an exciting prospect, but it can also be a daunting one. If you don’t have a job to return to, how will you explain your absence to potential employers and demonstrate the skills you’ve used and developed as a result are relevant to work?
If you’re returning to an existing role, will you be able to cope with added demands on your life – and is it even something that still interests you? Having children may motivate you to do something different, perhaps providing greater flexibility or part time hours?
When you’re not sure how you will cope with working again, career coaching can help you with developing and implementing a return-to-work strategy. This is especially useful if you want to do something different to what you did before you left the workforce. Working with a career coach can help you think about your existing skills, including those you’ve developed since becoming a parent, and how to transfer them to other employment options.