If you are an ambitious career woman like myself, or ever googled words like “how to be successful in one’s career” you’ve probably heard of the term Career Coach. Have you ever wondered how exactly does a career coach help everyday people like you and me? We all have a vague sense that we can use some help here and there in our career. We all know the importance of having mentors who will help us navigate our career but how is a career coach different? And how exactly does a career coach help one progress in their career? Here’s a brief description from Shinebright, a boutique career coaching company, about what career coaches do:
- Identify and develop your talents into powerful strengths
- Explore the type of roles that will tap into your natural motivations and energize you
- Determine which work environments are the best fit for you and will allow you to flourish
- Choose a career path that will lead to increased engagement, fulfillment, and success
To fully understand this mythical group known as career coaches, I have a 2-part series on Cubicle Chic this week. First, let’s bust some of the most common myths about career coaching. Then, in the next post, we will talk about the 5 signs that indicate you actually need a career coach.
Most fundamentally, career coaches lead you through a process that helps you get stronger in your understanding of self that allows you to move forward in your career in a powerful, informed way. Maybe you knew that maybe you didn’t. Chances are, you had some preconceived notions about what career coaching is about. Some may be myths, some may actually be true – let’s address them all.
6 Myths about Career Coaching:
I’ll hire one when I need one.
This is perhaps the biggest and most commonly-heard myth about career coaching. Most people seek out professional help only when they are already in crisis. The truth is, career coaching is often most effective when it’s applied at a point of thriving rather than a point of struggle. But this is how the human mind works – we tend to only think about improving and problem-solving when there is a problem already. When thinking about hiring a career coach, imagine having someone whose only job is to help you improve, do better and become better, keeping you accountable for your progress and making sure you are moving along the right path to meet your goal.
It’s for executives or people in management.
The best analogy I have for debunking this myth is equating this thinking to the following.
This is the same as when you are poor, you think saving is reserved for the rich. It’s also the same as when you are overweight, and you think CrossFit is only for people that are already in shape. The truth is, a career coach helps you understand yourself, set the right goals, then accomplish them using the right, personalized method. The majority of the work is done by you with the support of the coach. So, if executive professionals and those in management can put in the time and effort into improving their careers, so can you.
It’s going to cost me an arm and a leg.
Traditionally, career coaching has been offered to those that have already “done well” in their careers. So, the traditional clientele in career coaching tends to fall into a certain (high) income bracket and therefore can afford fees that may seem intimidating to the rest of us in Corporate America. This isn’t the case anymore in 2018. There are so many flavors of career coaching offered by various groups and individuals. You can hire a coach from boutique career coaching companies like Shinebright, or find the coach that meets your needs through a network of coaches such as Marlow, or find individuals who own their coaching businesses like Emily Liou at Cultivitae (a good friend of mine!) These various coaching options also come at various prices, so choose according to your budget and what you need. Coaches usually understand that if you are in crisis mode (for example if you just got laid off or somehow lost your job), so depending on their business model or service offering packages, they can offer you only the services you need and none of the nice-to-haves. Or, sometimes they may even let you make payments on a payment plan.
I’ll just read books & listen to podcasts.
If this is your thinking, I commend you and I can 100% relate. I am a proud reader and hoarder of information. I take pride in knowing things that most people don’t know…and derive pleasure from learning. So, for me to admit that I NEED HELP in my career is incredibly difficult. Heck, I have a blog where I write about my career. I should know what I’m doing. Right? The sad truth is: not always. We all have blind spots, biases, and habits (esp. the bad ones). And we don’t know what we don’t know. A career coach is supposed to help you understand yourself and your environment with a new pair of lenses. These lenses will give you different perspectives so you can see alternative outcomes or solutions that you otherwise wouldn’t see.
The career coach is going to solve all my problems for me.
If you are a self-help book fan, you might have this myth of hiring a career coach. You might think they have the key to a missing piece of your puzzle. You might think they have a magic formula. You might think they have all the answers for you, all you have to do is to make a payment and unlock the answers. While some coaches to advertise and market their services as such, I’d wager it’s mostly marketing language and promotional verbiage. No one has a magic bullet or secret formula… if they did, they wouldn’t be a career coach, LOL. What they have instead, is experiences working with other career professionals, insight into the human psyche and organizational behavior, patience in guiding you, supporting you on your personalized career journey and expertise in teaching.
I’m not sure if I need it.
It’s easier to argue that everyone needs a career coach at some point in their career (which I do believe to be true) than to pinpoint exactly when you will actually need one. The truth is that a career coach helps you see beyond your existing accomplishments and align you with your talent and potential. A good career coach guides you toward your goal and helps you achieve them. So when you need a career coach depends on all of the key points I mentioned above – what your talents are, what your untapped potential is, what your career goals are, and how you can achieve them. A good coach will help you 1) figure out all of the above and 2) help motivate you to accomplish your newly defined goals and 3) stay on track to reach your potential. This is why I say one should see a career coach when they are actually thriving in their careers. When you don’t have to dig yourself out of a hole, you can focus on building yourself upwards!
If you are still unsure whether or not you need a career coach right now, I’ve pinpointed some signs that may indicate you do. Stay tuned for the next post later this week if you’re curious about whether you need a career coach right now![ 5 Signs You Need a Career Coach Right Now ]