Are you feeling bored or unhappy with your career? Maybe you’re looking to progress in your role but you can’t seem to find any traction. Or perhaps you’re looking for a new role but you’re not having much success? No matter what your situation, a career coach can be an invaluable resource.
Career coaching can enhance your professional life in a number of different ways – from supporting you with your job search and showing you how to develop your own personal brand, to helping you take careful, considered steps towards your career goals.
So whether you’ve thought about career coaching before or it’s never crossed your mind, we hope this article will help you learn more about the ways career coaching might benefit your professional life.
What is a career coach?
Say a pipe bursts under your kitchen sink or your car breaks down. You might dust off a copy of the old plumbing guide you got one Christmas, or even pull up a YouTube tutorial and try and fix it yourself. However, we can all agree that if you want the best results possible, you’re almost always better off calling a professional – and the same is true for your career.
A qualified and certified career coach will offer expert advice and support to help you achieve any professional goals you may have. Whether you’re looking to progress in your current role and land a promotion, return to work after a long break, or make a career change, a career coach will help you shape the professional life you’ve always wanted.
8 ways a career coach can help you in your professional life
1. A career coach will help you plot out a personalised route to reach your goals
Deciding where to turn next in your career can be somewhat overwhelming. You might not know where you want to be in five or 10 years. Or you might know exactly where you want to be but have no idea how to get there. This is where a careers coach steps in.
Think of a career coach as your own personal tour guide through the professional world. They’ll not only help you plot out a route to lead you to where you want to be, but they’ll tailor this route to capitalise on your skills, experience, personality, lifestyle, and behavioural preferences.
This personalised experience will help you reach your goals as efficiently as possible. Plus, the route laid out by your career coach will also be made up of smaller, manageable steps, which will make your larger goal seem much more possible.
2. A career coach will help you with your job search
Searching for a job can be a hopeful and inspiring process, filled with lots of new possibilities. However, it can also be frustrating and, at times, daunting – especially if you’re not finding roles that excite you, or you’ve received a string of rejections. If you’re finding yourself in this situation, you might benefit from career coaching.
A career coach will point you towards new and fruitful resources that you might not have thought of. For example, they might suggest job fairs, new ways to network, or even give you advice on how to interact with job agencies.
A career coach will also help you to evaluate whether you’re applying for the right jobs for you. They’ll encourage you to ask yourself questions, such as: what makes me happy? And what do I want to get out of my new role (for example, a flexible working pattern, greater fulfilment, a new skill set)? From here, they might point you towards alternative roles you might not have considered, or even different industries entirely.
3. A career coach will help you write CVs and cover letters
Writing CVs and cover letters can be tricky – especially later in life. If you have a wealth of skills and experience under your belt, it can be difficult to decide what to prioritise. This can be particularly true if you’re changing careers and you don’t know what skills are transferable from your old career to your new one, or what past experience is relevant.
A career coach will help you examine your skills and experience, harness your strengths, and highlight the most relevant parts of your work history, to help make your CV as relevant, concise, and eye-catching as possible.
They’ll also help you with formatting and show you how to beat CV algorithms so your CV makes it into the hands of an employer and doesn’t fall at the first hurdle.
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4. A career coach will help you prepare for the interview process
Securing an interview can be exciting as it means you’ve made it to the next stage of a job application process. But, sitting down with someone face-to-face (whether it be digitally or in-person) and answering questions in real time can be a daunting prospect.
Some people, especially if they’re particularly introverted, might simply say, “I’m not good at interviews.” However, being a good interviewee is not something you’re inherently good or bad at. Instead, just like anything, it’s all about practise and preparation.
A career coach will not only give you expert advice on what kind of candidate hiring managers are looking to come across in an interview, but they can also help you analyse your skills and experiences, so you can create a narrative that portrays you as the best candidate you can possibly be.
Your career coach will also give you guidance on what to do if you get stumped by a question, what to wear, and how to speak in a clear, concise, and confident manner. With a career coach on your side, you won’t have to worry about if you’re doing anything wrong. You can leave every interview knowing you did the best you possibly could.
5. A career coach will help you develop your skill set
A career coach can help you pinpoint relevant skills when you’re applying for jobs, evaluate your skill set, and identify areas to improve on.
This can be useful when going through the job application process, as well as if you’re looking to progress in the role you currently hold. For example, they might be able to suggest further qualifications and certifications that you can get to present yourself as the best candidate possible, or guide you towards the relevant skills needed for a promotion.
Honing in on your existing skills and identifying areas you may need to work on is particularly important if you’re returning to work after a long break. Workplace technologies and methods of doing things are constantly being upgraded and developed.
So whether you’re looking for a new role or hoping to progress in the one you already have, it’s important that you keep up to date with the latest skills needed for your profession. This is particularly true when it comes to digital skills such as WordPress, Adobe, and Microsoft Office.
Your career coach will help you identify any gaps in your skillset and suggest the best ways to plug them.
6. A career coach will help you develop your own personal brand
Whether you’re in the market for a new role or looking to thrive in the one you currently hold, one of the most important things you can do is establish a clear personal brand.
Just like with companies, your personal brand is how people perceive you and what separates you from everyone else. It can involve what you wear, what you say, your online presence, your core values and beliefs, and so on.
Take car manufacturers, for example. We associate Mercedes with luxury and high performance, whereas we associate a Toyota with affordability and reliability. The reason for this is that each company has cultivated a clear and consistent brand – and when it comes to your career, it’s important that you do the same.
Taking into consideration what image you want to portray to the professional world, as well as what image would most benefit your career, a career coach will help you construct your own personal brand and put it into practise.
This might involve small tasks like tweaking your wardrobe to appear more professional and helping you make more eye contact during interviews. Or it could involve larger branding projects such as developing your online presence on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
For more help and information on personal branding, why it’s important, and how to cultivate your own, why not check out our article; How to develop your own personal brand?
7. A career coach will help you to stay positive
A career coach’s job isn’t simply to assess your situation and tell you everything that you’re doing wrong. The best career coaches are often empathetic and supportive people who can help you stay positive when things might not be going the way you want them to. The best thing about having a career coach is that your goals are their goals.
By helping to uncover your professional worth – whether that be through identifying your valuable skills or developing a clear personal brand – a career coach will empower you to feel good about yourself and your prospects. This can be especially important if you’ve been looking for a job for a while and are feeling disheartened.
Helping you understand your professional worth isn’t the only way that having a career coach can help you stay positive and motivated. Whether you’re nervous about a presentation or you’ve just received a rejection for a job you wanted, sometimes just having someone on your side, who’s on this journey with you, can make the world of difference.
For more advice on how to stay positive in your job search, you might want to have a read of our article here.
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8. A career coach will hold you accountable
While a good career coach will do all they can to help you maintain a positive mindset throughout your time together, their job isn’t to sugarcoat things. This means you can rely on them to tell it like it is.
The road to your ideal role will not always be easy, so you’ll need to be open to listening and putting in the work that your career coach recommends.
Having weekly check-ins with your coach is a great way to help you stay focused, motivated, and on-task. If your coach tasks you with writing three cover letters in a week, you’re much more likely to complete this task if you’re meeting with them again in a week’s time.
A career coach can be an invaluable asset to have, no matter what stage you’re at in your career. However, it’s always worth remembering that your coach’s job is not to find you a role, nor is it to re-write your CV and do all of the work for you. Instead, their job is to help you know your professional worth and work out what actionable steps you can take towards your professional goals.
In order for your career coaching experience to be as productive and useful as possible, you’ve got to be willing to listen, learn, and put in the hard work. And if you do, who knows what you’ll be able to achieve?
Interested in finding a coach to help you?
We currently have a range of experienced career coaches on site. To find a career coach and get in touch, you can visit our career coaching directory.
Tips on finding the right coach for you
Browse a range of different coaches before you make a final decision. This will help you get a feel for what sort of services they offer. For example, some career coaches offer counselling services as well.
Consider cost. It’s important to consider how many coaching sessions you’re likely to want, and how much this is likely to cost you over time. Coaches charge by the hour and prices can vary considerably, so it’s worth making sure that you find a coach that fits your budget.
Have an introductory call to check the chemistry. Before committing yourself to one particular coach, it’s a good idea to have a quick call to see whether you think it’s a good fit.
A coach is a confidante and someone you’ll turn to for support and encouragement, so it’s important to make sure that you feel at ease with them and confident they’ll be able to help you achieve your goals.