8 Benefits of Career Coaching
By Stacy Jackson | 2020
Are you feeling “stuck” in a professional rut right now? Maybe you want to transition to a new industry, a different functional role or leadership position, but you could use a little help finding your way to your dream job.
Unfortunately, the job search and career planning processes are often solitary endeavors. That’s not to say you can’t enlist the help of those in your network. Ask your peers, friends, past managers, and direct reports for feedback. They may help you gain perspective on your strengths and weaknesses. But just keep in mind that those closest to you may not always give you candid and unbiased feedback.
If the idea of navigating the job market alone leaves you feeling a little overwhelmed, maybe it’s time to consider hiring a career coach.
What Is a Career Coach?
A career coach is a professional, usually someone with several years of experience in recruiting or human resources, who can help you develop a plan to reach your long-term goals and help you with career development.
Some specific things a coach can help job seekers do to get their career paths heading in the right direction include:
Career counseling for those considering a career transition or going back to school
If you’re feeling stuck, unhappy, or like you need some guidance, coaching may be right for you. Here are eight benefits of good career coaching that you can experience.
1. An outside perspective
Whether you’re a college student looking for your first job or someone considering a career change for better upward mobility, you can benefit from an outside perspective.
Even when you ask your friends, colleagues, bosses, and direct reports for honest feedback, you may not get it. They all have relationships with you, and they may not want to jeopardize that relationship by sharing something they think you will not want to hear.
A career coach, on the other hand, works with you as a client. You are paying this person to help you get results. Coaches will give you honest, constructive feedback — even when it’s something you may not want to hear– because they want you to succeed. They need you to succeed — it’s a reflection on their reputation as a career coach.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, I’ve got a mentor. I don’t need a career coach.” The mentor-mentee relationship can be amazing. However, there’s still a level of personal investment and connection there. You don’t want to let your mentor down, so you may not share your true concerns or weaknesses. Your mentor likely doesn’t want to discourage you, so he or she may hold back on certain feedback.
2. Up-to-date job market analysis
When you’re preparing to make significant career decisions, access to up-to-date job market analysis works to your advantage. A coach can leverage this type of information when helping you find a new job or transition into a new role or industry. After all, you don’t want to jump into a waning sector or fall into a position destined for automation.
Remember: Coaches have access to a network of active job seekers who candidly share the details of their experiences. An active coach with a deep client pool may be able to give their clients the inside scoop on specific companies’ hiring and interview processes or working culture, and informed guidance for the current job market based on anecdotal evidence.
3. Help you understand your actual market value
Sometimes it’s hard for people to assess themselves accurately, and it can be uncomfortable for some to put a dollar amount on their professional worth. A career coach can help you evaluate your worth objectively.
Your coach will look at your experience, skills, and abilities to help you understand your worth. Imagine how amazing it would be to walk into a salary negotiation with a potential employer armed with the information you need to get a fair salary.
4. Expert advice for taking your career to the next level
Your coaching sessions will provide you with the advice you need to tackle your next role and get one step closer to your dream job.
Your coach may advise you to get additional training in specific areas or work with you on interview preparation. You may get personal branding consultation with tips about improving your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Remember: they’re experts at mapping out successful career steps. Listen to the advice and embrace the process.
5. Identification of skill gaps
New technologies and innovative methodologies enter the modern workplace at a rapid pace. So your ability to meet these new challenges is vital. A career coach will help you determine what skills you need to sharpen (or add) to stay competitive.
But it’s not all about certifications and training on hard skills.
Your career coach can work with you to identify any blind spots you may have. Plus, your coach can also help you develop the soft skills that are so important in the work environment. Conflict resolution, mentorship, strategic planning, project management, delegation, and emotional intelligence are examples of soft skills that your coach may focus on with you.
6. Confidence building
Depending on your career search thus far, you may be feeling uncertain or doubtful about yourself and your prospects. A coach can help you strip away any unfounded self-doubt and get you focused on all of your positive attributes. You may find that a coach reinvigorates your confidence or helps you gain more than you ever had before.
Sometimes, a coach will also encourage you to move out of your comfort zone, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, you’re embarking on a journey to change your professional (and possibly your personal) life.
Your coach is going to work with you to build on your existing strengths while helping you identify areas that need work. Together, you’re establishing a foundation that will leave you feeling confident and ready for the next big step.
Think about your career coach similar to the way an elite athlete thinks of a coach. A coach is there to help you get stronger and better –– to beat the competition. Your coach has your best interests in mind and is your partner to realizing your professional goals.
7. A career plan for reaching your goals
When you think about your ultimate dream career, you probably have a specific role and industry in mind — a CMO in a SaaS company, for example. Do you know the best way to achieve that goal?
A career coach can help you develop a plan complete with short and long-term objectives to help you evolve and grow into the best darn CMO candidate in the SaaS industry.
8. Guidance for evaluating your career trajectory
When thinking about your career trajectory, you may get caught up in the “tyranny of the should.”
“I should become an executive.” “I should apply for the manager position.” “I should find a job making more money.”
Think about your “shoulds.” Should you become a manager, really? Do you want to be an executive, or do you prefer being a rock star contributor or subject matter expert? Do you need to make more money, or do you feel judged for not making what other people think you should make?
Your career coach can help you explore:
what you’re passionate about
what you’re good at
what you can make money doing
your work-life balance concerns
You may discover that your ideal career trajectory is not what you previously expected.
Are you ready to hire a career coach?
As you can see from the benefits listed above, involvement in a career coaching program can help you make informed decisions and advance your career. However, you have to be ready and willing to put in the work.
A coach isn’t a magician who will pull a career out a top hat for you. You have a role to play in the relationship if you want to reap these benefits to their fullest.
Did we leave anything out, or do you have any questions? Comment below and let us know. We’d love to hear from you!
Stacy Jackson, co-founder of Jackson Marketing, Inc., is a content marketing professional who helps businesses and individuals optimize their online presence. She’s an editor and writer, and a regular contributor to various marketing blogs. She also co-hosts The B2B Mix Show podcast with her sister Alanna.