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What is career coaching?

What is career coaching
Quite a few people recently have asked me what career coaching is, so I thought I’d write a blog post about it. As I mentioned last month, the beginning of the year is traditionally the time when people re-evaluate their life and their job, and many more people decide they have had enough of their current job, and they want a change. But more often than not, they don’t really know what they want to do instead, and so they look for help.

When you were in school, there were careers advisors who would help you with this. Although if yours was anything like mine, they weren’t actually that helpful and only steered you towards quite traditional jobs such as accountants, architects or office administrators.

My clients however, are often in their mid-30s or early to late 40s, have already had some sort of a career (usually quite successful) and often have a family to care for and a mortgage to pay. They realise they need to work another 20-30 years, and they know they don’t want to do the same thing as they are doing now, but they also can’t just jack it all in and see where it takes them. They feel trapped or they think they have very limited options.

And that’s when they come to a career coach. Someone who can help them find out what they really want, and then help them put an action plan in place so they will achieve their dreams. Someone like me.

So how does it work in practice? Let me tell you how I work with my clients.

I always start by finding out what they want from life in general by using various tools, such as the Wheel of Life, the Checklist for Work and the Live your Best Life exercise. I also get them to do a DISC profile so they can understand their strengths and weaknesses better.

Once they have a clear idea of what they want, I then get them to do in-depth research into this new career, before they commit to it. This is a crucial step, often overlooked by people who do it on their own: they get excited about something and commit to it before knowing everything about it. This then sometimes results in a big disappointment, when the new career isn’t everything they thought it would be.

Once a well thought out decision has been made though, we can move onto the next step: putting together a plan of action to find that job (or start that business). This process can last from a few weeks to a few months, and in that time, the role of the career coach is to keep people motivated and on track. I do that by reminding people of their agreed actions, and by having regular sessions to review what’s been happening.

Then there’s job interview preparation, which has been proven to be very beneficial. For some of my clients it’s been a long time since they last applied, so getting some practice in beforehand, can make the difference between getting the job or must missing out.

All in all, career coaching helps you with three key things:
Getting clarity
Being focused
Getting accountability

I hope this has been useful, and you now have a better idea of what a career coach does. Remember that I also wrote a book about this: The Happy Worker – how to find a job you love and love the job you have. This has all the exercises I mentioned before, as well as lots of other tools and tips to help you be happy at work. It’s available from Amazon , from the shop or via the website www.thehappyworker.co.uk.

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