When you think of career coaching, what comes to mind?
I first connected with my long-time career coach back in 1992. At that time, she was director of career services for a college.
I had been working as a college admissions professional for four years. Prior to that, I was a Spanish teacher at a day and boarding school for two years. The six-year itch had taken hold, and, I was ready for a change – new adventures, new experiences. But what? A different career? Graduate school? Return to teaching? My fabulous career coach helped me to sort a lot of things out. In the process, I gained greater clarity, and a more defined direction for my future goals and aspirations.
The following year, I quit my admissions job, and headed off to graduate school full-time. When I completed my program, I contacted my career coach again. Only this time, it was to obtain guidance re: negotiating salary, and other terms of employment.
Many years would pass before I re-connected with my career coach again. I was contemplating my next move, and, a friend and colleague suggested that I work with a career coach. The person he recommended was not taking on new clients. Therefore, I contacted the career coach with whom I had worked previously. In an interesting sort of way, re-connecting with her felt like reuniting with an old friend. In many ways, it was like no time had passed at all, although in actuality, it had been more than 20 years.
So…why do I recommend career coaching? A career coach can:
• Uncover skills and expertise that one may neither recognize nor fully appreciate
• Vet prospective jobs and employers.
• Steer one away from dead-end opportunities.
• Offer guidance re: crafting a resume and cover letter for specific positions.
• Lend an empathetic ear when the job search gets rough.
• Provide objective insight, and tell one things that she may not want to hear, but needs to hear.
• Be one’s cheerleader.
My experience with my career coach has been overwhelmingly positive. Additionally, I am also in the unique position to have worked with the same person for more than two decades – which is rare.
Before I returned to my long-time career coach, I did, in fact, contemplate working with different coaches. However, given what I was going after at the time, I decided that I had neither the time nor the desire to establish an entirely new relationship.
Have you worked with a career coach? What was your experience? Would you do it again? And, if you have been thinking about career coaching, but haven’t followed through, what’s stopping you?