Do you need a career coach? Put it in the context of other things you do to keep your life on track. You see a dentist regularly to keep your teeth clean and cavity-free. You get an annual physical, exercise regularly, and eat right to stay healthy. You even give your car an oil change every 3,000 miles to keep up a maintenance schedule and get expert mechanic advice. But what do you do for your career? When it comes to your professional life, a proactive approach is best. Having a trusted adviser, such as a career coach, is a secret weapon of executives across the globe, but you don’t have to be a member of the C-suite to take advantage of this opportunity.
Coaches work closely with clients at every level to help them land the jobs they desire, but the relationship often doesn’t stop there. Many professionals opt to stay in touch with their coaches to get career advice on an as-needed basis. This has proven to be a valuable asset that can bolster career growth and job satisfaction.
Reasons to hire a career coach (Hint: It’s not just for executives)
In today’s world it’s tough to keep up for anyone — executives, mid-career managers, and people on all rungs of the corporate ladder.
Execs have a particular problem in that the higher they advance in their careers, the more treacherous the territory. In fact, we’ve found that upwards of 40% of executives hired at the senior level are pushed out, fail, or quit within 18 months. Ouch. It’s precarious at the top of the ladder. Organizations are changing, being disrupted by technology, looking toward the future of work, and discovering new directions. It’s happening in every industry: finance, insurance, commerce, retail, real estate. The list goes on. Management is expected to get on board with these sea changes that are rocking the status quo or risk getting left behind. That’s why more executives are turning to career coaches. Especially if you’ve been in your company or industry for a while, it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. An outside perspective can be career (and life) changing.
But this isn’t an opportunity reserved for the C-suite. People in mid-career can benefit greatly from career coaching as well, whether to help them advance in their own companies or take the step to move elsewhere. It can be just as important, even more so, for mid-level folks to hire a career coach. It’s a relatively modest investment that can pay great dividends.
Here are a few common reasons to hire a career coach:
You’re thinking about switching jobs. Having a career pro in your corner is an invaluable resource as you make the decision to jump into the job search pool. Without someone helping you chart the course, those waters can seem murky and foreboding.
You’re feeling stuck in your career. Maybe you have been passed over for a promotion or two. Maybe you’re not getting the best assignments anymore. Maybe your career path at your current company has turned into a dead end. Whatever the reason, you’re getting the feeling that this is it. You have no rung to climb and nothing to aspire to where you are. A career coach can help clarify your situation by looking at ways you can improve, and also help you assess whether the best move is to go elsewhere.
You’re in between jobs. In the aftermath of COVID-19, the employment landscape has changed. You may be one of the people who has been on furlough, or permanently let go, in the wake of the economic upheaval this virus has caused. A career coach can work with you to ensure you’re taking your best self into the job market, help identify the best opportunities for you, help you shine up your resume, and more.
You need a little confidence boost. Even experienced sales professionals will tell you that there is nothing hard than selling yourself.
What career coaches do
Coaching sounds beneficial for anyone, but what, exactly, do career coaches do? Here is a quick rundown of what to expect from a career coach:
- Properly assessing your interests and direction
- Guiding you to a strong list of target positions
- Making sure your resume and LinkedIn profile sizzle
- Helping you get meetings
- Helping you prepare for interviews
- Guiding you through the follow-up process after interviews
- Helping you navigate your job offer
- Advising you on how to negotiate salary and perks
Let’s look at all of that in more detail. At GetFive, we specialize in career coaching. You won’t get this with every coach out there, but at GetFive, our proven 5-Step Method is the backbone of every successful job search. Here’s how it works:
You’ll meet your coach and work together to:
- Determine where you want to be 5, 10, 15, and 15+ years from now
- Set career goals
- Develop your personal marketing campaign
- Assess your skills, experience, and interests
- Strategize and conduct preliminary research on industries and companies
- Identify potential positions across three or more industries on a top-down, proactive basis
You’ll work with your coach to create messages that effectively position you for your specific job targets and gain tips and tools to:
- Communicate your value to a hiring manager in writing within 10-15 seconds
- Leverage the power of LinkedIn, the world’s most influential networking site, and become searchable to potential hiring managers
- Communicate your value in any networking meeting or interview
You’ll leverage four different techniques for getting meetings, plus learn some insider secrets from your coach to:
- Develop your network and contact new people
- Create a cover letter that actually gets read
- Devote more time to the strategies that get results
- Get meetings with the right people at the right level that have decision-making authority or can make referrals
Get in the driver’s seat by interviewing like a consultant, while your coach helps you:
- Hone your two-minute pitch specifically for each interview
- Master advanced interview techniques and handle difficult questions
- Approach an interview with the goal of getting invited back
Your coach will help you turn interviews into offers using strategic follow-up techniques so you can:
- Keep 6-10 real job possibilities in play
- Influence the interviewer and keep the process moving forward
- Aim for three concurrent offers
- Negotiate salary and benefits when the offers come in
Job search coaching at critical points in time can make a real difference in the trajectory of your career. Each coach customizes their approach based on your work history, personal goals, and any struggles you are facing. From recent college grads to seasoned executives, they can provide guidance to navigate through even the roughest seas.
Finding the right coach
While, this all sounds great on paper, many people are hesitant to admit a little guidance would do them good. Being skeptical is a good thing, because not all career coaches are created equal. By that we mean that not all have the skills and experience to provide you with the expertise you need to dramatically enhance your career.
You need to find a coach who is extensively vetted, certified, and has a proven record backed by lists of satisfied clients. You don’t want someone who just yesterday decided to coach. For many coaches, including those at GetFive, this is their passion and many have been in the industry for years.
As in any job interview, it’s vital to find the right person for the job. The process of hiring a career coach is no different. You need to know you’ll mesh with his or her coaching style, and whether your coach has the skills and experience to do the job and the knowledge of your industry to be an insider. Forbes recently published a list of questions to ask a career coach, and we’ve added some of our own.
What is your coaching method? Ideally, your coach has a proven methodology that clicks with you. Is his or her approach structured or more low-key? Will he or she push you out of your comfort zone toward success?
What tools do you use? Is your coach utilizing the latest and greatest technology to offer you game-changing tools for your job search, or is he or she more old school?
What are the most common barriers to success and how do you handle those? Some people, especially those in top-level positions, have trouble taking advice and direction. Knowing how a coach is going to handle it when you dig in your heels is helpful.
Do you have familiarity with and experience in my industry? Although it’s not vital, it’s extremely helpful to have a coach who knows the ins and outs of your industry, what’s going on with major companies and players within those companies, and more.
What is your track record of satisfied clients? Ask if you can speak to a few of them. While many people might not like to advertise that they’ve used a career coach, some are more than happy to talk about their successful experiences.
What outcomes are we striving for? You and your coach should be looking in the same direction, with a shared eye on the prize.
How comfortable are you telling me I’m wrong? For executives who are used to people loving every idea and action, this will give you an idea of how the coach will hold you accountable.
Who is your ideal client? If your coach rattles off a list that has nothing to do with you, how you operate, your mindset, or anything else that seems off, it might be time to look elsewhere.
What happens if we don’t click? This is the value of hiring a company, not just a single coach. If you and that coach don’t click, you’ll be back at sea, looking for someone who meets your needs. When you hire a coaching company, they’ll have options if you and your coach don’t mesh for whatever reason.
Reasons to hire a career coach that have nothing to do with job searching
When you think about career coaches, you probably envision the savvy professionals that give advice during a job search. They toil away critiquing resumes, finessing cover letters, and conducting mock interviews so you can knock it out of the park, ultimately getting multiple job offers.
But a career coach’s expertise goes well beyond the job hunt. For a lifelong dynamic career, it’s smart to maintain a relationship with one in your network, even if you have no plans to change companies anytime soon. Here are 10 pivotal times in your career a coach can help you navigate choppy waters to discover a brighter horizon.
Maximizing current job potential: Feeling stagnant at work lately and not sure what to do to refuel your fire? A career coach gets to know you and can provide personalized advice on how to maximize your current job so you learn important skills, make critical connections, and do projects you are really passionate about.
Pitching a promotion: Do you feel you deserve a promotion? Whether there’s one you’re aware of or you’re going to pitch your boss why you’re ready for a new opportunity, a career coach is able to help. From preparing your rationale to practicing your speech, they support you climbing the ladder.
Shaping your vision for the future: Knowing where you’re going can help inform your decisions and shape your career journey. The problem is, most professionals have only a shortsighted or vague vision.
Completing career transformations: If you’re thinking of pursing a second or third career, it can be an exciting yet frightening prospect. A career coach can help you decide if change is what you truly want, and if so, the best way to make the switch successfully.
Making moves and transfers: If you’re facing a transfer that requires you to move across the country or overseas, it can be a big life change. If you have a spouse and children, it can have even more of an impact. Career coaches provide important support during the transition so you can succeed at work and ease worries at home.
Undergoing life transformations: Life can change in the blink of an eye. Maybe you’re having your first child and are worried how it will affect your career. Maybe you’re dealing with a difficult divorce and your mind is overwhelmed. Maybe it’s an unexpected death and work no longer feels like a priority. Career coaches help you maintain your professional reputation even when your personal life is changing dramatically.
Going freelance: The gig economy is booming and professionals of all ages are deciding to say goodbye to working for “the man” and going into business for themselves. Being your own boss is a dream for many people, but successfully freelancing requires many important skills and strategies that a career coach can help with.
Staying relevant: Automation is eliminating lots of jobs and will continue to do so in the future. For you to maintain your career, you may need to make some adjustments to your skill set and future plans. A career coach is able to help assist so you stay relevant, not redundant.
Networking: Networking regularly is one of the most powerful things you can do to enhance your career. For some, networking comes naturally and is a joy. For others, it feels awkward and is a chore. Expert career coaches can help professionals become comfortable with networking while learning the most strategic contacts to make and maintain.
If you are at one of the pivotal career points mentioned in this piece and you would like expert, confidential career coaching, contact GetFive. We’ll assess your background, direction and the expectations you have for your coach, and match you with a coach who has just the right expertise to meet your needs. Learn more about the Career Insider, the industry’s best job search solution.