What Is Career Coaching?

Career coaching, life coaching. . . Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that now everyone is a coach. When I started on this career path, no one knew what career coaching was. If I told someone I was a coach, they looked at me funny or asked what sport I played.

But even Cookie Monster is a coach now! This was sent to me by my friend Bruce. (Thanks Bruce!)

What Is Career Coaching?

The truth is, career coaching is obviously a lot different from what Cookie Monster does, and if you’re feeling stuck in your career you should think seriously about coaching.

Coaching is not a magic wand, but it is a way to discuss and get feedback on your professional development, job search, career goals, and clarifying the next step in your career journey. It can help you make the decisions you need to make and get insights that you didn’t have before. If you’re committed to your career success, think about enlisting the help of a career coach.

Can Career Coaching to Maximize Your Career Potential?

Career coaching can get you out of that job you’ve been putting up with for so long, and instead you can get paid to do something you actually like to do. 

I know that you:

  • Dread every day that you have to go to work.
  • Wish you didn’t have to deal with your boss anymore.
  • Like to do be doing something that’s actually interesting and fulfilling, instead of the kind of work you have to do day in and day out.

But you have your doubts that any amount of talking to someone, even a professional coach, is going to see you through to the other side of your career rut – to an amazing career, because you have no idea what that is or how to get there. So how in the world could someone else help you figure it out?

Especially given how complex career change and job search is. I mean, figuring out a new career isn’t just about what you want to do next. It’s also about what is practical. What you’re able to do financially, what you have the skills and background for, not to mention whether you can actually find a job or have a successful business doing it (whatever it turns out to be.)

And if you’re just looking for a better job, how does the coaching process help you find and land a new job that’s right for you?

It’s enough to make your head explode.

So I understand the urge to pretend it’s not happening. Except that you still have to go to work on Monday.

Career Coaching and Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Instead of hiding under your bed, let’s see if we can find a way out of your situation together, yes?? (I promise we can.)

I want to tell you about some work I did recently with a client. The purpose of telling you this story is to show you one teensy example of how career coaching can help you move forward from your stuck place.

When you work with me you will get many moments like this over time. And these many moments (small and larger “aha moments”) will culminate in you having a breakthrough. 

Career Coaching Client Work

Ok, on with the story.

I was working with a client, I’ll call her Anne. We were discussing ideas about what her “dream job” might be. We had inched closer to possibilities through several sessions and I had followed her lead until we got to a few “likely suspects.”

But I sensed that Anne wasn’t getting as excited about these career ideas as I thought she would be, given how close I thought we were to what she said she wanted in a dream job. She hadn’t said anything to tell me that. In fact, her words all were encouraging and told me that we were on the right track. Still, I could see that something was off.

(Here is one place where you might fool yourself into thinking things are ok.)

So I asked her. After thinking about it for a minute she agreed that mentally she was excited about the ideas, but on a feeling level she really wasn’t that excited. But she wasn’t sure why.

(Again, ask yourself, how much would you really push yourself to figure out why there was this split between thoughts and feelings, without someone pushing you to explore it??) 

After working through the feelings and ideas, here’s what we discovered:

Anne is super-smart and professional, and she doesn’t want to show anything to other people before things are “all set.” She didn’t want to “tip her hand” only to not have it come to be.

She also doesn’t want to get “too excited” about anything that might not become a reality.

She has financial and work/life balance concerns about how to go back to school for her new venture while staying at work full time.

These things make sense.

Here’s what I said to her about how these fears and blocks were holding her back from finding the right career choice.

I told her that because she is afraid she is shutting her emotions down. But this then shuts down her ability to find the work that she loves because it’s only when she follows her emotions (figures out what she loves) that she can find her dream job. So the fear is causing her to be unable to find what she is looking for in the first place.

Her goal is to not shut down with fear and allow herself to be excited about possible career options, so she is then able to emotionally explore which possibility might feel the best for her.

Of course, we went on to talk about how to actually not shut down with fear and allow the feelings to show through. (My therapy and social work background allow me to help you find the best way for you to deal with your own personal issues so that you can fully embrace career growth.)

So you see, coaching isn’t just talking about things. It’s an active process in which you uncover elements that are keeping you stuck, discover things about yourself that you didn’t know, and actively move forward towards your goal.

But if it also involves cookies, I’m up for that too. 🙂

How Do You Find the Right Coach for You?

Do your due diligence. You’ll want to find a coach that you feel comfortable with. Someone you don’t mind sharing details of your personal life as well as your professional life with. You’ll need to explore career development goals, ask career questions, and details of your current job (and more.) To do the real work – the hard work – you’ll have to be vulnerable. That could look like anything from doing a mock job interview, crafting your personal brand or discussing your goals and dreams.

There are many career coaches out there, but I believe career coaching is more than just cover letters and resume writing. Those tactics are important. You need to understand where the rubber meets the road in order to land the right job for you. But to me, coaching is about finding yourself and getting into an emotionally good place, so that whatever move you make, you know it’s the right one.

While I do offer resume services, interview coaching and more, I’m the coach to work with if you’re looking to know yourself better, and understand how you and your psychological patterns have impacted your work experiences, job satisfaction and your overall career. In other words, I’m not your traditional career coach, because I offer more in the way of emotional career exploration.

You should think about what’s most important to you. If you know that you just want someone to help you navigate the job market, do interview prep or resume reviews, then you could consider this program (although there is still some focus on the emotional burden of job search.) Job seekers should consider how they can find a better role (the job search process), when it’s time to move from your current role, and more.

But if you want a certified coach with extensive career coaching experience offering deep career guidance, career discovery and executive coaching, I might be the coach for you. We can explore if we are a good fit for 1:1 coaching here. 

Career Coaching Can Help You Find Your New Direction

Even if all you know right now is that your current position isn’t working for you – but you don’t know why, what will work, or what the necessary changes are going to be, it makes sense to consider coaching. That confused feeling you have right now is totally normal for someone in your situation. Don’t be worried that you feel confused.

Take the proactive approach to find your next job. You’ll be glad you did.


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