In the past, mapping out a career path was a solitary activity. You could only rely on yourself to decide if you are in the right field and if working in your current company is really what you want. Moreover, you had to dig deep to figure out how to advance in your chosen line of work.
Today, you don’t have to go on a lonely journey to find success. A career coach can guide you throughout the process of realizing what career you want and will flourish in. He or she can also help you create a plan that will enable you to reach your goals.
A properly designed and facilitated career coaching program can help you define your occupational goals and map out a plan that will allow you to achieve them.
Whether you are a professional at an entry-level position or already have a top management role, as long as you are experiencing some confusion regarding your career path, you will benefit from career coaching.
You will also find this program valuable if you are an entrepreneur having doubts about how you run your business and its success.
Although career coaching allows you to have a professional guide you as you work out your route to success, you can experience more benefits and get more from each session when you follow these tips:
Your career coach can help you guide you through various steps of achieving clarity and success in your profession. However, you can’t expect him or her to do everything.
To have a good start and fruitful program, set appropriate and realistic expectations first. Discuss them with your coach so that you will know if your goals are attainable and if you can get the desired outcome.
Work with your coach to establish what goals you can reach within the program scope and possible budgetary constraints. During this exploratory stage, both of you should discuss your overall objectives, the number, duration, and format of sessions, the expected outcome, and the price.
When all these details are ironed out prior to the start of your coaching program, you will know what to expect from each session and what you will get at the end.
Honesty is crucial in all career coaching sessions. It is something that you have to practice from the start to the end of the program.
Always be honest about what you think and feel are important to you, and communicate them with your coach. By doing so, you will help him or her to understand your motivational drivers and expectations.
Generally, the initial consultation or first coaching session begins with the coach asking you a series of questions to understand you and your motivations better. Be as detailed as you can as you tell your story.
Be honest as you talk about your background and past experiences. When you are upfront with all the necessary information, you help your coach get all insights he or she needs to guide you as you map out your career path.
Your life purpose or “why” pertains to the cause, belief, or anything that motivates you. Knowing this will help you make better decisions professionally and personally, which can enable you to set clearer, relevant goals and find fulfillment.
Your “why” can serve as the backbone of your career coaching program. By identifying and focusing on it, you will be able to make smarter career choices and get more satisfaction from your work locally or even in a different country.
If you haven’t zeroed in on your life purpose yet, make sure to discuss this with your coach. He or she will help you figure it out and suggest careers that are aligned with it.
Keep in mind that the closer your job is to your purpose, the happier and more content you will be at work and in life overall. Because of this, it is crucial to establish this first.
Career coaching is a service or process you will be paying for. As such, you need to keep in mind that for each session, you have to participate and not simply receive something.
During each session, you can’t expect to simply show up and have the coach do all of the work. If you don’t put any effort into carrying out some introspection and making changes, you won’t get anything from the program.
Remember that career coaching is an educational experience. Your coach expects you to think, learn, participate, and do your homework. He or she will ensure you are on the right track to achieving your goals, help you create a plan of action every week, and assist you as you evaluate the program at the end.
However, ultimately, it is your job to put the plan into action and reach your goals.
Part of being proactive is going to each session prepared. One way of doing this is by bringing writing materials during your meetings.
Write down all the vital information your career coach shares with you. By doing so, you will commit them to memory better. Additionally, you can go back to your notes when you need them in the future.
Make sure you write all the action items you discuss with your coach. You will also be more likely to remember and complete all of them when you can read and go over them regularly.
Lastly, to get the most from each session, make sure you invest yourself fully into a partnership with your coach.
Participating and being honest during each session allows you to engage genuinely with your career coach. However, to make the most out of this program, you have to start thinking of it as a partnership and collaboration. You need to work each step of the way with your counselor
Additionally, you can have more productive sessions if you read up on the topics introduced by your coach and practice what you learn from each meeting right away.
By embracing a positive mindset, being truthful and proactive, you can be more confident about your career and your future.
Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.