Are you the office rockstar? Find yourself being approached on the regular by coworkers for career advice? Enjoy mentoring others? Feel like an unofficial empowerment coach to friends and family? If so, career coaching could be in your future!
Today’s job market is anything but straightforward. There’s a lot more complexity to navigate now than ever before. Layoffs. Working remotely. Competing demands of work and family. Changing careers in a troubled economy. Managing the leap to self employment.
Alongside the uncertainties, there’s also a mind boggling amount of opportunity! It’s true that we really can chart our own course, far more than any previous generation. But piloting these waters requires courage, new skills, and creative thinking.
Now more than ever, people are turning to trusted advisors to help manage the turbulence with confidence and clarity. As a career coach, you can serve as a valuable partner to people looking to shift from merely surviving the new economy to thriving within it. So what does this mean in the real world?
WHAT DOES A CAREER COACH DO?
Assist clients in defining their career plan
For most people, the days when you could grow your career within one company are long since over. The average worker today will change jobs 12 times during the course of their career. All that movement adds up to a lot of shifting and soul searching!
As a career coach, you can help clients find clarity and map their next steps through positive inquiry, strengths assessments, and other techniques. The desired outcome for these clients is forward momentum toward satisfying work that meets their interests, talents, values, and income goals.
Show clients how to better manage overwhelm
When we’re racing to meet one critical deadline after another, stress and anxiety can easily become a chronic way of life. In an “always-on” work culture, it can be difficult for people to establish healthy boundaries.
A career coach helps clients take a step back, assess their situation, and separate the important from the urgent. Using techniques that vary from organization systems to mindfulness, a career coach assists the client to take greater control of their inward and outward circumstances. The end result? Greater satisfaction at work and in their personal lives.
Provide growth-oriented, honest feedback
Regardless of their level of success, every client will have unhelpful patterns that they may simply be unable to see. Whether it’s a fear of authority, or a desire to please, unconscious beliefs can really drive behavior. And not always in a good way!
When clients are stuck, or aren’t achieving their goals, it may be less about what they are doing than how they're thinking. One role of a career coach is to notice what’s going on beneath the surface, hold up a mirror, and help a client recognize what they might be missing.
Honest feedback from a coach or mentor, along with tactical support and tools to help them shift into more productive behaviors and beliefs, is often the key to helping someone get to the next level in their career.
Help leaders level-up their management game
Executive coaching supports both emerging and established managers to be more effective at building high performing teams, or to transition into bigger leadership roles. It’s all about helping successful people become even more spectacular! As coach you serve as a trusted advisor, and confidential mentor. This can include exploring complex management issues, or bouncing potential scenarios before rolling out tough decisions.
Leadership coaches are typically people who have “walked the talk” - generally those who themselves have served in executive level positions, and possess the experience necessary to serve as a credible peer to fellow leaders.
SOUNDS GOOD! NOW HOW DO I GET THERE?
Get the right credentials for your practice area
Career coaching is one specialty in particular where your “bona-fides” are going to make a difference. Unlike some other coaching niches, clients in this field are often eligible to have career and management coaching paid for by their employers. That’s great news for you as a coach! Why? Because it widens your pool of prospective clients, along with the amount that they are able to financially invest in coaching.
To attract these clients, credentialing counts. Employers and human resources professionals who understand the value of coaching and are willing to pay for it know their stuff. They’ll expect you to have the right qualifications and experience, along with the proven skills necessary to deliver results.
If you’re not already certified, your first step is to check out programs and find the one that’s right for you. Coaching is a growing field, and there are many training options on the market. Like any other investment you’ll make, it’s good to shop around. Define what you’re looking for, and learn as much as you can about different programs. Costs will vary, as will quality. Check out reviews, ask questions, and explore what’s out there.
At JRNI, we offer two coach training tracks: Essentials and Signature. Our Essentials program is grounded in science, with authentic instructors and fellow students who are dedicated to forging a unique path in the world of coaching. If you’re interested in pursuing International Coach Federation (ICF), our Signature program offers even greater depth to help prepare you for that process. Not sure about the difference between credentialing and ICF certification? You can read more about it here.
Be clear about who you want to serve
People seek career coaching at every stage of their working lives. Are you most interested in working with recent college graduates who are just starting to define their career path? Do mid-career "course-corrects" intrigue you? Want to work with people in need of a new direction because their industry has recently been downsized? Drawn to helping moms and dads restart their careers after stepping out of the workforce to raise their kids?
“Career coach” is a broad label. The better you define the specific population you want to work with, the more effective you’ll be at attracting clients.
Know what you’re best at
Understanding who you’d like to serve is one thing. It’s also important to have a strong sense of your own skills and expertise. Does your background intersect with the population you’re hoping to serve? If you’re an aspiring coach in your mid-twenties, providing leadership coaching to senior executives at Fortune 500 companies might not be a natural fit just yet! This is where you need to really pull from your own life story and experiences.
There are many niches under the wide umbrella of “career coaching”. Find the connections between what you’ve been most successful at already, and who you relate best to.
You’ll find that the people you most want to coach are those who are now traveling the same terrain you’ve already navigated. If you’re a working mom who’s mastered the art of balance, you might be brilliant at coaching parents who are juggling work and family priorities. If you’re a prodigy who leapt through the management ranks and became a CEO by age 30, you may be a natural for emerging leaders who are looking to accelerate their career growth.
Think you have what it takes?
If you’re wondering whether coaching may be right for you, consider booking a session with a career coach. No amount of research can compare with experiencing the coaching process firsthand! If you’ve never been coached before, this is a quick and easy way to see what it feels like to “be the client” while getting some clarity around your own next moves.
Want to talk to someone who’s been where you’re at?
If you’d like to book a free discovery call with one of our certified career coaches, jump on over to the JRNI coach directory. Our coaches are happy to talk with you about where you are on your own career path, and help you map out your next steps. If you’d like to connect with someone from the JRNI team to learn more about our coaching certification programs, click here to schedule a call.