At any point in your career, meeting with a career coach could be beneficial. But, most people hire one when their professional lives reach a critical juncture. When you are changing positions, working toward different goals, making a geographic change, or switching industries or professional direction, a career coach can provide valuable insights and strategies that help you get where you’d like to be.
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They can also help improve job performance. Many specialize in a certain skill or industry. For example, sales coaches might help small business owners or sales teams hone the fundamental skills that will earn them maximum success. Whatever your reason for hiring a career coach, you’d like to get the most value for your investment and get as much helpful information from your sessions as possible.
Here are some tips for meeting with a career coach.
1. You get out of it what you put into it.
This is the most important thing to keep in mind when hiring a coach — you’ll get out of the experience what you put into it. Don’t just come to the meeting with a question or two, really prepare. Be sure to express clear and specific goals. Rather than stating that you’d like to improve your sales results, think of your goals in a measurable way — you’d like to increase your number of clients by 10 percent during the next quarter, for example. Likewise, take the time to analyze the challenges you’re facing, and lay them out clearly for your coach. The more you prepare, the more pointed your career coach can be with their approach, and this will allow you to maximize the potential of your meetings.
2. Be honest with yourself and your coach.
Now is not the time to try to impress others or smooth over your concerns in your own mind. Now is the time to ask for guidance and for getting real about your strengths and your needs. Your coach is already on your side, and the fact that you’re embracing your work together demonstrates your professionalism and your drive. It can be hard to look your concerns square in the face, but it’s the best way to get some support and address them.
3. If you’re looking for a job, focus on identifying strengths, passions, and values.
Many people seek out a career coach when they’re looking for a job. Especially at the beginning of a career, (after schooling is complete, or when considering a career change), it can be very helpful to meet with someone as you’re processing your options. Identifying your strengths, understanding your passions, and articulating your values can help you and your coach hone in on the kind of work that will suit you best. Then, your coach will help you develop your resume, prepare you for interviews, and help you find opportunities. This kind of focused work could give you an edge in a competitive job market.
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