Do You Need a Career Coach?

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Perhaps. Just don’t expect them to work miracles…

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OK, so you’ve got a job but it’s not the job. You know, the one you always dreamed about. You’re certainly not alone; while 5.8% of Australia’s population are currently unemployed, there are millions more employed people who would love to change careers but just aren’t armed with the tools to do so.

Enter the career coach. Part counsellor and part coach, a professional, clinically-trained career coach has the potential to guide you gently into your chosen field, fending off stiff competition as you go by providing practical advice on how to tackle a career change. They’ll also be able to tap into the behavioural side of what may be holding you back and how you can overcome those emotional obstacles. Think you might benefit from employing the services of one? Here’s how you can get the most out of their expertise.

Figure out what you want. If you don’t love your job but aren’t 100% sure of what you would like to do instead, the best way to prepare for a session with a career coach is to consider this question very carefully. What elements of your current position would you like to take to your next job and what would you like to leave behind? If you can identify what you enjoy, your career coach may be able to suggest careers that are aligned with this. Of course, you may already have a very clear idea of the job you want – that’s great! But you still need to think about what it is specifically that attracts you to that position to better enable your career coach to guide you.

Choose wisely. There are lots of career coaches out there claiming to be able to change your career prospects with the wave of a wand. Be cautious. While the idea of walking into your dream job after just one session is alluring, it’s unrealistic and a good career coach will tell you as such. It’s usually recommended that you commit to 8–10 hours of sessions and remember; the career coach will never do the work for you, they do it with you. Do you research and choose one with proven credentials and a good track record.

Be honest about what you’re willing to change and adapt. A good career coach will quickly be able to identify your weaknesses and advise you how to overcome them. It may be that you need to gain more experience in your chosen field, especially if you’re changing industries completely. This could be gained through volunteering or unpaid work placements. Try to be receptive to any advice thrown your way, even if it means holding off on sending your resume to your dream company until you’re in a stronger position or doing extra, unpaid hours in a certain field in order to gain that initial experience.

And be realistic. You now know what kind of career you want, you’ve tweaked and polished your resume within an inch of its life – all that’s left is for you to actually land your dream job. But while a career coach can help you with the former, that aren’t equipped to actually find you a job – only you can do that. What they can do is have some concrete steps in place so when the position you want suddenly becomes available, you’re in with a fighting chance to get it. Make sure you remember that the hard work comes from you – they’re just the person running alongside you, helping you get to the finish line.

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