What Is Career Coaching?

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Written By RobertMaxfield

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Today, I thought I would write a post to provide some clarity about what career coaching really is and what it can do for you.

Some coaches may specialise in a specific industry or niche which means they will likely be an expert in their field-for instance, returning to work after a break, or helping ex-military professionals start life in the corporate sector. These are just two examples of specialist career coaching roles.

What is career coaching all about?

Helping clients to identify their strengths and skills and to make career decisions

Coaches help clients to conduct an assessment of their strengths, transferable skills and talents that can be applied to their careers.

The way this is usually done is by different assessment methods. There is a huge range out there and these include: Myers Briggs Profiling, Card Sorts, specific online courses, the list goes on…

Once a client’s strengths have been assessed-and understood-this information is then used to make career decisions in the short, medium and long term-depending on a client’s specific situation-taking into account their preferences and what they would like to do.

Professional Goal Setting and Action Planning

Career Coaches help by providing a process and guidance to clients to establish their professional goals. Professional goals can vary hugely depending on what they are for instance” I want to get into leadership” or “I want to get into a Management position within 3 years”.

The important thing about goals is that they have to be achievable, time-bound and specific. In my experience, discussing these in detail with clients, agreeing on what’s realistic and then rolling it all up into a targeted action plan is the way to go, even if these goals are long term ones that might take 5-10 years to achieve.

It might be that a client is in between jobs and might require a fixed term position or temporary position as a short-term goal, to be used as a stepping stone to a medium or long term objective.

Overcoming Obstacles

At some stage in your career, it’s likely you will encounter some obstacles. Perhaps you’re not able to advance up the ladder, for example. It’s true that some of these obstacles can be de-motivating, but only if you let them become that way.

Career Coaches help clients by listening, and talking through these issues, to offer perspective and to help clients find a solution. Not just any solution-a specific solution that fixes the issue and allows the client to move forward in their career and life.

When considering common obstacles-take interviews, for example-some people can be absolutely brilliant in their careers, breezing through every turn until behavioural-based interviews come along and the nerves kick in. Coaches can help by giving clients practice at interviews or ‘role playing’ these situations out. This helps the clients gain confidence, and ensures they have a game plan or set approach for interviews.

Most coaches have experience in recruiting or hiring or might have worked in a role where they have interviewed others before which really helps.

Obstacles aren’t just limited to interviews though-they can be general career decisions, personal development planning, advancement, or perhaps a client who is working in a difficult environment, who might need support to make some changes.

What I Specialise in as a Career Coach

The area I work in as a coach its best summed up with a statement,

“I work with Motivated Professionals to help them to Achieve Career Success”.

What this statement means is that I provide specific solutions to professionals from the corporate, public and private sectors to help them make the right decisions for them in their careers by using a process. I help them to uncover the answers through coaching.

I do this by helping to provide clarity, by helping clients to remove obstacles and by helping them to set a plan for the way forwards.

I also specialise in the following:

Targeted Action Planning for short, medium and long-term time periods, by helping clients to set specific, but flexible, target-driven goals to achieve career success and ultimately to help them land their dream job and career.

Interview Coaching

I specialise in preparing clients for interview using the STAR technique (behavioral-based interviews) and the more general interviews types. I do this by helping clients to compile a bank of answers relevant to their career experience, and how to predict what interview questions are likely to be asked at interview, based on the role applied for. I also use role plays to help others practise, and I can tell you these are a valuable tool for building confidence and self-esteem.

Strength Assessments

Helping clients to understand what their strengths are, how best to use them and what careers or specific roles they would be suited to. I use a range of different methods to help clients understand their motivations and then set action plans (as described above) to help them see ‘How’ they can get there and what steps are required.