Sports people and teams at the top of their game have a permanent coach to make sure they stay at the top. Why is it then, some people think receiving career coaching means they must have failed?
Coaches were once reserved for executives on the fast track to million-dollar salaries, but these days there are few people who won’t benefit from help with devising a career game plan.
Some people take the view that as a ‘manager’ they are above coaching. This raises the question: How many times can we, as individuals, point to an experience with a manager whose poor communication and or managerial skills resulted in the project that we were all working on falling in a hole?
The business world is constantly changing; technology changes rapidly and job functions change accordingly. The job someone started even two years ago may now have quite a different focus. This could cause an employee to think of leaving rather than embracing the change and instead consulting a career coach to help him/her deal with it. These days there seems to be a coach for everything, from life to love — and definitely careers.
Some companies as part of their change management strategy will offer career coaching to staff. This is not because they think the employee isn’t doing the job properly; it is more likely insurance to keep good staff. As a Harvard Business Reviewsurvey showed, career coaching is also seen as professional development.
In an article posted to Human Resources Media (HRM), Tony Mayfield proposes “a coach comes in as part of a change management program to evolve the culture by coaching leaders and leadership groups in role modelling the new values and behaviours linked to the change program goals”.
People might think it’s like sport where one needs to go weekly for training and pep talks.
Of course coaching can be weekly, but ideally it should be goal-oriented. One of the first things when planning is to establish goals. That sets the direction for your game plan and then it can be ongoing or intermittent. You might feel you need ongoing coaching if you’re in a job and you want to enhance progression. You might go frequently for several months, and then have a couple of sessions occasionally. After that you may only feel the need to come back when there’s an issue, such as a promotion up for grabs. It’s a very individual thing.
Herb Stevenson of the Cleveland Consulting Group states, “Coaching is most effectively employed when it is used to do one or more of the following:
- support individual and organisational change performance;
- provide adequate support to enable personal transformation and career role transition;
- support the development of future leaders for the organisation via enhanced ability for strategic thinking, providing vision and direction, accelerating change, intellectual honesty, integrity motivating and energising people, teamwork, and partnering, influencing, delivering results, valuing all people, and/or developing people;
- provide an adequate container to address a specific problem area or challenge; and
- support and facilitate the creation of an organisational culture that values learning, creativity and continuous improvement.”
All positive and all about organisational change, Stevenson’s article “What You Need to Know About Coaching Services” should be called “everything” you need to know. It is very informative, long but worth referencing.
From an individual’s point of view, there are a number of reasons why they would want career coaching:
- They don’t like the job they are in and need assistance to decide their next move.
- They were made redundant and need a career change.
- They have applied for a new job and want to perform at their peak in the interview.
- Professional development to stay at the top of their game.
When selecting a career coach, Dorie Clark in a Harvard Business Review article has this advice:
- Understand when to reach out.
- Identify the learning needed; this will determine the type of coach needed.
- Give the coach a test drive.
- Recognise it’s not forever. There will be different stages to address during a career.
- Check credentials and get recommendations.
Career coaching is not counselling, mentoring, training or consulting. Just like a sports coach, career coaching promotes teamwork, personal excellence and assists an individual to improve existing capabilities, their communication style, set goals, be accountable and eliminate barriers to more effective performance.
‘I will not be concerned at other men’s not knowing me; I will be concerned at my own want of ability.’ – Confucius