Asking a career coach for help is no small step. Some will feel like it is an admission of weakness and helplessness. That's incorrect. Ask yourself whether ignoring one’s own weaknesses and insecurities is really any smarter.
All of us have stood at a crossroads at one point, disoriented and unsure which path leads the right way. There is no shame in that whatsoever. A career coach can help you find the right career path, work with you to move aside stumbling blocks and avoid detours.
The major advantage of a career coach is that he or she ideally has more experience and expertise than you and can assess your professional situation from an unobstructed perspective. Here you will learn what managers should keep in mind when looking for a good career coach...
Five reasons you should consult a career coach
- You want to improve your leadership skills.
- You are stuck at a professional dead end and don’t know how to move forward with your career.
- You are unsure about a potential job change.
- You are considering self-employment.
- You would like to improve your customer/colleague/boss relations.
How to find the right career coach
There are many self-proclaimed career advisers, and the market is sometimes dizzying. The marketplace is full of experts as well as pseudo-experts, bluffers and amateurs.
For this reason, you shouldn’t put your own future in the hands of the first career coach you find. Instead, look with an open and critical eye.
1. Research: Look through databases (for example, the Berufsverband für Coaching, Supervision und Organisationsberatung – BSO) for suitable, qualified candidates and enquire about their reputations. Also consult online rating platforms and social networking sites. Or ask colleagues who may also have consulted career coaches for recommendations – unless confidentiality is important to you in your search.
2. Compare: Contact several (ideally, at least three) career coaches to compare your options.
3. Be patient: Take your time and don’t sign a contract at the first meeting. Carefully consider all the pros and cons before making your decision.
A good career coach meets the following criteriaPreparation
During an initial consultation, a good career coach will work with you to analyse your current professional situation. You should be sceptical if they already ask to be paid for this service.Emotion
Establishing good mutual rapport is absolutely essential to the success of the coaching. After all, you are divulging information about yourself, revealing professional details and discussing your animosities and fears. To build a relationship of trust, both parties should be on a similar wavelength from the very beginning.Respectability
Whatever you do, make sure not to confuse a career coach with a therapist with whom you share everything while sitting on the couch. You are there to discuss the current station of your career, not your most intimate feelings (even though one can be greatly affected by the other). You want to achieve a specific goal and need professional assistance – not esoteric suggestions.Qualifications
What career path has your candidate taken? What training or further education qualifies them as a career coach? What specifically did they focus on during this time? These are relevant questions that deserve an answer.Background
A coach who also possesses leadership experience will probably be more sensitive to your problems than someone who has never worked in a large company. Life experience and age are also relevant. People who themselves have had to struggle through complex life crises often have better advice to give. Still, even the best career coach had to start somewhere. So don’t hesitate to give a newcomer a chance if you are convinced of his or her qualifications.