Depending on the environment or field you work in, the concept of having a coach, engaging in coaching, career coaching, even executive coaching or leadership coaching, may be considered as familiar as breathing air. For some of you it may be a new concept you’re hearing more about and considering. You’re curious. You wonder if it might be helpful to you.
Addressing this question in a global way, every few years The International Coaching Federation pairs with Erickson International to study the question of coaching effectiveness and gathers data on what clients say they have achieved through the coaching relationship and how it’s changed their lives.
Skills Based Coaching: Most everyone is exposed to fitness coaching, health or nutrition coaching, or weight-loss coaching. Nowadays there are experts in every field ready to to share their expertise to help you achieve those goals. Getting help with your resume, elevator speech, confidence, presence, or networking skills may fall into this category. These types of coaching are more specifically focused on developing a skill or outcome (lose weight, develop a good presentation deck, speak more confidently in front of a group, and so on.)
Transformational, Inside-Out Coaching: Other types of coaching are more change-based—they can be life-changing, sometimes even transformational. Typically it starts with a goal you wish to achieve, common to all coaching, but then it may assess patterns or gaps in your way, and steps to achieve the transformation you desire. Because it starts with you on the inside and connects this with how you are in the world, this coaching can impact your entire life—values, choices, decision-making, efficiency, focus, action-steps, and achievement. Because you bring all of you. A more authentic, fully-developed, mature you. This coaching is unique in a number of ways that I’ll highlight further in this article. But first, let me give you some real life examples.
Let’s Look at a Few Ways Career Coaching Has Helped Others
- Adam was in his early 40’s with a good history in a large company. As the company culture shifted he felt saddled with a younger manager, well intentioned, but still learning the ropes. While his new manager and everyone above reassured him he was highly valued, Adam was realistic about just how long it would take to move him into the functions that he desired and was promised. Having been at the company for a long while, and with security intact, he sought career coaching to help him uncover his options—inside and outside the company. A lateral move at this stage of his career was not desired. He even wanted to explore going it on his own as a consultant. With growing family needs, Adam sought a knowledgeable ally, sounding board, career coach, to help tie his values and needs, clarify his next desired direction, and take the action steps necessary to achieve those work-life objectives. He was introduced to networking contacts, built out his value proposition for unique companies and consulting gigs that interested him, and explored the financial impacts and lifestyle changes that would be required if and when he landed any option. As he explored these avenues and timing didn’t gel, he and his wife with a compatible corporate job opted for him going on his own and taking care of the home front and being around more for growing kids. Career coaching helped him uncover these high values and life desires. Paired with consulting contracts that energize him, Adam has found a good balance for this stage of his life.
- Sam is mid-30’s and she’s been in the tech trenches, behind the scenes, in a male-dominated environment since her mid-20’s. She described the environments as “stinky, smelly, and not friendly to women.” She’s great at what she does, but the culture of the company she’s in is no longer a fit, and she’s being squeezed out. With a 6 week deadline, she’s terrified, but wants to know if there is anything she can do than return to this type of tech job. She didn’t even know whats possible, but through career coaching Sam owned her values, financial needs, support system, and other passions. These were integrated with a narrow variety of roles she could offer a company if they provided some mentoring and training. Surprising even herself, she quickly landed a job as a sales rep for a builder in their interior design division. She got to dress up, engaged with creative projects, work with a team of fun people, and guide clients who really wanted her services.
- Emily, age 27 worked for a large international brand that sends young people with promise all over the country for 9-12 month training stints to develop management capability. She’s done well and has been reassured she’ll move into management next in a stable location. She’s was proud of herself and enticed by the praise and offers coming her way. But she just wanted to step back and reflect on what “she” wanted now to make sure this was the right next career move. Since her career development path at this stage was very reassured, career coaching allowed her to explore and integrate her whole-life desires. She wanted relationship and family in a few years. Very family-oriented, she wanted to be near her parents and siblings. She wanted to have time to engage in more creative pursuits, and to even consider if they could be a career option, or business idea she could pursue. And time to date, which she had not done much during her training program. Career coaching gave her a safe harbor to consider all these options, look at her long career trajectory and put it all in perspective. It also made her look at how comfortable her lifestyle and future were with the high-level salary and great work reputation she had become used to. During this career coaching process, Emily began seriously dating which also put some life goals and needs in perspective. She expanded her social life, continued to do well in her position within the company and relaxed into this stage of her career. Career coaching allowed her to see what was important now and also leave the door open to explore other passions in the future.
- Harold, in his late 50’s could see the next stage of his life looming in the distance. An attorney with specialized skills, partner within a reputable firm, he could see what he wanted to do 7-10 years down the road, he just couldn’t imagine the best steps to get there. His active, working wife and a good friend encouraged him to get some career advice so he wasn’t so alone in exploring how to achieve his goals. Career coaching was like an expert sounding board—acknowledging his well thought-out future plans, giving him insight into some of the internal challenges that experts in his position experience loss or change of work identity, and helping him explore small steps he could begin now to find out what he envisioned is what he really wants in the future. Along the way he’s committed to the writing and mentoring he wanted to explore. He’s taking a few longer trips with his wife and family, like mini-sabbaticals to experience being away from the office. From the mindset perspective, career coaching also focused on him seeing this phase as a time to explore and experiment. An action plan allowed him to choose options and retain some control over the future he began to create and enjoy.
Let’s Turn to How Perception of Career Coaching Has Rapidly Changed
Since the field of career coaching is fairly new, it’s value has rapidly shifted in the world of work. It has risen from being used in a remedial or punitive way— for people having trouble on the job—to something valuable, growth-producing, a gift-to-self, an endorsement of your competence, or simply a growth-mindset expectation from your boss or company.
If you’re interested in the statistics gathered on the life-changing, career changing impacts that coaching has had on a larger number of individuals, you can find one slice of data in the resources at the end of this article. Or see my summary article What Do Coaching Clients Say About How Coaching Has Impacted Their Lives?
So no matter the stage of your career, here are some of the basics and a few reasons people seek a career coach specifically.
Every human has four endowments- self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change… The greatest risk is the risk of riskless living…Live out of your imagination, not your history.
Coaching is a change-based, strengths-based learning approach that highlights your vision and empowers you to achieve it, in a short amount of time. Coaching is meeting an ever-expanding need and responds to a growing body of knowledge showing that people who create a clear vision, set goals, and implement plan of action actually accomplish more in life.
Career Coaches help people make decisions and changes in their work lives. Do you want more in life—and from life? Do you want more from your career growth? Are you trying to figure out how to integrate your work with your personal aspirations? An expert career coach will help you integrate your career decisions in the context of your whole life.
Business Coaches help leaders from feeling lonely at the top, by acting as a sounding board, objective feedback, and partner in strategizing needs to achieve your big business objectives. Business Transformation Coaching can help you become an even better leader. Business Consulting and Business Coaching can help you make the business decisions that propel the business, it’s objectives, and your people forward with greater continuity , efficiency, and ease.
If you go it alone, you can succeed. If you go with support you will soar to heights never imagined!
Coaching may be for you
Coaching is a future-oriented model that first asks: What’s your “Why?” What do you want? Where do you want to go to, grow to? Then it helps you highlight the “How?” and a path to get there with action-oriented implementation and achievement the outcome.
Career coaching is a supported way of working toward your goals with a sounding board. A Career Coach is someone with expertise and experience who helps you uncover your own best answers, often offering options, resources, and questions that can shift you more rapidly. It’s a learning approach that allows you to be in the driver’s seat, but not have to go it alone. It’s a model of intensive work, in a shorter time frame that offers rapid results. With a Carer coach you shorten your learning curve, you progress more quickly, and you can accomplish more than you would on your own.
At its very best, career coaching, is an energizing and creative partnership, contracted by the individual or the company, for the purpose of shining light on your desires, offering guidance to help you see and align with yourself more fully, lifting you up to your highest current potential, assisting you to reach further and to extend yourself more fully into your most expansive self, so you bring your talents and best work to the planet.
– Dr. Jan Hoistad
Coaching is a working partnership that can help you achieve a goal—or, transform your life
Career Coaching is a partnership between you and your coach, unless the contract is with your company. Then what is private and what is to be shared with the company needs to be clearly articulated. More often, companies realize the benefits of Career Coaching and support this approach to adult learning that benefits the company in so many now documented ways.
The Career Coaching or Business Coaching relationship provides a safe container in which you can articulate your objectives and stretch in new ways. Career Coaching is also structured process with a time, energy, and a financial commitment. It is an investment in your self and your future for the sole purpose of helping you step-up, acquire new skills, take a leap or reach a new level of development in one, a few or all areas of your life. When you seek a Career Coach or Business Transformation Consultant on your own, it’s an investment in yourself that can put you on a time-saving and joy-filled track to strategically and effectively:
- Discover and own your deepest objectives and dreams;
- Turn those objectives and dreams into actionable goals;
- Uncover your inner strengths, inspire your wisest understanding, and ignite you to expand your resources and build your team, your supports, and your community, be it at home or at work;
- Guide and support you along your defined path, teach you where a new skill, knowledge or mindset is required, and hold you accountable while you implement every step along your chosen way; and
- Celebrate your achievements with you!
People will exceed targets they set themselves.
Your coach aligns with what you want to achieve
Using a structured, yet personalized process, with the coach asking pertinent questions, presenting challenges, maintaining focus, and providing tools to elicit your self-discovery and your customized solutions, you are able to tap into heretofore unknown or unused inner resources to reach your own objectives. A highly skilled coach is artful in developing your abilities—using a variety of facilitation methods to uncover your innate knowledge with the goal of achieving a lasting result.
Sometimes you may require some instruction or need to learn more about specific areas needed to reach your goals, and your coach may take on a temporary teaching role, or direct you to resources where you can learn more. Additionally, a large part of coaching is about helping you during the implementation phases of goal achievement: you and your coach work together to create action plans to meet them.
In Career Coaching and Business Coaching, you choose and commit to your own goals, although a savvy coach will help you to hone in on what it is specifically that you want to see happen in your work-life situation. The Career Coach is often an accountability partner.
In a synergistic coaching partnership, a trust and momentum develops between you and your coach that activates forward motion. You are enabled to clarify your goals with the help of the coach and to make and keep an implementation plan. By choice, you become accountable not only to yourself for following your plan, but to your coach as well. The coaching process empowers you with practical and life skills that you naturally generalize to all areas of your life—contributing to an enhanced quality of life, more success and satisfaction in all your relationships and your work.
You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within.
For more information on impacts of coaching research:
Go to https://coachfederation.org/research/global-coaching-study to find a free executive summary.
Are you ready for a conversation? Let’s talk! Contact me here.
Dr. Jan Hoistad
Business/Career/Executive Coach, Relationship Expert, Blogger, Author
Dr. Jan Hoistad is passionate about helping professionals, business owners, partners, and teams develop the skills necessary to achieve success and fulfillment in both their occupational pursuits and personal lives. With 35 years of experience, Dr. Hoistad has been a pioneer in the field of professional coaching. She’s advised countless CEO’s, executives, business group heads, emerging leaders, partners, teams, and professionals in career transition and business development, teaching them how to dig deep, and sometimes loosen up, so they can start living by their values, finding their purpose, and achieving their professional and personal goals with intent and confidence. By helping professionals see that personal wholeness is a means to achieving optimum personal and professional performance, Dr. Hoistad provides her clients the tools to become catalysts for change in their own businesses, careers and lives. They learn to leverage their strengths, build on their expertise, and expand their influence to become true innovators in their fields.