Michael Jordan, Muhammed Ali and Florence Griffith Joyner all had it in common. Shaquille O’Neal, Mark McGwire and Venus Williams have it in common today. They all had a drive for results. And they all used coaches.
But why would anybody want a career coach? Aren’t careers something we’re supposed to understand how to navigate from point A to point B? Isn’t this inherent knowledge we are just born with? Why would anyone need a coach to show you how to do something you already know how to do?
The answer is because you don’t know how to do this already without a lot of unnecessary mistakes and backtracking. Sure you can go through the motions, and actually have some successes. To get there you need an inordinate about of drive, self-discipline and a very thick skin. You’ll also need a lot of extra time, probably years.
I’ll be the first one to say that it’s a lot easier to just sit back and watch time tick. Plenty of people do it. Don’t ask them if they’re satisfied though. Sadly, they prefer to not think about it. Or they may launch into a sermon about the toil of life. Believe me, I’ve heard them all.
When I left my project management job in Hong Kong, I spent a good six months trying to find a job that I actually loved. To save money, a friend literally let me rent out a closet in his apartment. It was 2 feet by 2 feet, 4 * feet high and pitch black. I had to buy a bed a five year old would sleep on that I had to fold in half in order to shut the door. My family and close friends stopped believing in me, which made me stop believing in myself. They thought it was ridiculous that I was searching for a job that I loved. They told me things like:
- Take any job, just get a job.
- Why are you being so picky?
- Why don’t you just lower your expectations?
- Why don’t you give up finding a job you’re going to love?
- That’s not going to happen.
I wish I had known the “me” I am today back then. If I find a career coach back then, it would have saved me years of needless pain and sadness that I don’t wish on anyone. I would have found fulfillment in my career so much faster with the help of a great coach. The good news is, that the techniques I use today are founded on all the things I found that did and did not work over those years. I believe that coaching is my gift. That part of me is what makes me successful at helping my clients find their unique gifts.
So, what makes a great coach? A great coach is able ascertain the difference between coaching for instruction versus coaching for performance. Both are necessary components, but, like a strategic game, must be used at the right time for most effectiveness.
You’ll find a career coach also has these qualities:
- Able to give clarification about what you’re really looking for in a career
- Act as a sounding board to your loftiest goals and dreams
- Unearth what it takes in your life to find fulfillment
- Help you identify what is holding you back from where you want to be
- Able to ascertain and handle each client’s unique needs
- Accelerate progress
- Possess exceptional people and motivational skills
- Identify and appeal to the core values of the client
- Realistically streamline a plan for success