Career transitions can be discouraging but having an experienced coach can help. While tackling a job search on your own might seem like a reasonable approach, having someone on your side to help you navigate a career change can provide new revelations and fresh ideas. Patricia Polischuk explains how a career coach can help you answer the right questions, understand your value, and provide the emotional support needed to land your next role.
As a career transition coach for most of my career, I have met people at all levels of an organization who, after six months of looking for a job on their own will share, “I regret not taking the outplacement services I was offered when I left my company, I thought asking for the cash equivalent made more sense at the time, I didn’t expect it would be so hard to find my next job.”
Every person’s circumstance is different and sometimes, if the choice is available, taking the monetary equivalent to an outplacement package is necessary. However, trying to navigate a job search can be tough, and filled with emotional highs and lows.
Here is how an experienced career coach can help:
Often you have been in a job, career, or organization because you fell into it, or you didn’t know there were other options. By working with an experienced coach, being asked simple questions about what motivates you, where you have felt most successful and what has given you the most energy at work, you can discover new career options to explore.
Understanding Your Value
It’s often difficult for us to see our own achievements. When listening to a client describe what they’ve done in their career, I am amazed by their accomplishments, but my clients will say, “I was JUST doing my job.” By working with a coach, you come to understand it’s not just what you did but how you did it and the impact your actions had that can be the difference between you and another candidate when applying for a role.
By connecting with someone, asking questions to understand the challenges their organization or industry is facing and explaining how you have solved those problems in your previous roles, I have seen people switch functional roles, start their own businesses, move industries, leave large organizations for smaller companies, alternately move from not-for-profit to for-profit organizations or shift from permanent work to fractional work. In most cases, these individuals are more successful in their new roles because they are energized by their work and more satisfied because the organization’s culture and purpose is a fit with their needs.
These leaps are not easy, if not impossible to make, if you are only applying for jobs online. A career coach can help you develop a strategy for a new market or function and connect with people and opportunities. In speaking with people, you can help them understand the value you bring to their organization and how you can solve their challenges.
An experienced career coach has connected with hundreds, if not thousands of individuals over their career including clients, customers, colleagues, and associations. We just don’t bring our knowledge of the job market to the table; we bring our network of contacts that we leverage for you as part of the career transition process.
The interview process has changed significantly since the pandemic, with an increase in the stages that are part of the process which can include virtual interviews, assessments, multiple stakeholder meetings and presentations. Being able to prepare, practice, and receive feedback on how you are showing up and how to effectively manage the interview process is key to ensuring you are spending your time effectively. Your coach provides a safe place to practice those difficult questions that can leave you floundering or rambling in an interview.
Before the pandemic, clients describe looking for a job as riding an emotional roller coaster and that friends and family who, while trying to be supportive, often increase their anxiety as they look for their next role. A career coach provides a safe place to vent on those difficult days and is your cheerleader when you need one. Here’s an inside tip, career coaches are in it for your success, we are motivated to see you not just find your next gig but help you better know yourself, your value, build your network and be prepared for future career change.
Some of my favourite outplacement clients were the ones who upon meeting me for the first time said, “I don’t see the value in working with a career coach”, they have gone on to be the best advocates for outplacement services.
If your exit package doesn’t include assistance with your job search, ask for it, the worst they can say is no, and if it is offered, have a conversation with a career coach before you decide you don’t need it.
Coming soon—questions to ask when selecting a career coach.