Two signs you could be ready to bring in an expert.
A traditional (and golden) piece of career advice is to “get a mentor.” Perhaps more than one. Having people in your life whom you can go to for encouragement, advice, criticism, tough love and those all-important connections can make a big difference to your career.
Even better, mentors often enrich your personal life, too.
But have you ever wondered if you could also benefit from the services of a paid “job coach”? After all, a job or career coach is all about you, 100 percent. A mentor’s help is usually given voluntarily, on an occasional basis. Indeed, though the relationship is often deep and can span decades, you can ask only so much of a mentor.
Job coaches, on the other hand, can be brought on board when you want to intensively work through a specific issue. In fact, one way to tell if you would profit from a job coach’s services is if you can clearly identify a need — a position in a new-to-you field, say, or a significant promotion. Ideally, a job coach has extensive experience in the field you seek to excel in, and has expertise you don’t have (this usually involves but is not limited to résumé writing and the intricacies of “self-branding”).
Another sign that you might benefit from a hands-on coach is the sense that your career is going nowhere. Have you been doing a lot of job hopping? Do you feel unfulfilled, anxious and depressed? Did you just get passed over for promotion for the umpteenth time? Are you not sleeping or eating right? Maybe what you need is the direction and discipline that a good coach can provide.
Do keep in mind that career coaching is not regulated in any way. Pretty much anyone can set him or herself up as a “coach.” So you’ll want to do your research — talk to friends and co-workers about their experiences, consult the various career coaching professional organizations, ask for references, check out their online presence and request a free consultation.
Most of all, be clear in your own mind about what you’re seeking from the job-coach relationship, and don’t overestimate what coaching can do for you. The heavy lifting of changing your work life will still be your responsibility.