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Over the past few years, we have begun to hear this term being widely used “Career coach”. The popular American TV series “Billions”, shows Wendy Rhoades showcasing the effect performance coaching can have. Her job as an in-house performance coach is to keep the fiercely brilliant and ambitious young men of the firm functioning at peak power. The boss, Bobby Axelrod, sees her as one of the most valuable assets of his firm.
In the first episode, Wendy helps one of the fund managers regain his mojo after his fund starts faltering compared to those of his peers. Wendy gets him to pay attention to the voices inside his head: the one that tells him he’s a loser, and the one that tells him he’s the greatest. Using both physical and mental tactics, she focuses him on the second voice and he leaves her office pumped up — within 24 hours he has made a decision that earns the firm millions.
In real life and more recently, Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky of Airbnb announced on 5th May in this email about the company’s decision to let go of 1900 employees. In the severance package, he mentions about utilising the services of Rise Smart - a company that specializes in career transition and job placement services.
So what does a career coach do?
Career coaches provide services that are vastly different from the popular job placement agencies.
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This famous quote from Carl Jung – “People will ask you who you are. If you don’t tell them, they will tell you.”, summarises personal branding so simply. If you don’t tell people who you are they will start labelling you. We already have enough labels based on our roles during our life, so do we need more labels from other people to tell us who we are?
We usually hear the term branding is used for products or services. In advertising, branding is defined as the product or service is immediately recognizable and subconsciously familiar. A brand plays in the market due to its pricing, advertising strategy, identity, and customer experience.
Using this principle can you identify what your brand represents? A career coach can help you work on these aspects and help you gain clarity on your brand.
Once your personal brand and vision for yourself is clear, your resume should reflect your brand in combination with the job and organisation that you are applying to. Job placement companies also provide resume writing services, however, they do not focus on the person behind the resume.
Do take note, with the use of Automatic Tracking Systems, HR professionals spend a little less than 9 seconds to look at a resume. So your resume should not only have the correct keywords but should also be appealing so that the HR is compelled to pick it up.
Did you know that a lot of jobs are not advertised? These jobs are what career coaches call “The hidden market”. As you climb up the ranks fewer and fewer jobs will be advertised.
Hidden recruiters are available on LinkedIn or only within social networks. A career coach will be able to guide you through this hidden market and open up their networks to cater to clients looking for that leadership position. A coach unlike a consultant will not guarantee you a job but will guide you about the process so that you can navigate the job search market on your own too.
Many times we are not able to crack that interview in spite of being strong in our area of expertise or skill set. Nowadays, companies do not look for only skilled people or people having strong technical knowledge. In fact, as organisations grow and begin to embrace diversity and inclusion; attitude and personality are becoming key factors in the hiring process.
An interview coach is not going to provide you with scripted answers but will help you refine and articulate your personal brand in a manner that will reflect honesty, transparency and your true self.
Peer support is a very important part of the coaching process. It not only helps to strengthen your network with your peers but will also create a support group where your peers will act as the source of the hidden market. The job search can create a fair amount of anxiety, fear and vulnerability in people, and peer support along with a coach can help to un-wrap those emotions so you can better understand how these factors may be keeping you stuck in your career or job search.
To add a quick note – coaching is not consulting.
Say you're learning how to ride a bicycle. A consultant would ride the bicycle for a while and write you a "how-to" manual. A coach would have you get on the bicycle and walk alongside you, guiding you through the process until you felt confident enough to ride on your own. Hire a consultant when you need an expert who can teach you a process or method. Hire a coach when you want to discover yourself. By and large, clients can reasonably expect to gain career confidence, insight, encouragement and inspiration. They should also feel as if the coaching relationship grants them some permission to relax a bit.
About the Author:
Geetika is a professional Career Coach with over ten years of experience in guiding professionals to overcome emotional barriers to job search, navigate mid-career transitions and changing their mindset. She has assisted many professionals in effective personal branding, getting through interviews and gaining clarity in their job search journey. “Be the Change you want to see!”.
This blog post also appears at Kasozi Associates where Geetika contributes as Guest Editor.