“Dogs have boundless enthusiasm but no sense of shame. I should have a dog as a life coach.”
A life coach is a person who counsels and encourages clients on matters having to do with careers or personal challenges. No doubt you have heard about life coaches and career coaches. Maybe you have even used one. The two terms, life coach, and career coach, seem to be used interchangeably as many life coaches do provide career coaching. It makes sense because it is nearly impossible to separate your career from your life. They are often entwined and not always for the better.
My personal story
My career wasn’t my entire life, but it was a huge part of my identity and at times, it took over. When it did, it was a problem. I often relied on my wife and mentors to help me through these tough times. About three years ago though, I hired a life coach, and it was the best thing I ever did.
For me, it was the right decision, but it may not be for you. I was lucky; the career coach my friend recommended was simply amazing. Her name is Susan, and it’s not too much to say that she saved me. I will forever be in her debt.
She helped me confirm that I needed to leave my job and take the next step. I had hoped to make this move for some time, as it was the next stepping-stone in my career, but I didn’t have the self-confidence and a well-thought-out plan to take that leap. I would have stayed in that job, and I suspect it would have ruined me emotionally and physically. Susan helped me realize that and challenged me to make a change.
So, what exactly did she do? Well, first she provided insight into what was causing the pain and making me sick. She improved my self-confidence, gave me tough love, held me accountable for specific tasks, and challenged me to create an “exit plan.” I now call this the “Career Escape Plan.”
What you should know about life coaches
In the following article by CBS News “Money Watch they list 10 popular myths about life coaches.
The 4 key points I want you to take away are:
- Anyone can call himself or herself a “life coach.” The accreditation you should look for comes from the International Coach Federation (ICF).
- A good coach will hold you accountable, not be your friend.
- Good coaches don’t tell you what to do; they help you come to your own conclusions.
- Most personal coaches charge a monthly fee of $500 to $2,000. Note: My coach and I met 2x per month, and at that time her fee was $150 per session.
Where can you find a life coach?
I recommend you ask around and see if you have a friend who can recommend someone they found useful. If you don’t have a recommendation from a friend, here are three directories to help you begin your search. Be careful though, since I don’t know any of these coaches, I can’t personally endorse them. Please make sure you interview them and have them describe their experience with career transitions and how they can specifically help you.
How can a life coach help you with your career change?
Sometimes a life coach can help you work on the issues that are impacting your current career, and more specifically, your current job. This could be learning how to communicate with your peers better, be more assertive, become goal-oriented, and increase your productivity.
Other times, however, you need a career coach that can help you identify a career that will make you happy; one different from the career you are currently in. He or she will then assist you in laying out the path necessary to make the change. Changing careers can be very challenging, and if you are seriously considering re-inventing yourself to do this (that is part of it), then you are going to want to make sure you find a coach that has this specific experience and expertise.
If you take a look at my Blog #4: Constructing the Career Escape Plan, you will see all the elements of a successful career transition. They may not all apply to your situation, but many will. They include conducting personality and career assessments to determine which career is best suited to you, understanding how to identify and articulate your transferable skills, and how to conduct salary research to name a few.
Every week, I write on these issues on my blog. I also frequently provide free resources that will help you with all of this.
How I can help
www.fixmycareernow.com has resources and articles that you may find useful as you navigate your career transition. Please check it out. Also, as I mentioned in my earlier blogs, I am creating a program for those who may need professional career transition help. I plan to launch that program at year’s end.
Take care till next week,
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