What value can a professional Coach add to my career progression?
In over 15 years of working as an executive search consultant, I have support hundreds of people moving from one job to another. While doing this, I have always had a more than average interest in what drives people to move away from one job and get enthusiastic about the other one. You see, many of these career moves are made based upon believes (true or false), ideas of how the next job ‘should look’ as an ideal picture, external influencers (partner, colleagues, friends) and driven by (financial) opportunity. There is nothing wrong with that. However, to what extend is it really YOU that drives this decision? Are you really intrinsically motivated and one hundred per cent aligned with what this new position entails for you both professionally and personally? This will ultimately be defining the satisfaction and fulfillment you’ll be getting from your next career move. It will also greatly influence the sustainability of this ‘next career step’.
What does that mean to me?
That’s a very relevant question to begin with. Many people just go from on job to another and from one company to another. Very often I meet with people that have come to a point where they know they are not in the right place (anymore) but they can’t really see why? And more importantly, when looking forward to what should or could be their next career step, it becomes even more silent…
So check again, what does your job mean to you? What aspects of it can you differentiate and how do you relate to and value them? And what does this tell you about yourself and how you manage your career? Indeed, many questions you could ask yourself. Though often you don’t take proper time to do so, right? And when you touch on difficult areas and maybe even areas that are pushed back to your subconscious mind, you will be the first to quit the questioning and just move on, why bother. And that’s a shame, cause that’s when you are about to gain relevant insights!
How to define Coaching
Asking questions, getting insights, enhancing development. In short that is what coaching is about. Coming from an advisory background, I quickly learned coaching is not about giving advice to the coaching client, the ‘coachee’. It’s also not ‘teaching’ or ‘mentoring’ cause that would be more or less developing and learning skills. So what is coaching? In the professional coaching academy I attended, we use the following description: “Coaching is the supporting and challenging of a coachee, in a by the coachee self-directed and on experience based development process, with respect to a certain context’. That’s a mouth full, but just look at that sentence and see what it means to you.
A superficial approach provides superficial results
In career related coaching there are coaches that tend to focus on competencies, skills and behaviour. You could call that coaching ‘above the waterline’. mccelland’s iceberg model explains this clearly:
Coaching above the waterline can give you some insights and maybe also development in competencies or behaviour that suits to the next career step you envision. However, it does stay quite superficial and does not really touch on the core of drivers that determine your #actual motives and alignment with who you are and what you really want in your life and career. Diving under this waterline through coaching can give you insights that really clarify who you are, what you want and what approaches would fit you best to actually get there. This approach is called ‘inside-out’ and refers to first looking what’s at play on the inside (above the waterline) and from there on, look outside and see how this relates and connects.
What does it take?
At the end of the day, coaching is all about you and not at all about the coach. The latter only facilitates the proper context in which you can get new insights enabling you to learn and develop. There must be, whether deep down or right at the surface, a desire to develop or learn about your self. Being confronted with ‘road blockers’, restricting belief systems and limiting behaviours is not always easy. It takes guts, persistence and commitment to get through this initial phase in coaching. But from there on, you will see there is a great opportunity to change and improve your situation, attitude, energy and results. You can shift from a more ‘conditioned’ state to a state where you are in ‘flow’ things work for you automatically. You are the only one to decide if you are up for it and if you truly feel you are worth it. Take a moment to yourself to become aware of that feeling; is it hard?
What is the benefit for me?
Sometimes gaining or even regaining one important insight, can drive you to take action and change you situation for the better. The insight is a starting point; you becoming aware of what is going on and how the things you are doing actually relate to you. From that point a coach will support and challenge you to create a clear perspective of your envisioned goals, ambitions and even dreams. Also in defining what first steps you can take and how you can undertake specific actions to start actually realising your perspective. It is an integral approach starting from the inside and then working forward to create your desired situation on the outside.
And what about my career then?
Now how does this all relate to your career? As soon as you really know well who you are, what it is you desire and where your strengths are in realising that, the rest will almost follow automatically. A career development coach can support you also in that phase with several aspects of aligning the right activities to your prospected goals, getting market insights and assessing what market approach fits you and your situation best. At that point however, you will likely discover that hard work has already been done!
Author: Mark Volmerink
Mark Volmerink is a professional career coach and executive search consultant. With 15 years of experience gained in multinational environments as well as with his own business, he has supported hundreds of people in achieving their envisioned career goals. He is a true believer of the inseparable connection between personal and professional goals and desires. His vision on coaching is that every person is unique and has a potential. Unlocking that potential is his mission.