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6 Signs It's Time to Hire a Career Coach

career Jun 15, 2021
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It's not uncommon to work through career issues or challenges on your own or with the support of a colleague or friend and not seek the advice of a career coach. But, in fact, some issues can be easily worked out with a great resource or sage advice.

However, more challenging career issues need a bit more than a DIY approach. Women, particularly women of color, struggle with asking for help and overall don't ask for or get the support they need. Instead, they tend to rely on outdated techniques and information that may have served them in the past but will NOT get them where they want to go in the future. As I always say, 20th-century techniques won't get you a 21st-century career.

While over 73% of women want to change or improve their careers, many suffer from the "I can do it all by myself" syndrome. In fact, I used to suffer from it myself. After all, when you're a high-achieving professional, successful woman, it's common to believe "you got this" and need little to no assistance.

The problem with diagnosing and trying to solve your own career issues is that you're too close to the situation, and it's not your area of expertise. That's why you hire a doctor when you're sick, a roofer when you need a new roof, and a mechanic when you need to fix your car. So, why half-ass your way through something as important as your career? The key is to find the right career strategist to help you.

What are the 6 Signs It's Time to Hire a Career Coach?

Before we talk about finding the right career coach, let's talk about the six signs it's time to seek someone out.

1. You can't clearly articulate your next step and don't know what to do.

Your future vision self provides a huge amount of rocket fuel, inspiration, and motivation to power you to do what you’re meant in the world to do. But you don't know what you don't know, and you're not objective enough to discover it on your own. So, if you think you know what you want to do next, are confused, or you really don't have a clue, then that's a clear sign you need a coach.

2. You're ready to make a pivot, but you're afraid.

I get it. You've climbed that ladder of success, and it appears you have everything you could want. Other's look up to you and even envy your career. The only problem is, you realized that you've climbed the wrong ladder and no longer love the view, and you have no idea what a pivot will do to your career or life. If that describes your situation, it's time to seek an expert to help you navigate the terrain.

3. You've tried to make a change, and it didn't work out as planned.

Too often, I hear my clients tell me that they, on the advice of a blog, mentor, or colleague, took a new position, job, or role only to regret it later. As a result, there's a great amount of fear around making any move because it may be the wrong one. If you're feeling stuck or trapped by the fear of making the wrong move, then it's definitely time to seek support.

4. You've been sending out resumes and can't seem to land anything you want.

This is more of a sign that you don't have clarity on who you are and what you really want, so most likely, you're going after everything. There's been research to prove that while 95% of people think they're self-aware, the truth is only 10-15% of people actually do. A great career strategist can help you uncover your authentic persona (not your career persona), which will help you easily identify the right work for you.

5. You're feeling overwhelmed.

Overwhelm can often be a sign that you're afraid to make a choice or commitment. But, on the other hand, it's possible that your vision scares you and you've become paralyzed, unsure of the next step to take. In this case, hiring a career coach/strategist will help clear out the blocks preventing you from reaching the levels of growth and commitment you need to achieve what you want.

6. Your career challenges are impacting your life.

Whether you're burnt out, frustrated, or just plain bored at work, more than likely, it's spilling over into every area of your life. Irritability doesn't just affect your performance at work; it affects your relationships, mood, activity level, joy level, and yes, even your health. Work shouldn't feel like "work." In fact, I believe there should be an alignment between who you are and what you do. I don't believe in work/life balance because that suggests that you have to manage two separate lives instead of integrating one. This is one of the things my clients appreciate most from our work together. If your dissatisfaction at work is impacting your life, it's time to get a coach.

So, what do you need to look for in a career coach?

1. A great career coach or career strategist will give you the personalized support you need and serve as an objective partner to help you achieve the results you want. 

2. You'll also want to look for someone with good chemistry because you'll be working very closely together.

3. Find someone who's "been there and done that," meaning their experience can serve as a resource for you. 

4.  Check out their perspective and methodology through articles, blogs, social media, and their website to ensure it's something you can appreciate and understand.

5. Know the difference between a resume writer/reviewer, interview prep coach, and career strategist. They often all use the term "career coach," which means you need to do your research to get exactly what you need.

6. You also don't want to forget about reputation. What's the "word on the street" about your coach. Look for markers of credibility and a lot of testimonials. For example, I'm a member of Forbes Coaches Council, Newsweek Expert Panel, was on the TEDx stage, have a monthly career segment on my local morning show, have been interviewed and spoken on career topics, and recently been named one of the Top 25 Career Blogs and Websites to Follow.

7. Don't look for someone to co-sign what you want or tell you what to do. Instead, be prepared to do the work if you want results. Coaching doesn't work unless you do. So get prepared to roll up your sleeves and commit to the investment of time it takes to achieve your goals and dreams. 

8. Be prepared to invest in an experienced career strategist or executive coach. The cost could range anywhere from $10k to $30k, or more, for a talented and reputable career coach.

If your career hasn't quite turned out as you planned and you now feel ready to take a step to have a career you love, check out my Career Rebel Academy™. It's a comprehensive program for high-achieving women at midlife ready to take control of their careers and have the life they deserve.

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