Part of my year of 50 challenges is being open to trying new things, including things that previously I had perhaps been hesitant to try or sceptical about, and this happens to come at a time when my work has been both uncertain and challenging. So it feels positively luxurious to turn my concerns over to someone else to seek a way forward and a fresh perspective. My careers advice to date had consisted of a brief meeting with an advisor at school who after a long one way conversation about my inability to do maths suggested accountancy as a career. So perhaps not surprising that in adult life using a career coach hasn’t made it on to my list of things to do. Until now.
My starting point was the Career Development Institute or CDI https://www.thecdi.net/Home, the UK professional body for careers advisors where I found listings of qualified professionals. By exploring individual profiles I could find advisors whose background and areas of interest was a good match for me. Most advisers will offer a free introductory chat so both of you can assess if you are a good match.
This support should be available to you in your workplace however I think that there are many reasons to seek an external advisor, here are some suggestions:
- Your employment is busy and demanding leaving you with little energy to take a step back and do that self-review
- It can be difficult to objectively review your own situation, skills and experience
- A change has arrived that impacts your employment/industry sector and you aren’t sure what to do next
- You aren’t certain that anyone in your workplace is really available/qualified (or interested?) to give you the feedback that you need
- Feeling concerned about job security makes it all even harder, you feel perhaps you should stick with what you already have
- Lacking confidence about skills, especially when reading long job advertisements that seem to be stopping just short of requiring actual superpowers
- Am I going to experience ageism/sexism/racism if I put myself out there in the job market
- Is this going to be really expensive and how will I get value for money if I see an advisor
Well the good news is that I feel that I have overcome several of these hurdles in just one meeting, with follow up online support too. I picked an advisor who charges a flat rate per hour and even after one meeting I immediately felt a confidence boost and also just inspired to take some time to dedicate to myself and investing in my future, rather than putting it off. There was homework to be done as my cv needed a revamp but putting the effort into it is easier when you have had some constructive suggestions on how to do it, and also knowing that someone is eagerly awaiting your efforts!
It sounds a bit sad to say but I’m not sure that I can recall the last time someone senior to me really took the time to help me to consider how I might develop my skills and career. That’s a vicious circle as it puts me off asking for that support too. I hope you have better luck! But sometimes luck is of your own making so why go and test out a career coach.
This is definitely a retrievingme kind of activity. Investing in yourself and taking time to do something that makes you feel more you. Not the cheapest of my challenges but for most of us work is such a significant part of our lives that I think its worth it. Do it again – yes I’ll do some more meet ups with my coach. I can use her support to prepare for job applications and interviews with my shiny new CV.