Your career management pathway: no work = no results

Re-configuring your career is a challenge for anyone but especially after three months in lock down, a coach will guide and hold you accountable to your agreed and achievable commitments.

When anyone embarks upon a career management path and works with a career coach, they frequently expect an ah-ha moment. They sometimes think that they will have a flash of “eureka” style inspiration and everything will make sense and a metaphoric beacon will light up their paths. This is one of the reason why as a Cognitive Behaviour Coach, I ask clients to sign a coaching contract. In all my years as a coach I have personally only seen that happen, maybe twice. The reality is that rather than a thunderbolt or lightening flash, it’s more about quiet realisation as a number of complex and interconnected pieces slot gently, and usually quietly, into place. No flashing or bolting. The contract is not about payment. It’s about commitment to the process and the work involved.

This comes about from doing inner reflection and being painstaking about all the other work that is associated with career coaching. This includes:

  •  understanding your goals values and vision
  •  identifying transferable skills
  •  researching key words
  •  researching and targeting companies
  •  building up a strategic network
  •  creating a compelling CV and LinkedIn profile
  •  honing networking and interviewing skills
  •  managing the process

A coach is there to guide and hold a client accountable to their agreed and achievable commitments. Most coaches assign clear goals in between sessions. They are not there to add pressure, but to encourage clients out of their comfort zones.

career management

This is the point where a client becomes an independent thinker exploring all the options open to them. They are taking charge of their own journey and results. They will not be able to achieve any of the above without going through this process. Sadly, there are no short cuts and a coach, any coach, can’t do it for them. Managing your career is a big task and if clients don’t do the work, they won’t get results. All a coach can do is explore the barriers and find ways to guide them through. It takes time particularly to look for another job.

As an experienced coach I can tell just by listening to someone introduce themselves, doing a networking pitch or describing a success story if they have done their inner work. Many try and cut corners but there is no substitute for practice… and then more practice.

Career management: No work, no results

All coaches will tell you that there are clients who come for coaching, but are not really committed to the process. There can be any number of reasons for that. Some have genuine reasons, others are about time management priorities. Some have deeper challenges which are usually about an unconscious block. One of the benefits of quarantine is that it has prompted some thought around some of life’s more important issues such as health and well-being and what we truly value in life. Many are rethinking their career goals and making some career management choices even looking at bigger more impactful decisions.

Re-configuring your career is a challenge for anyone but especially after three months in lock down, potentially under stress. It involves systemic and organised thought, research and even tackling some deeper issues which may have been pushed to one side. This can be emotional and it’s not uncommon for clients to verbalise in their first coaching session, sometimes for the first time, things that they know at a subliminal level have been hurting them or holding them back. This can be especially difficult if there is a relationship or abuse issue.

Coaching contract

For those that struggle to stay on task, a coaching contract is vital to encourage clients to do the necessary work, not just pay lip service to it. Some clients commit to a coaching programme but take a long time to start the work or fail to complete the inter-session assignments. I have seen clients take a few days and others take five months to reach the same point in the process. You can guess which client was more successful. Once a client has left the session a coach can remind, motivate and even highlight a potential coaching issue. But she can’t run the hard yards for her client.

The topics covered in career management coaching can change fast. Recruitment processes and candidate sourcing techniques are updated frequently. LinkedIn changes its features so regularly that people make a living staying on top of top of all the latest roll out programmes. But practicalities aside, career coaching gives clients life skills. All the techniques are processes they can (and should) apply themselves on at least an annual basis.

It’s important not to squander the opportunity.


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Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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