How many times have you heard that hard work will inevitably lead to all sorts of great successes? Probably more times than you care to remember. You have been working hard, year in and year out. And yet, somehow you feel that you should have achieved more by now. You should be making more money. You should have been promoted by now. And where is that dream vacation you’ve always dreamt of taking?
So what is going on? Why has all this effort not led you to the life you know you deserve? If you have been working toward your dreams all alone, you are at a disadvantage. Success is a team sport. Let’s talk about why this is the case and how you can build a career support team to get you there faster and more effectively.
Many of us have had no or very little career management training before starting our professional careers. Most people will not experience the advantages of mentorship or coaching even at organizations with a well-developed onboarding and buddy systems. Some individuals will manage to catch the eye of a senior staff member who will take them under their wing. But this is unlikely to happen to everyone. Right place, right time, as they say.
The best approach to career growth is to be proactive in building your career support team. Fill it up with people of different skill sets and experience levels. Your team should consist of peers, industry mentors and at least one professional Career Coach. Here are 5 reasons why a coach is such an important member of your team:
1. Benefit from your Coach’s knowledge, experience and connections
A Career Coach is an expert who brings you years of experience from their own life and lives of their clients. It is their job to stay on top of best career growth practices and trends, to have access to location-based salary guides, to know about professional organizations you may benefit from joining, and to build a library of free and paid resources. A coach comes with a professional network and all the benefits these new connections can offer, like job leads and opportunities for collaboration.
2. Get a different perspective and learn to tell your story differently
Often, when we work and strategize alone, we become used to a certain personal narrative. Do you know that little voice in your head that says life is unfair and your best just is not good enough? We all hear it. The problem with trusting that voice is that there is no one there to tell you otherwise.
That inner narrative is only valid while you continue working alone. One person has access to a limited set of resources. With a Career Coach as your teammate, you instantly get a different perspective on past actions, as well as current and future opportunities. A coach will remind you of the skills and accomplishments you are overlooking or not giving yourself enough credit for. They will help you to tell your story differently, in a way that offers greater benefit to personal growth. A creative coach will offer ideas you have not even considered!
3. Receive extra motivation to help you stay focused
While it is highly admirable that some people are driven purely by a sense of duty and require no external motivation, most of us need help in that department. Motivation-boosting techniques like working with a buddy or at a library hall still require quiet a bit of discipline to execute. Working in a group may turn into a social event, and working at a library may have you browsing social media for hours.
Now imagine having a personal cheerleader who cares about your goals, understands your projects, and even helps you complete them. A hands-on Career Coach does not only help to maintain a positive and productive atmosphere, they can also roll up their sleeves and help you finish your task. How’s that for motivation? Working side by side with a driven and organized coach will teach you how to do one thing at a time, prioritize, get and receive feedback, and manage your time like a pro. You will learn first hand why perfection is an enemy of progress and why it’s crucial to take time to celebrate small victories.
4. Your Coach will hold you accountable to your goals and deadlines
Everyone knows that setting goals and assigning deadlines will help to accomplish important tasks on time. When you work alone, there is no one to hold you accountable for your promises. One of the most important benefits of working with a coach is a guarantee that things will get done. Here is a person who is checking in with you at regular intervals to make sure you are not delaying your tasks indefinitely. For some people, the fact that they are paying for a service is motivation enough to get their act together and deliver on their commitments. There is an art to splitting a job into smaller tasks, sequencing them correctly, and assigning deadlines. Your Career Coach will teach you how to do this best.
5. Getting help is good for your wellbeing
Having an experienced and compassionate Career Coach on your side offers huge benefit to your mental health. One benefit of working with a coach is in their ability to create a safe atmosphere for discussions. They are here for you without a conflict of interest a professional affiliation might create. There will be no backlash for bringing up certain topics or expressing your opinions.
A coach is free to give you their honest feedback, so you don’t have to wonder about your progress. They will acknowledge your struggles and celebrate your successes. Feeling emotionally safe in your coaching relationship will undoubtedly help you build your confidence and decrease your apprehension about trying new things.
You should know that you are not alone. You are not the first or the only person to want to be utilized to their full potential and feel more in control of their career. Imagine what your life would be like if you had access to more opportunities and the confidence to pursue them. Partnering with a Career Coach can get you there much faster, replacing years of struggle with years of professional fulfillment.
So how does one go about finding the right Career Coach? While peers and mentors will join your team organically, you should be very intentional and selective in choosing a compatible coach.
LinkedIn is a great platform to look for coaches. For best results, try a few variations of the title like “Career Coach”, “Career Management Coach”, and “Career and Life Coach”.
Your goal is to find someone whose philosophy is similar to yours. This relationship needs to be productive, so you can’t be bumping heads all the time. Take your time and get to know multiple coaches before starting your collaboration.
Most coaches offer a free consultation call where you can get to know each other better. It is amazing how much you can learn about someone just by talking to them for 30 minutes. The tone of these calls is casual and friendly, but be prepared to ask insightful questions to make the best use of your time.
I want you to choose 3 Career Coaches and send each of them a personalized message requesting a free consultation call. And then, just talk to these coaches, person to person. Make a human connection. If you can manage these calls, just think of how much more you can achieve with a help of a professional support team!
Lana Melnichuk and Gabi Fraxino, August 15, 2020
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHORS...
Lana Melnichuk is a Career Management Coach for mid-career professionals, freelancers and solopreneurs. She works with individuals who want to take a more active role in managing their careers. She founded Two Steps Forward Consulting Co. in March of 2020.
Gabi Fraxino is a Revenue Manager who believes in the benefits of mentorship. She is Hotel Industry Analytics certified (CRME, CHIA), experienced in property performance, pricing, and profitability strategies. She is also proficient in PMS, RMS integration, and the fundamentals of Digital Marketing. Gabi is a member of The Hospitality Professionals Association (HOSPA) and a mentee at Women in Hospitality and Travel Tech (WHTT).