Do you ever feel afraid that depression is hunting you down? I used to hate myself. Although I would occasionally feel as though there was something of value within me, it was so deep inside an internal vat of muck and self-loathing, it was never …
I recently met with a career coach. Even though I had met her before, I was nervous. I was coming to the end of a contract and I’m not sure where to go next. Is it time for a pre mid-life career change? Should I look for a cushy job that will give me a good work-life balance? What do I really want? It was time to meet my career coach!
What does a career coach do?
Meeting with a good coach is truly inspirational. You might come out of a meeting with a coach feeling pumped and confident. Or you might come out a bit confused, wondering if you got what you wanted. But as you think more about it you will realised that your coach (if they are a good one) has planted some fresh ideas in your mind. You just need to decide what to do with them.
A coach won’t give a lot of straight answers
At first you might feel concerned that your questions weren’t answered, but you quickly realised that the only unanswered questions were ones that had no answer. A career coach can’t tell you what job will make you happy. But a good one will help you work out what you enjoy about certain roles and give you guidance on how to keep moving in that direction.
A coach will ask more questions than they will answer
When meeting with a coach you should have a few questions prepared, but be ready for a lot of questions back! The purpose of a coach is to help you make your own decisions in a sensibly considered and logical way. You might say that you want more responsibility but you don’t want to be a manager. A coach might ask why do you want more responsibility? What type of responsibility? Why not managerial responsibility? Would you only consider additional responsibilities in your current work area? And only for a pay rise? Would you consider getting the experience of additional responsibility outside of your organisation? What about in a voluntary capacity? Get ready for a grilling: coaches are very good at making you realised just how much you HAVEN’T thought of!
A coach will challenge your assumptions
You will plan for this meeting. You will have some questions to ask and you will have an idea of what you want from the meeting and where you think your career is (or should be) heading. Don’t grasp to tightly to those ideas. A coach will question you, pose alternatives and soon you will wonder if your thinking has been off-track. Don’t worry. Any thought that you put into your career is not wasted. A coach will help you identify where your thinking gets stuck and help you widen your perspectives as well as your career options.
If you’ve met a good coach before you would know all this already! Have you met with a career coach before? How did they help you? How would you prepare next time?
During a routine LinkedIn profile review, Sheldon Cooper came to mind: “I need answers. I need to determine where, in this swamp of unbalanced formulas, squatteth the toad of truth.” The Toad of Truth was that this was not a routine review. This client had …
I have a friend who is highly successful in his field. He doesn’t seem aware that he has done well for himself. High grades through school, scholarships, placements, and he’s now in a very prestigious job. None of it seems to matter to him. It’s …
You thought you had it made. A friend set you up with an interview at their workplace. Surely your success is guaranteed! After all, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, right? But they still employed someone else. What happened?
I gave a friend’s CV to my employer once. I felt so good ! I was going to help my friend get a job. I was going to help my boss find someone with the right demeanour for the role. I was sure my friend would fit in well, in fact I was very confident she’d hit it off with a few of the senior members. You can imagine our surprise when my pal ended up being second choice. We both could have prepared much better!
3 things to consider before the interview
Here is what we learned too late: the important things to consider if you get an interview through a friend, or any mutual connection:
- Are you the right fit? Cultural fit may be more important than you think. Depending on the team dynamic, your relationship with your connection could be either a positive or negative in the employer’s eyes.
- How well does your connection know you as an employee, or know your career goals? An employer will assess you based on your abilities and your potential. You connection probably knows your abilities, but are you both sending the same message about your potential?
- Are you ready to do your best – just like any other interview? Don’t take this opportunity for granted – show that employer that you really will do what it takes!
3 actions to take before the interview
So how should you prepare for such an interview?
- If there is a job description available, get a copy. If there isn’t, go online and find one. Then quiz your connection about how it matches the role and what elements would be best to highlight in the interview.
- Ask your connection to inspect your outfit choice. Just because the uniform includes jeans, that doesn’t mean you should wear them for the interview. Best to dress at least one notch more formally” than the current employees. (http://www.monster.com/blog/b/what-to-wear-job-interview)
- Ask yourself why you want the job. Would you still want this job if your connection wasn’t working there? If yes, that’s great! If not, this might be the time to politely withdraw.
Remember, it is an opportunity. It’s not a guarantee, in fact, it may not even be a good idea! Assess this opportunity like any other and take it if it’s the right opportunity for you.