Career counselling or coaching is more that just ‘taking a personality test’ and ‘picking a career’. Good career coaches should be able to offer much deeper reflection about where you might want to go, and how you might want to get there. They can also help shrink any self-doubt, under-confidence, or anxiety, that may arise, and can help you create realistic steps to achieving your goals. Most importantly, a good career counsellor is one who personally resonates with you.
I think it’s natural for us to question what we want to do, and what we want to be at many stages in our lives, from high school right through to till the day we retire. And each time we raise these questions, I believe we need to listen to ourselves, and take the time to explore our various possible work futures.
For many people this can be about finding meaning in work. Whether that means changing careers, or getting the job at a company that aligns more closely with your personal values, or just finding work where the day-to-day tasks are more fulfilling, meaning is something natural and valuable to think about and strive towards.
Whatever you are looking for, it can sometimes be daunting to think about what steps you should take, or what change you need to make. There may also be financial, training or other practical barriers adding to the challenge. Sometimes you might just need someone to bounce your ideas off.
So, what types of things might we explore in a career counselling or coaching session? This depends entirely on you.
Some people like to focus on practical skills such as:
knowing your current and transferrable skills and abilities
making plans with realistic timeframes
resume writing, cover letters and selection criteria, and
interview skills and techniques.
Other people like to start by exploring their deeper aspirations, which might include:
identifying values, interests and goals
considering your broad possibilities
developing an intentional direction
resolving barriers to emotional blocks to possible career opportunities, and
building personal motivation and taking responsibility.
Many people like to do a bit of both!
While every client is unique, many of my clients have gained clarity from this simple exercise:
Close your eyes, drop all barriers, limitations and self-censoring, and imagine a day in your ideal work. What does it look like? What does it feel like? What does it sound like? How does it feel at the start and end of your workday? How are you different?
What hours are you working? What is your income? What is your work-life balance like? Where are you living?
After some time in this imagined work/life, it can sometimes be useful to step back and ask “In what ways is it different to your current life and work”? Often it’s only once you allow yourself to visualise what you ideally want, can you begin to plan and take steps toward meaningful and fulfilling work.
I often hear “But what if I fail?” The question really should be “Will I be happy if I don’t try?” Personally, I have always seen failures (in anything we do) as successful as long as they teach us about ourselves, and show us what not to do next time.
Career coaching can be great for so many reasons, so don’t hold back on making an appointment whether it’s with me or someone else, find a career coach that resonates with you, and make that first step to making the changes that you want in your life.