An acquaintance of mine recently asked me what career coaches do and why would anyone hire a coach to help them figure out what to do when they finally ‘grow up’? Granted, this friend was chiding me a bit but instead of launching into the text version of what career coaches do, I explained the magic of the ‘Coach’s Space’. The Coach’s Space involves three elements which benefit the client.
1. The Third Space – You see, when a client and a coach connect a ‘third’ space is co -created in which creative ideas, insights and results emerge that otherwise would not occur if the client tried to focus on such thoughts independently.
2. A neutral partner – The space created by the career coach is not easily obtained by a client and say, his or her spouse/ partner etc. The coach must be a neutral third person who holds no agenda nor tries to set an agenda. You see, the other unique quality of career coaching is that the client sets the agenda. It’s the coach’s job to help the client keep focused on that agenda and embody the principle that “It’s all about them.”
3. No bad ideas -A career coach provides a supportive environment which enables the client to ‘try on’ different ideas. How many times have we had what we thought was a great idea but were hesitant to share it with our partner our spouse for fear of being criticized. A thoughtful career coach will encourage her clients to experiment with many job targets until the right match is discovered.
To illustrate the value of coaching, I will share a personal example with you. When I was in my late 20’s the sport of triathlon was just beginning to emerge. At the time, I was a decent runner, a mediocre swimmer and had not touched a bike since I was a kid. Becoming intrigued with triathlons, I began training and ultimately completed my first ‘sprint triathlon’. I was hooked!
As I started to gain confidence, hoping to compete in more events, I shared with my husband (at the time) that I wanted to train for the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. (Big mistake!) He promptly turned to me and said, “Debbie, you are crazy. There is no way you could ever do something like that.” Talk about a put down. Well, I did not let that stop me. I made the decision to start working with a triathlon coach. The rest is history. At age 55 I have completed 4 Ironman Triathlons (including two in Hawaii), dozens of Olympic distance triathlons and numerous marathons. My coach understood my passion for the sport and supported me in my goal of completing my first Ironman race.
Like athletic coaches, career coaches create a supportive environment where clients can realize their potential and reach goals that might not have been achievable otherwise. Individuals seeking meaningful careers stand a better chance of reaching their goals when partnering with a career coach.