Of the possible strategies you can pursue in advancing your career, most will not outshine the effectiveness and pure efficiency of working with a coach.
I was fortunate early in my career to recognize the need to retain a career coach. In a nutshell, a career coach can help:
- diagnose and sort out your situation and opportunities
- offer new strategies for coping with office politics and competition from other firms
- show you vital stress management skills
- discover or capitalize on new opportunities
A good coach provides new tools to improve communication and helps chart your goals and career path. Your career adviser can also be your positive personal, behind-the-scenes confidant, consultant, and resource.
Can You Benefit From a Career Coach?
If you lack self-confidence, or feel as if your career progression is not on the right track, or are face with any of the following, then it’s likely you need a career coach:
1. Organizational changes within your organization especially if they have a direct impact on you.
2. Acquisitions or mergers.
3. Expansion into new markets.
4. Diversification into new products or services.
5. Increased competition to your firm from other firms trying to take over your market share.
6. Increased management or supervisory responsibility.
7. Increased leadership opportunities.
8. A recent or soon-to-be available promotion.
9. A new boss, or leadership shake-up above you.
10. Changes in your role or assignments within your company.
11. In-company competition and power plays, corporate intrigue, jockeying for position, or turf protection.
12. Blockades of your progress by internal feuds or informal political processes.
13. Increased media exposure or public speaking requirements.
14. Increased production or sales quotas.
15. A new project you must lead or participate in developing.
For several years I worked with a career coach – we met only once quarterly for two hours but I would depart supercharged.
Work Out an Employment Contract
Your coach might be able to guide you on the topic of employment contracts. The notion of generating an employment contract has been around for decades, yet most career professionals to this day do not know what an employment contract is, how to draw one up or how to ensure that they only work with a contract in force.
Among other things, my coach advised me on the importance of establishing a contract. When I first heard this, I was amazed.
“You mean that I am to march into my boss’s office and suggest that we develop a contract that defines both the company’s and my responsibilities over the next twelve months?” Yes. Exactly!
In all professions, the most valuable people work with a contract. This is true in Fortune 500 companies; Major League Baseball; the highest levels of government; philanthropic organizations; and civic, social, and charitable organizations. The top talent works with employment contracts.
Among other things, having an employment contract is a great confidence booster. Essentially, it defines your working conditions for the length of a specified term. It establishes your compensation rate and it practically secures your employment.
As a kicker, the contract enhances your confidence while you're writing it, and it gives you practice in acting assertively, both when you first introduce the subject with your prospective or current employer and when you actually conduct the session to consummate the contract negotiation.
Jeff Davidson, a.k.a. “The Work-life Balance Expert”®, speaks to accounting firms and associations on increasing their work-life balance so they can be more productive and competitive, and still have a life away from work. He is the author of Everyday Project Management, Breathing Space, and Simpler Living. Visit breathingspace.com.