Category Archives: Career coaching

The Benefits of Working with a Career Coach

The Benefits of Working with a Career Coach

Use a professional to advance your career

Coach or counselor

I received a phone call from someone asking me about the benefits of working with a career coach and whether I’m a career coach or a career counselor. I reversed the question to see whether the caller knows the distinction between the two terms. As expected, the caller did not. But that caller was not in the minority, because almost everyone uses the two terms interchangeably. In fact, there are even more such terms: career consultant, facilitator, mentor, and even manager-as-coach.

Marcia Bench in her book Career Coaching: An Insider’s Guide describes in detail the nuances of each term. However, for practical purposes and for the majority of people, the only question that counts is whether any of those people who hold the various titles can help clients get jobs or assist them with career changes. Of course there are also many other issues that any one of these professionals can help with.

What do clients want?

Clients look at a coach and expect the person to be someone who is confident and responsive. The coach needs to demonstrate knowledge of how to maneuver between the myriad job search strategies that are out there, and the coach must be current with rapidly changing platforms in, say, social media, for example. In terms of expectations about what clients can get from a coach, many clients come with certain preconceived ideas, and so a coach must stay open-minded and often call on intuition and experience in order to produce optimal results for a client.

An experienced coach develops an eye for clients’ strengths, innate talents, and skills but at the same time has to help clients face—and overcome—weaknesses. Everyone has perceived weaknesses; some don’t see them objectively and thus can’t deal with them effectively. Here’s where a good career coach can be potentially crucial. Working with a career coach definitely reduces job search time—occasionally, quite significantly. Above all, a good career coach has to be an excellent listener and know to ask probing questions.

What is a session with a coach like?

Similar to other professionals, each coach has an individual style with which the coach feels confident and effective with clients. Many coaches are generalists, meaning that they help clients with a wide variety of topics such as résumé creation, networking, social media, LinkedIn profiles, written and verbal communications, interview preparation, and salary negotiation. As an example, my subspecialties are interview preparation and salary negotiation, which is of course not to say I don’t help clients with all the other subjects involved in career coaching as well!

While doing interview preparation, we conduct extensive mock interviews. I videotape clients for a few minutes, and then we analyze the tape together. I also provide feedback on a client’s image and make suggestions for improvement.

What is the cost?

Career coaches’ fees vary widely. Most career coaches have Web sites, but not all of them list their fees there. Why? Sessions can last anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours. Some coaches charge by session; others charge a global fee in the thousands of dollars.

My suggestion is caveat emptor: let the buyer beware—and do a thorough evaluation with due diligence. Interview a coach before handing over your money, and above all, if there’s no chemistry between the two of you, run away and find someone else regardless of the cost.

 

How to Detect the Interviewer’s Personality

How to detect the interviewer’s personality is not an easy task. During all of my corporate working years, my subordinates and associates heard me say, “Nobody impresses me the first 60 days on the job.” I must have said that dozens of times because I truly believe the thought. Basically, via that sentence I was expressing the concept that the impression one makes in the job interview doesn’t always pan out in real life on the job after, say, 60 days, once reality begins to set in. At times, the real person appears to be very different from the one that made certain impressions during the interview process. I am a career coach focusing on the specialty of the interviewing process. I teach clients by practicing mock interviews with them so they can become appealing to cadres of interviewers. Those interviewers of course have various personalities and wide-ranging needs, and a candidate that is one size fits all will not fare well without being able to assess and then adapt to the interviewer’s style and interests. For example, the interests of the hiring manager are different from (1) those of the human resources interviewer and (2) those of potential future peers and (3) those of the hiring manager’s own supervisor. How can you find out the style of the interviewer? Many of us have developed through the years an intuition for assessing people we talk with. Some of us are better at such assessment than others, and some of us are not so good at it. For those who feel challenged in this area, I prepared a short video, which is available via my LinkedIn profile under the Summary section. In this video, I describe four types of people who conduct interviews. Of course, no one type is pure, with only one type of personality; we each have in us a combination of personalities, but most of us have a dominant personality. Once you read the person interviewing you, the learned adaptation should come automatically. For example, if the interviewer is an executive interested only in brevity and the bottom line, then a candidate’s long-windedness is a prescription for failure. If the interviewer is the friendly type, feels talkative, and likes working in teams with others and a job candidate is too brief or focuses exclusively on self, which would not work out either. Can you emulate a chameleon? Please don’t misunderstand my intention. I am certainly not one who admires an insincere or fake personality. For me that would be an instant turnoff. But my suggestion for you is to learn how to change your communication style so as to adapt to or accommodate a variety of people and situations. In other words, a story can be told by emphasizing extensive and minute details in order to be thorough, or it can be summarized briefly and get quickly to the punch line. So, open your eyes and ears early into the interview, make an assessment of the person sitting on the other side of the desk, and respond in that interviewer’s style. Such a skill will bring you much closer to being liked—and hopefully, to receiving the job offer.

I wonder about his personality

How to detect the interviewer’s personality is not an easy task. During all of my corporate working years, my subordinates and associates heard me say, “Nobody impresses me the first 60 days on the job.” I must have said that dozens of times because I truly believe the thought. Basically, via that sentence I was expressing the concept that the impression one makes in the job interview doesn’t always pan out in real life on the job after, say, 60 days, once reality begins to set in. At times, the real person appears to be very different from the one that made certain impressions during the interview process.

I am a career coach focusing on the specialty of the interviewing process. I teach clients by practicing mock interviews with them so they can become appealing to cadres of interviewers. Those interviewers of course have various personalities and wide-ranging needs, and a candidate that is one size fits all will not fare well without being able to assess and then adapt to the interviewer’s style and interests. For example, the interests of the hiring manager are different from (1) those of the human resources interviewer and (2) those of potential future peers and (3) those of the hiring manager’s own supervisor.

How can you find out the style of the interviewer?

Many of us have developed through the years an intuition for assessing people we talk with. Some of us are better at such assessment than others, and some of us are not so good at it. For those who feel challenged in this area, I prepared a short video, which is available via my LinkedIn profile under the Summary section. In this video, I describe four types of people who conduct interviews. Of course, no one type is pure, with only one type of personality; we each have in us a combination of personalities, but most of us have a dominant personality. Once you read the person interviewing you, the learned adaptation should come automatically. For example, if the interviewer is an executive interested only in brevity and the bottom line, then a candidate’s long-windedness is a prescription for failure. If the interviewer is the friendly type, feels talkative, and likes working in teams with others and a job candidate is too brief or focuses exclusively on self, which would not work out either.

Can you emulate a chameleon?

Please don’t misunderstand my intention. I am certainly not one who admires an insincere or fake personality. For me that would be an instant turnoff. But my suggestion for you is to learn how to change your communication style so as to adapt to or accommodate a variety of people and situations. In other words, a story can be told by emphasizing extensive and minute details in order to be thorough, or it can be summarized briefly and get quickly to the punch line. So, open your eyes and ears early into the interview, make an assessment of the person sitting on the other side of the desk, and respond in that interviewer’s style. Such a skill will bring you much closer to being liked—and hopefully, to receiving the job offer.