Career Coaching: the Competitive Advantage

Today’s extremely competitive business environment demands that we perform at much higher levels than in the past. Powerful trends suggest that tomorrow’s winners will be those people who can constantly learn, adapt, and capitalize on the routine sudden shifts in the marketplace. While most of us are competent or even stars at our chosen profession, we may not be experts in determining how our education, experience, and acquired skills best position us for the future. Career coaching does.

So how can working with an experienced and skilled career coach provide you with a competitive advantage in our change-a-minute, unpredictable job market? It might be best to start with a brief explanation of what career coaching is all about;

Career Coaching is a one-on-one individualized program designed to enhance your job performance and job satisfaction, and to provide you with the focus, tools, and techniques to more effectively manage your career challenges, transition, and change. A coach’s main job is to help their clients determine what is holding them back and to design an action-oriented, results-based path to quickly bridge the gap between where they are in their career and where they can be.

How do you know if you really need a coach? Following is a list of questions designed to help you decide. 

  • Do you know what it is you don’t know?
  • Are you mid-career and feeling stuck?
  • Are you interested in developing yourself further?
  • Do you feel like you are on a career treadmill?
  • Are you burned out and thinking about doing something else?
  • Are you new at being an entrepreneur and feeling a little overwhelmed?
  • Are you overqualified and underutilized?
  • Do you have a written career plan to serve as your road map?
  • Are you waiting for a miracle?
  • Are you about to make a major career decision?

If you have decided to take the plunge and investigate whether coaching is right for you, maybe even go ahead and hire a coach, what do you do next? The best way to locate a coach is through word of mouth. That is, talk to people you know and respect to see if they have hired or if they know of someone who has worked with a coach. A personal experience reference is typically a great way to find someone. There are also professional organizations that can lead you to a good coach. The best is the International Coach Federation. Check them out at

Hiring a career coach is a significant investment. Not just a financial investment, but also an investment of time. The coaching client can expect a weekly, one-hour meeting, either in person or over the phone, plus 3-5 hours of “fieldwork” in preparation for the next meeting. What can you expect in return? 

Finally, does career coaching really work? Is it worth the money and time commitment? Like most things, that’s up to you. But, consider this. Michael Jordan, Meryl Streep, Tiger Woods, and many others have enlisted the services of a coach to help take them to the next level. Will you?