There are certain things that career coaches don´t normally do, and are neither expected to start doing in the future. Such expectations need to be made clear to individuals seeking to have a coaching session right from the start.
Career coaching is a highly beneficial service that can help people make significant steps in their career and secure good positions in their job search. However, the concept of career coaching may still be somewhat ambivalent to many Kenyans. Not everyone knows what to look for in a coaching session and how to fully benefit from the advice.
After closely monitoring career coaching sessions in Kenya for a while, we realized that coaching can only be successful if the expectations of both the coach and the client are aligned. There are certain things that career coaches don´t normally do, and are neither expected to start doing in the future. Such expectations need to be made clear to individuals seeking to have a coaching session right from the start. Here is our collection of five things that career coaching is NOT and should never be:
- Ready-made answers to all your questions - While career coaches are empathetic and adaptable professionals, they unfortunately aren´t your old friends who know you inside out. That´s why they cannot immediately tell you exactly what to do or answer all your detailed questions. But that doesn´t mean that you wouldn´t get plenty of insights from the coaching session. You can in fact get a lot: an external view to your career situation, sparring and challenging, help you make choices and set a clear direction for your career, and so on. Instead of a “dictionary of job seeking”, you should view your career coach as a sparring partner who helps you reach your full potential.
- A CV writing service - While career coaches typically have seen numerous CVs, and can tell you what’s good or bad in your current CV, they will never do the actual writing work for you. They can´t since they are not you. Instead, you are the only best possible expert of your own situation. You are best capable of using your own words, language and personal style when writing. Further, when your situation later changes, you should be able to describe all the new things yourself, independent of the continuous help of the coach. These are the reasons why you never can and should outsource your CV writing task to a career coach.
- A recruiter who gives you a job - The career coaches are not recruiters. They don´t hire people to their companies, don´t take applications and don´t book job interviews. So please do not try to convince them to accept your application, because they don´t do that. Instead, you are more than welcome to ask them to help you improve on your job seeking skills. That´s what they normally do, that´s what they are good at. And, once you have received insights from your coach, you are better prepared to apply for jobs of those real recruiters and hiring companies.
- A mirror of yourself - The job of a career coach is not to act as a “mirror” and tell you all the things that you already know, e.g. your great strengths and achievements or your obvious weaknesses. Yes, you might get confirmation to some of your earlier thoughts, and that can be helpful too. But in essence the career coaches are there to challenge your own views, to bring in new ideas and tips, and to make you ask yourself those tough questions that you normally wouldn´t. So, the true benefits of the coaching lies in creating something new and challenging the existing ones. You should be prepared for that when you speak with a coach: to have an open mind, curiosity and strong will to learn. These ingredients are essential in taking full advantage of your coaching session!
- A silver-bullet one meeting - While even one meeting with a career coach might be extremely helpful and a great start of a journey, please be aware that a change in your career might take time and effort to happen. Therefore, you might not get everything solved in one meeting, instead you might need several sessions that take you further, step by step. So, when it comes to the very first meeting with a career coach, your expectations should be realistic. Take what you can, ponder the advice you receive, think of how much forward it got you. And if that isn’t enough, keep on training by yourself, sharpen your plans individually, and ask for further help if needed.
To summarize: career coaching is a great service, no doubt about it. And it can be highly beneficial and effective to almost all people, independent of the background, education or work experience. However, people who are considering having a career coaching session should keep the above-mentioned points in mind when they start exploring the coaching services. Following them ensures that the sessions with the coach will be optimized and enjoyable.
Fuzu is a Finnish-Kenyan company that develops career guidance, online learning and recruitment services for the emerging markets. We help people to take the next step in life, get inspiration and unleash their hidden potential. Click here to see how you could benefit from Fuzu career coaching services!