What is a Career Coach?
Go to school, sit your Leaving Cert, decide on a college course, complete your studies and settle into a career: that’s the plan for everyone but it is a plan that rarely works. Some are lucky enough to know what career they want from an early age. Others figure out during their Leaving Cert that they love a particular subject or set of subjects and dedicate their studies towards that. For many people, however, they never discover their true calling. They move from school to university and into a job without ever really finding a career that they can love.
It is probably true to say that people who love their work are in the minority. These people are the lucky ones. If you can sit down to your desk at 9am (or begin treating animals at dawn, or run a restaurant at night) knowing that the next eight hours or so will be enjoyable then work is very easy, it might not even be realistic to call it work. Instead, it is the part of the day that provides mental fulfilment and satisfaction. It is essentially what MihalyCsikszentmihalyi (1992) refers to as “flow” in his excellent book of the same name. Many people spend their time lying in bed at night and in the morning dreading getting up and going into the office. However, if you can find something you are passionate about, work becomes easy, and you jump out of bed and approach the day with energy and verve. Ideally, this should be what everyone looks for from their day.
A career coach is someone who can help you find that job that makes you sit up and enjoy your day. A good career coach will usually be a qualified therapist or psychologist trained in and familiar with the way different people think, and ready to help anyone. They shouldalso have experience in career counselling. They can help you find out what it is that makes you tick, by engaging you in understanding your thoughts and concerns and looking at your passions and experience, translating that into a set of skills and understanding that is relevant to the job market and prospective employers.
A career coach generally helps you by talking to you and helping you realise what it is you enjoy doing, helping you see the value in things you appreciate. When people are good at something they tend to downplay their achievements. They think that they’re good at it because they feel the subject is easy, “Ah, sure anyone could do that!” The reality is that if you think something is easy it is because you’re good at it and enjoy it. Most people would be baffled and have no understanding of the things you can pick up in minutes and do all day long.
A career coach will talk to you about these aspects of your life, engage with you in a series of psychometric tests, present options and give you a better understanding of careers, showing you how it is possible to take what you’ve learned from one career and move successfully into another. A good career coach will help you turn your passion into something you can spend your day getting paid for doing.