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What Is Coaching?

What is coaching, and career coaching in particular?

If you’ve ever felt stuck in your job, unsure of your next move, or torn between what you’re doing and what you really want to do, career coaching might be exactly what you need. Career coaching is not about someone telling you what to do or handing you a blueprint for success. It’s about working with a professional to intentionally, willingly, and in full self-awareness, move forward from your current situation to where you are doing what you want instead of what you feel you "should".

How I became a coach

I was inspired to become a career coach because my own career path was largely driven by happenstance. I didn’t know myself well enough to make confident decisions about what I wanted to do. Emigrating from the UK to New Zealand offered me a fresh perspective, and I realized that coaching was my calling. Everything fell into place.

Who can benefit from career coaching?

Anyone can benefit from career coaching, but it’s particularly helpful for those at a crossroads in their career. Whether you’re a teenager at the start of your career or mid-career and finding that your current situation no longer works for you, career coaching can provide the clarity and direction you need.

Common misconceptions about career coaching

There are several common misconceptions about career coaching. Some people think anyone can be a coach or that mentoring, advising, or providing guidance is the same as coaching. Others believe that coaches need to be experts in life or their chosen area to help others, or that coaches will provide the "solution" or give advice. In reality, coaching is about helping you find your own answers and guiding you to make decisions that align with your values and goals.

What happens in a career coaching session?

Every career coaching session is as unique as the person being coached. Not everything discussed will be directly career-related, as many other aspects of life intersect with job satisfaction. Together, we’ll establish a big, audacious goal for our series of sessions and smaller aims for each session. The focus will be on helping you know yourself, design your vision, identify and overcome barriers, and plot your way forward.

How career coaching differs from mentorship or training

While mentorship and training offer valuable insights, they differ significantly from coaching. Mentorship often says, "This is how I did it; take the lessons and use them." Training tends to prescribe, "This is how you should do it." Coaching, however, asks, "What do you want to do?" It explores how your values and what’s most important to you can lead you forward. It’s about who you want to be and how you want to feel in your career.

Outcomes and benefits of career coaching

Clients often experience increased self-awareness and knowledge that serve as their "North Star" in decision-making. They break free from the "rules" and start thinking about what actually works for them. They identify predictable barriers, the support they’ll need, and the signposts that indicate they’re operating from their less resourceful states to act as an early warning bell that they might not be making decisions from the best head, heart, and gut space. With this self-awareness, they can create a plan that supports them and assesses their options moving toward where they want to be.

Finding the right career coach

To find a career coach that’s a good fit, look for someone trained and qualified, who engages in continuous professional development, and who believes in coaching enough to be coached themselves. Read their website and social media to see if their approach resonates with you.

Effective tools and techniques in career coaching

Career coaches use a variety of tools, from logical and logistical ones like prioritization tools to help manage overwhelm, to theoretical and feelings-based techniques such as visualization and embodiment exercises. These tools are tailored to each individual's needs and goals.

Advice for the hesitant

If you’re considering career coaching but feel uncertain, take advantage of discovery sessions offered by many coaches. Speak to others who have been coached or read testimonials. Reflect on why you’re seeking change now, what has triggered this need, and what if the solution isn't clear or convenient. Ask yourself if you’re willing to engage in open-hearted honesty and truthfulness, even when it’s challenging. If so, you’re ready for career coaching. If you’re looking for straightforward answers, a recruitment consultant might be a better fit.

Career coaching is a journey of self-discovery and empowerment, guiding you to where you truly want to be in your professional life. If you’re ready to take that step, I’m here to support you every step of the way.

Head in the clouds, feet on the ground.

Get in touch if you have more questions via, or submit a contact form.


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