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Career coach - worth it?

(3 Posts)
Chorltonswheelies422 Wed 24-Feb-16 21:14:08

So I'm in a good job tech service delivery and just been promoted but I never really knew what I wanted to do and got here by luck really. I feel anyone could do my job - it isn't rocket science! The luck bit combined with this all makes me feel uneasy and doubt myself. I did strengths finder and there is a little story in the introduction about a man asking St. Peter who the greatest general of all time was and St. Peter telling him and the man responding that he knew the man in life and he wasn't a general at all. St. Peter said 'he would have been the greatest general of all time IF he had been a general'. This really struck a chord with me and I'd love to know what I would be the greatest at. I've been wondering if a career coach would be a good investment. I have plenty of drive and enthusiasm and would be unstoppable if I knew where it was I was going. I'm so envious of people who know what they want to do/be

EBearhug Thu 25-Feb-16 00:25:14

I used a careers coach a few years ago. I found it useful - just gave me different ways of looking at things, not just my strengths, but also my values.

One of the things I struggle with is knowing, this is what I'm good at, this is what is important to me - what job profile does that fit into? I think if you can work that bit out, then getting training and experience to get there - well, it might not be easy, but having some direction is key. (Still haven't entirely fixed that.)

One thing I have found in tech is that not all managers are necessarily talented people managers, and it's not always easy to get the support you need to progress your career. My manager is basically on-side - but he just doesn't have enough knowledge and skills to mentor me properly. So be prepared to look elsewhere in the company for mentoring - if there's any formal mentoring programme available, find out about it, see how you can get involved. If you find a gap in your experience is X, find someone who knows about it, and ask them to tell you more. They might not have time for formal on-going mentoring, but most people (there are a few gits who are exceptions - always useful to find out who they are, too,) most people want to help where they can, and will agree to sit down for a short time to explain something.

Also, once you have more direction, let people know where you're hoping to get. Try and find someone who will sponsor you - i.e. they're higher up and will spread the word about you to people who will be useful in getting you towards the role you really want. You need to get your name known, so when vacancies do come up, people will think of you. Alongside this, you need to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and link to people in your organisation. There are some women in tech groups on there, too, and I have been to some useful networking events through them. (Besides anything else, it's just nice to meet other women who work in IT!) If your company has any sort of internal profile, make sure that's up to date, too, so people can search for your skills and so on internally. (We have this, but apparently HR will actually look at LinkedIn before the internal profile, so I try to keep them both roughly in line with each other.)

If there's a women's network, that can also be useful - ours is great, really focussed on professional development, but at other places, they're not as useful. It's worth considering taking on a voluntary role with something like this, to gain other experience you might not get in your current role, e.g. writing for a newletter, or chairing a committee.

Also, if your employer offers something like tuition assistance funding of any sort, that might be helpful when you have found what you might want to do.

So - yes, careers coaching can be useful, but you need to have some idea of what you want to get from it (otherwise, it's expensive and less valuable, rather than money well spent,) and it needs to be just one strategy among a range of others.

Mine was a service from my union, i.e. cheaper than it would have been full-price. I think there's also access to some careers coaching through the employee assistance programme, but I'd need to refamiliarise myself with what services they offer there. :-) So if either of these paths are available to you, then that might make it a bit cheaper than full-price.

Chorltonswheelies422 Thu 25-Feb-16 09:16:47

Thanks EBear - sounds like we both have the same issue - we know our strengths and values but don't know which job profile would suit us best.

Thanks for the tips - going to start following up on those today

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