Posts Tagged ‘career coach’

Lots of people ask me these days if I am a career coach or if I know one.  I’ve been tempted to add career coach to my site because in fact, nearly all of my clients have come to me about something related to their careers.   And it seems that’s what people are looking for these days.

But I hesitate to change things because I consider career to come under the banner of life coaching.  And the way I support people looking for a job or career change is the same way I support them in other things.  I’m not as a consultant with a specific plan for how someone should look for a job.  I come at it from the perspective that a career/job should fit into a client’s whole life and so the client, not me, has to be an integral part of designing a search strategy.

So what do I do?

  • I’m there to listen;
  • Offer different perspectives…it’s sometimes hard to remember that there are different ways of looking at situations;
  • Hold the client accountable for what she says she’ll do (no, not that!);
  • Push him to step out of his comfort zone if it might mean getting what he really wants (not that, either!);
  • Be a cheerleader…not with pom poms, but someone who sees your potential reminds you of that.

And my clients keep getting jobs…good jobs despite the dire economic reports about hiring.  So, yes, I’m a career coach, a parenting coach, a relationship coach, a get-your-ass-in-gear coach…a life coach.

I assume Richard Friedman, M.D. didn’t mean to make a case for coaching in his article, When Self-knowledge is Only the Beginning, in the New York Times (click here to read the whole article), but I think he makes a good (if unintentional) case for it!  He starts out:

It is practically an article of faith among many therapists that self-understanding is a prerequisite for a happy life. Insight, the thinking goes, will free you from your psychological hang-ups and promote well-being.

Perhaps, but recent experience makes me wonder whether insight is all it’s cracked up to be.

I wonder the same thing.  I think there is definitely a place for insight, and for some  people it is an important piece of the puzzle.  But for many others who are stuck in their lives and wanting change, insight is not the key:  action is.

And coaching is all about action…big and small.  It’s about acknowledging that you’re in a situation that makes you unhappy and figuring out alternatives.  There is always another choice…another thing you can do, even if it doesn’t feel like it.  Knowing the root of your unhappiness and focusing on it can even be detrimental.  If someone frames the cause of their suffering as a given or fact, they may start to believe in only that reality.

Friedman talks about a chronically depressed patient with a lot of self-knowledge.

He had been in therapy for years before I saw him and had come to the realization that he had chosen his profession to please his critical and demanding father rather than follow his passion for art. Although he was insightful about much of his behavior, he was clearly no happier for it.

When did he get happier?

…my chronically depressed patient came to see me recently looking exceedingly happy. He had quit his job and taken a far less lucrative one in the art world. We got to talking about why he was feeling so good. “Simple,” he said, “I’m doing what I like.

I think that is one of the strengths of coaching.  You focus on where the passion and energy is and steer the client in that direction.

So, thank you Richard Friedman, M.D. for your article, but next time could you please make a direct plug for coaching.