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How to find the right coach for your career change

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Today’s executives are under more pressure than ever thanks to social media exposure, and they have to act faster than ten years ago. The implications of a wrong decision can be huge, and it doesn’t get easier. Only a decade ago, getting help to run a business or grow your career was only for a privileged few; today, we’re much more open to getting the help we need to advance our careers. But how can you choose the right executive coach for a career change? And how do they make a difference? 

What is the ROI of an executive coach?

Here we should have 2 quotes from people who have worked with you- about how working with you changed their careers. 

Executive isolation has become a real problem. As you progress in your career, employees are less inclined to give constructive feedback or point out things that aren’t working in the company. Others start dealing with tasks that they think are just a nuisance to you while you focus on bigger problems, but often these smaller tasks can make you aware of underlying issues that then go undetected. And it could be these issues that later become a problem if you decide to change your career. You might, for example, be a bit rusty when it comes to certain soft skills needed for your career change, but no one dares to tell you that as you’re so high up the career ladder already. 

An executive coach will keep digging until they find the real cause of the problem. And because they’re hired to give constructive feedback, they’re not afraid to criticise unhelpful management tactics or blind spots. That can help to create a measurable improvement in a murky area like communications. A goal like improving communication should be tied to specific, measurable actions. Once you’ve mastered this new skill, changing careers is much easier.  

How do I choose an executive coach? 

In the U.K., anyone can market themselves as a coach without any formal qualification. That makes it difficult for executives to find the right executive coach for their needs. A shiny website and some good photos on Instagram don’t guarantee that a coach is an expert in her field. Here are the things you should look out for. 

  • Chemistry

That’s arguably the most important part of coaching. No matter how experienced an executive coach is, you need to click to achieve results. Openness is essential for coaching, and you’ll only feel comfortable sharing personal details with someone you like and work well with. A good coach will offer you an initial call or meeting so you can to know each other. 

  • Accountability

Executive coaching isn’t therapy; it’s about achieving results. Tell your coach what you want to achieve so they can formulate a plan to get you there. You can set weekly or quarterly homework that is tied to your goal. Your executive coach can also rein you in if you’re a perfectionist and have a too high a standard. Sometimes, smaller steps get you there faster. 

  • Experience

It’s not only about the number of years someone has been an executive coach. You might prefer someone who knows your industry well or has worked with people in your position before. Or, you might look for someone who usually coaches people in an industry you’d like to work in but haven’t yet explored. An executive coach working in that field can give you a unique outlook on this industry. If you always wanted to have a side hustle, look for a coach who has done that already and can help you grow faster. 

  • Credibility

Although anyone can call themselves a coach, most aspiring coaches will get a certificate from an institute accredited by The Coaching Federation (ICF), for example, The Optimus Coach Academy. Always check their accreditation before. Not every institute or academy is genuine. 

What should I talk to an executive coach about?

Executives often have to make lonely decisions and don’t get enough feedback. Many employees are too afraid to make any suggestions or can’t see the whole picture. Then, there are NDAs to consider. You can’t share everything with the people in your company. That’s exactly where an executive coach steps in: They offer an unbiased view of your strategy and tactics without interfering with your position. 

A good tactic is to write down the problems you’re currently facing, without adding too much detail. Every session can be dedicated to one of these challenges. You’re probably a little nervous about a career change, and that’s completely normal. Discuss with your coach what exactly you fear. That can be the reaction of friends and family when you announce you’re leaving a safe job for a new career. A career coach is your sounding board for new ideas and can lend you confidence when you’re nervous about taking the next step. 

What does a good executive coach do? 

A good executive coach isn’t here to give answers; that’s what consultants do. Instead, they ask you really good questions that force you to see things from a different angle. You’re capable of finding the right answers, but too often, we stand in our own way. An executive coach unlocks your potential. There’s less hand-holding and more strategic planning involved. They’re likely to point out areas that need improvement. That could mean automating processes to save you time, help you develop your communication skills or develop your team. All of these blind spots can make a huge difference to your career change. It’s also vital to know your limits. A good executive coach will make you aware of your weaknesses and help you to work with them, not trying to make them your focus. If you would love open your own company but hate to deal with customers directly, you can create a plan on how to outsource that part of your business. Too often, we think we have to do it all ourselves, but to grow, the first step is to hire people who do what we’re not good at. 

What’s the difference between an executive coach and other forms of coaching? 

Executive coaching is less about personal development and more about checking your thinking. Too often, we trod along the same old path and can’t imagine any other way. Executive coaching shows you where you’re stuck and encourages you to think differently. While life coaching helps you to detect unhealthy patterns in your private life, executive coaching expands your career opportunities by helping you address blind spots. It gives you additional business knowledge and the ability to focus only on your career and growth for the time of the session. That alone can give you the push you need to become more ambitious. But an executive coach isn’t a therapist. There is no hand-holding, no dwelling on the past, just straight talk and questions you might have never dared to ask yourself. A good executive coach gets you out of your comfort zone and makes you aware of what you’re capable of. 

How do I get the most out of executive coaching? 

Before you start working with an executive coach, it helps to list all the areas you feel are challenging. A coach won’t be able to think for you; it’s still vital you’re taking time off your schedule to write down what you struggle with and why. As with everything in business, get it all in writing; then you can see the impact of your sessions with an executive coach. That doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers already. Maybe you would like to change your career but are unsure which industry would be a good fit for you. Listing a few industries you have in mind with the goal to go through each of them is a great starting point. An executive coach can’t make decisions for you, but they can point you in the right direction. 

If you feel like you need a pointer right now, let’s have a chat. You can book a free discovery call here with me here. 

How to find the right coach for your career change - Just Jaz

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