With the recent economic crisis, you may be thinking more seriously about on-ramping back into the workforce. This is a natural time to consider hiring a career coach. However, if you’re feeling pinched financially, there may be a voice in your head (maybe it’s your husband’s) saying, “Why would I hire a coach right now when money is tight?”
It’s true that all of us are more conscientious these days about our finances. We are looking harder at what would need to have versus what we would be nice to have—and prioritizing our expenses. If your priority is to getting back to work, are you willing to cut back on something else to hire a coach to help make it happen? The economic trade-off may be paying for a coach now versus income lost the longer it takes you to get back into the workforce.
Of course, you can do it on your own, and here are some things to consider: For most of us, conducting a job search is daunting. It may feel even more overwhelming if we’ve been out of the workforce for a couple of years. A career coach’s job is to help you reduce your anxiety during anxious time by 1) clarifying your goals, talents, and priorities, 2) developing a game plan, 3) holding you accountable, and 4) seeing possibilities.
Clarify: A coach is trained to provide assessments and ask questions that help you zero in on what you’re good at and what you want professionally. The more clear you are, the easier it is to target your job search towards those positions where you can play to your strengths and find work that’s rewarding. If you are stuck in the question, “I don’t really know what I want to do when I grow up,” a coach can get you unstuck and move you into action.
Game Plan: A coach also works with you to figure out what steps you need to take to land a job. By breaking down a large task—such as looking for work—into more manageable pieces, a coach can help you keep putting one foot in front of the other to achieve your goal. By its very nature, a job search is filled with ups and downs. So when you run into obstacles, a coach is there to be your champion and remind you of the next step. A coach can help you keep your spirits up and your anxiety-level down.
Accountability: Accountability is an important aspect of the coaching relationship. Studies show that when you say you’re going to do something out loud, there’s an 86 percent chance that you’ll actually do it. When you’ve made a commitment to another person (in this case your coach) that you’re going to spiff up your resume or set up informational interviews or research salary information in your target industry, it’s amazing what you get done. In this way, a coach keeps you on task and prevents you from falling into the black hole of procrastination.
Possibilities: As Rahm Emanual, Barack Obama’s pick for chief of staff, says, “Rule number one: never let a crisis go to waste. They are opportunities to do big things.” Or as a CEO of a local company put it, “Now’s the time to go on the offensive, not the defensive.” What’s possible in this economic downturn? You want to be someone who is looking for opportunities while others are retreating. A coach can help you see a situation from a variety of perspectives, then work with you to visualize and brainstorm possibilities. Perhaps the slow-down in the economy is simply an opportunity to take time for self-reflection and to figure out what you really want to do.
I admit that I’m biased, but in these trying economic times, there’s an argument to be made that it’s more necessary than ever for the serious job hunter to hire a coach. Just think what’s possible!