This post is written by Aurora Geis, head career coach at DCI. She works with 13 apprentices to provide guidance in their professional and personal lives.
Career coaching - is it right for you as a young professional? Yes. Coaching brings clarity, focus and long-term perspective to an individual in any stage of their career.
As you start a new job, you have to acclimate quickly to the company, culture, and strategic direction. Typically you’re hired to do a certain job, but do you know how your job fits into where the company is going? How do you get to the bottom of it? By having a conversation with your boss and about your work and what it looks like in a week, a quarter and for the whole year. Many professionals don’t prioritize this conversation and instead immediately get to work. A coach will be there to ensure you have this important conversation with your manager.
Coaching isn’t a one-way street. It directly benefits you, your manager and the organization as a whole. Coaching gives all parties clarity regarding what you, as the employee, is doing and understand what expectations on your performance are in place.
Here’s six reasons a young professional might consider finding a career coach.
1) Gain long-term perspective
With a coach you’ll not only gain long-term perspective on your career but also with your role in the organization. When you’re new in your career, it can be hard to initiate conversations with other members of the team to gain perspective. With a coach you’ll be supported and encouraged to ask the question of “how can my work make an impact in one week, one-quarter and one year?” The more you know how your work can make an impact on the organization, you’ll be able to understand where to focus your time.
For example: an apprentice was tasked with generating online reviews. When he realized there wasn’t a system or process in place to request a review from customers, he created one for scalability. His new system saved him hours of time each week and was able to move onto other high-value tasks for the organization in generating leads to drive sales by a specific amount.
2) Achieve goals
Coaching lays a framework for becoming more aware of yourself and knowing your strengths - what motivates you and what you value and prefer. Once you unpack these layers, then you can start building goals. Begin with one-year goals and ask yourself what you aspire for in the next year both personally and professionally? Coaching will tangibly break down your larger goals into a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis so you’ll be present to achieving your goals.
For example: DCI coaching begins with setting 90-day goals and working toward a personal mission statement to bring focus to goals and speak to personal values.
“Coaching helps you figure out what your one big goal is and then help break them down into smaller goals, and so you achieve them little by little to get that big one.” - Carla Sinfon, apprentice
3) Enhance performance
When your work is aligned with the organization’s goals, and you have clear direction from your manager, you’ll be able to increase the value you add on a daily basis. With a coach by your side, they’ll facilitate regular progress check-in meetings to ensure you’re on the right track and course-correct before you get too far. Coaching also brings out the best in you where you’ll be motivated to reach new heights and set goals with your work.
4) Receive honest feedback
For many, it’s challenging to open themselves to feedback from a third party. A coach will do just that and help you to become more self-aware of your strengths and fears--we all have them, and focus on building a relationship of trust and respect with your coach, manager and peers. Coaching builds a foundation of listening and understanding by suspending judgment, and remaining objective. In doing so, coaches see your potential and will provide honest feedback to help accelerate your skills. It’s similar to planting a seed. Coaching encourages you to water that seed and be more aware of a growing skill and or value.
“I needed a mentor to course correct and focus on my priorities. My coach now provides different insights and is able to combine so many different nuances of your self to paint a picture.” - Joseph Hwang, apprentice
5) Increase confidence
Building confidence is powerful. A coach serves as an intermediary between you and your manager to facilitate conversations where you can speak up and voice your desires. If you don’t have the trust and confidence to talk to your boss about your work, values, and preferences, you might end up leaving for another job or staying on the job and being unhappy.
For example: an apprentice was hired to perform SEO for clients at an agency. Through coaching, we soon realized that although SEO is great for her career, it doesn’t align with her preference of doing web development work. We then set a time for a conversation where the apprentice asked her supervisor to identify stretch tasks that would touch web development work to build her skills in that area while still working on SEO projects. The caveat here is that this apprentice demonstrated value in her current work and sometimes the situation can be the adverse. In both cases, you develop what you are good at and what you value and build your confidence on those strengths in a future career.
Everybody has strengths, you just need to identify and call them out. A coach can do that for you. (Tweet this)
“Coaching has given me that confidence and push to speak to my supervisor and let them know what I truly value in my work and what I prefer working on.” - Sarah Davis, apprentice
6) Discover the root of problems
Individuals set goals but sometimes the goals aren’t hit and don’t understand why. A coach will help you dig deep and understand what is getting in the way and encourage you to prioritize differently. They notice when you aren’t tracking toward your goals and will guide you back to the path of success by discovering the root cause.
For example: an apprentice struggled to make time to study for a certification. We agreed that the apprentice would keep a daily log of their activities and what they accomplished each day. The apprentice discovered that they failed to manage their time effectively each day and identified what was wasting their time. By understanding what this apprentice did each day, the apprentice identified the root cause of what prevented them from making time to study toward the certification. The remedy was to course correct daily and review their calendar and change their behavior to increase effectiveness.
I’ve had a career coach before, and that guidance and clarity helped me thrive in my work and build up my skills to where I am now. Our apprentices at DCI have monthly individual and group coaching sessions along with quarterly meetings with their supervisors to keep them on track with their goals and guide them in pushing themselves to reach new heights. Learn more about DCI career coaching through apprenticeship today!