At the network meeting that I sometimes frequent there is an accountability session where they ask a number of questions (how many interviews did you have last week, how many network contacts, etc.) One of the questions is “do you have a coach?”
They make it clear that your coach cannot be your spouse. It has to be someone that “holds your feet to the fire” and “tells you how it is.” If you don’t have a coach it’s almost as if you aren’t quite serious about your job search.
Well, I finally got a coach. We’ve had two sessions and tomorrow we’ll have our third. I’m really quite amazed how these sessions have gone, and what happens between sessions. I’m drawing some parallels between business coaching (which is what I have) and job search or career or executive coaching.
As I’ve pondered the “it cannot be your spouse” idea I came up with three things that make a coach. I’d love to know from coaches what I’m missing, but for my simple brain this makes sense. I’ll elaborate on this more later… for now, a coach:
- Teaches/instructs/leads by principles. Coaches are not necessarily teachers (although they do teach), but the key here is that they understand and subscribe to principles. In my job search I was working off of my bad theories – if I had a coach he/she would have set me straight and not let me waste two solid months, 60 hours a week, spinning my wheels in ineffective areas.
- Provides accountability. I’m a big boy. I am very disciplined. And I don’t need a babysitter. I certainly didn’t want a coach watching over my shoulder (Did I mention that I’m a rather private guy? It may not seem like it but it’s true.) But in my job search I had 10 hours a day that I could do whatever I wanted… and no one would really ask specifically what I did because they didn’t want to insult me (I was already insulted enough when I was laid off). It’s almost like coming home to a messy house and asking your wife “what did you do all day?” Not a good thing! It is hard to describe the accountability I get from my coach but I’ll tell you, it is critical. I am held accountable weekly for “homework” from the week before, but during the entire week it’s on my mind!
- Has the right tools. In my job search I want a coach who says “You need JibberJobber because…” I believe it’s the best tool out there for maintaining relationships, for working towards that next promotion, for tracking elevator pitches, etc. The coach should recommend the best tools available for me. They should have some kind of system they use to keep track of our sessions, my assignments, etc. A professional coach needs to be empowered with software, training, certifications, etc.
Not only do I have my own coach but I have partnered with some coaches… some of which are job search coaches, others are career coaches, others are executive coaches. If you are curious about how a coach can help you, right now, check out my partners page to see the coaches (and resume writers) that I’ve partnered with.
I thought that coaching was for the rich and famous. Then, last week I went to lunch with a good friend of mine and we were talking about it… he said that he had a coach for a year and it was one of the best investments he ever made. I really respect this guy so I saw that there was a lot more to this coaching stuff than just elitist services (which is what I thought it was).
I’ll have more posts to share what I’m learning from my coaching sessions… but I’ll tell you, having a real, dedicated coach is really an amazing thing. And I’ve only had one for two weeks!
Do you have coach? Have you ever had a coach? If you are a coach, am I off-base?