Big career dreams? Kick-butt with a coach

Despite working in his father’s noodle restaurant, Po (Kung Fu Panda) dreams of becoming a kung fu master – and is a great inspiration to many of you big dreamers out there! Wherever you are in your career, a coach can provide you with wisdom and support – to get to the next level.

In a follow up to my earlier blog, Six benefits of executive coaching, here’s a more in-depth look at how having a coach can help you at every stage of your career:

Entry level

Coaching (or mentorship) at this level can help you:

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses

There’s nothing like a second opinion, backed by working experience, to help you through this process. You may find that your strength is not really in one area, but another. If you are good at one aspect of your job or industry, there’s still room for improvement. This is where having someone who is more experienced than yourself guiding you, makes all the difference.

  • Stay focused

Entering the workforce presents several opportunities, and everything seems exciting and new; you may be tempted to try your hand at everything at least once. Having someone to help you stay focused on achieving your goals, not just new skills, will benefit you in the long run. It is a useful way to avoid becoming a jack-of-all-trades, master of none.

Mid-level (3-to-5 years’ experience)

Hiring an executive coach can help you climb the career ladder, in the following ways:

  • Land that promotion

A coach can provide practical support, such as strategising and pitching for that promotion. In my experience, many clients find job interviews daunting. With a coach in your corner, the process can be far less intimidating because you’ll feel prepared.

  • Manage your team

Being in charge of multiple personalities and work styles of team members is no small feat. Having an executive coach by your side can help you manage everyday situations in a positive manner, such as communication, having difficult conversations or internal disruptions.

Re-entry into the workplace

Re-entering the workforce can be challenging. The only thing constant is change. In this situation, coaching can help you:

  • Assess and analyse your decision

You may have been a management star before you left, but if you’ve been away from the playing field for too long, you might find yourself starting from the bottom again. Alternatively, if you have to start over, many find it the perfect opportunity to do a career switch or pick up a new skill. Either way, having a coach to go through your plans and options is beneficial.

  • Manage expectations

As with any form of change, it takes time to adapt and it might hit some individuals harder than others. An executive (or life) coach can help you set your expectations at a realistic level and deal with changes accordingly, making things more manageable for you.

Senior management level, and above

The higher you climb the corporate ladder, the higher the pressure, as KPIs and responsibilities increase. Personally, I believe that when you have reached this level in your career, executive coaching is not just a tool, but a necessity. In fact, many MNCs and Fortune 500 Companies, like Zappos, have in-house coaches and benefit from it. Some of these benefits are:

  • It helps you stay in the high-performance zone

With high levels of stress and pressure that come with the job, an executive coach can help you take stock of things and work with you to prevent burnout, keeping you at your peak performance. Your coach can assist in coming up with measures on how to handle or deal with the pressure more effectively.

  • It helps you manage difficult conversations

From company restructuring, to renegotiations with VIP clients or investors, message delivery is key. An executive coach can prove invaluable as a sounding board before these conversations have to take place, to ensure effective communication.

Having a big dream means different things to different people (and pandas!). Whatever level are you at in your career, a coach can provide the bridge between where you are and where you want to go. What do you think?

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