Do you want to be a professional career coach and want to push yourself to success? Follow these tips to do so .
Tip 1: Develop Your Personal Vision
Consider mid-range and long-term what you want your professional coaching practice to look like. When I initially started CCS, I had a really clear vision of what gaps in the market needed to be filled, the things I wanted to do, and the values supporting what I wanted to accomplish.
Try out the following exercise that we employ with our clients: take out a sheet of paper (preferably A1) and some marker pens or felt tip pens. Draw pictures or images of the things you will be doing ideally in your future practice. At this point, don’t worry about the practicalities.
Cover the type of clients (eg corporate or individuals), the client or business needs that you will meet, where you will work, what the positive outcomes will be, and the nature of the services you will offer. If you hate to draw, just draw anyway, and do it fast. Or you can cut photos out and create a collage. Or look over and update your CV. You should consider using a professional CV editor for this with a critical and unbiased eye. Next, sit down and discuss your vision with a trusted colleague or friend. Or your career coach, if you have one. It is key to talk it through, as it will make some of your seemingly far fetched ideas seem more achievable and allow you to become more clear about your ideas and vision.
‘Scaling’ is the next step. What we mean by ‘scaling’ is give your ideal future vision a score on a scale of 1 to 10. Ask yourself where you are on the scale right now. A score of 3 means that you are 30% there.
No matter what score you give to yourself, ask this: ‘what is happening already that indicates that I am at this point on the scale?’ For instance, you might be doing some career coaching already.
Here is the next question: “what must I do next to move 1 point up on the scale?” Provide yourself with a timeline, and then make sure to discuss your plans and figure out what you plan to do so that they succeed.
Tip 2: Find the parts of career coaching that you enjoy the most
You want to love what you do if you are going to work for yourself. Keep this saying in mind: if you discover a job that you then, then you won’t ever have work another day in your life.’ The part that I really love is the insight my clients receive through using my career coaching skills, along with the collaborative effort of moving forward in a positive way. So what would you love the most about having your very own career coaching practice?
It is definitely worth the time to identify what you really love to do. Make a list of the times over the past five years when you truly enjoyed yourself. Divide a piece of paper into two columns. Write down as many as six ‘enjoyment moments’ either in or outside of work in the left column. Then in the right column, write a short description of what you enjoyed about each of the moments, and what you learned or gained from the experience. Or you can make a list of all of the things that you have enjoyed. Do it quickly, in around ten minutes.
Now, with both or either of these exercises use a highlighter pen to pick out any themes that you see. Or even better, have someone else review them with you.
Next, ask yourself the following questions:
Which aspects of career coaching do I love the most?
Are my enjoyment needs met by my current work life?
If not, what can I do to fill in the missing gaps?
Would the missing enjoyment be provided by working as a self-employed career coach/coach?
Tip 3: Determine what your value proposition is
What is your USP – unique selling proposition? Trust is critical when you are working as a self-employed career coach. Most of your work will be obtained through your contact, so you need to ensure that you satisfy your clients to expand your contacts, along with letting others know about your value propositions. So how can you provide your clients with valuable services?
It begins with identifying your values and beliefs that can serve as the foundation for your career coaching. For example, I believe that our role at CSS is to empower organizations, trainees, and clients to become more self-managing within their working lives. Also, I believe it is very important to establish long term mutually trusting and beneficial relationships with our clients. One way we do this is by providing trainees with CSS materials. I am concerned with CCS training using the materials to help their coaching, instead of the other way around. In addition, I conduct an Alumni group for our training course graduates, which is a forum where shared learning can take place.
What core beliefs do you have for informing your value proposition? Keep in mind there will be many times when you will need to communicate it clearly, such as in networking situations so it is definitely worth the time to get this right.
Tip 4: Take your time when it comes to making the transition
Make sure you are clear on what the difference is between ‘transition’ and ‘change. Change refers to the event. For instance, one day you are an employee and then the next day you are self-employed. Transition refers to the emotional process that you experience as you are adjusting to this change.
Adjusting to change takes time. So allow yourself the time you need. One way of doing this is to let your ideas evolve through obtaining additional experience within the field. That can help to build up your confidence. Maybe you can reduce your work hours to give yourself time to gain experience and develop your business ideas. That reduces the risk and lets you go through a gradual separation process.
There are a number of different things you can do with this time: be sure to get the right career coach training and plug any gaps in knowledge or skills that you have identified. You can write your business plan draft, and get important feedback (not only from family and friends). If you feel that you ready, you can start seeing some clients and offering your services on a pro bono basis.
Tip 5: Find role models
Find people who can be good role models for you and spend time with them. Learn from other people who have made the transition. When I initially started CCS, I made the effort to get to know all of the key individuals within the field. I became a member of our professional association. I started to see from the inside what was occurring within the marketplace. It was the only way I could have successfully made my move. The example of various people was very encouraging. I learn a lot from them and used what I learned and adapted it to my own preferences, vision, and style. That can help prevent you from feeling isolated at the beginning of your new career path.