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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

3 Reasons You Really Do Need a Career Coach

I understand the aversion many people have to using a career coach. I’ve always been a do-it-myself kind of gal, so the same feelings run through my head whenever someone suggests I try talking to a coach when facing a career challenge: I should be able to do this on my own! The struggle is part of the learning process! Plus, who wants to actually admit they need help?

So when my boss asked me to try out a online coaching class with Fundamentum, I was skeptical. But, admittedly, I had been struggling to hone in and describe my personal brand, so I figured I’d give the “Introduce Yourself” class a shot.

Well, let me tell you: I am a coaching convert. I was shocked how the two hours I spent with a Fundamentum coach helped me solidify my brand and elevator pitch—and I spend every day reading and writing career advice!

What exactly made it so valuable? Read on to learn a few of the things that anybody can gain from spending some time working with a coach.

1. You Get Personalized Advice

Sure, there’s plenty of career advice out there on the web. But while there’s a myriad of general advice on how to hone in on your brand, how to come up with a pitch, and the like, you’d be hard-pressed to find an article on “How to Succinctly Explain Your Diverse Writing and Design Skills While Also Sharing Your Leadership Abilities and Mentioning Your Love of Food” (or whatever your situation might be).

As much as I hate to admit it, general career advice can only get you so far. Almost everyone will, at some point, have some technicality or specific about their situations that they’re not sure how to handle. And that’s where a career coach can really come in handy. After all, this is someone you’re paying, not just to spout off any career advice, but to listen to your situation and give you an expert opinion on how to handle it.

For example, I have never worked in food but think that it’s an industry that I’d like to transition into with my next move—something I always felt was awkward to explain when telling someone about what I do. My coach was able to wordsmith with me to find a way to tie my love for writing with a desire to engage with different topics, with an interest in food being one of those topics. I doubt I would have ever come to this solution on my own—and I certainly would have never found it with a simple Google search.

2. You Get Dedicated Time to Make Progress

So, let’s pretend for a second you already have all the advice you need and know exactly what you need to do to solve your career questions. How likely are you to actually carve out the time—among all of your other priorities—to get it done?

One of my favorite parts about doing the coaching session was that it forced me to—for an hour and a half—put everything else aside and actually spend time defining and vocalizing my personal brand. Many of the steps we walked through I technically could have done on my own, but having a scheduled coaching session gave me the accountability I needed to actually sit down and do it.

Whatever career-related task you’ve been procrastinating on again and again, think about a coach as a good motivator to finally spend a good chunk of time on it.

3. You Get to Experiment, Iterate, and Improve

Working with a coach is also a good, low-stakes way to experiment with different ideas for your career.

You wouldn’t necessarily want to try out a new elevator pitch at a formal networking event or when an interviewer asks “so, tell me about yourself?”—because if you say something wrong or mess up, it could actually affect your career! But during time spent with a career coach, you can still get an outside perspective on new ideas, without there being any actual repercussions.

That means you have much more space to experiment, and then get real-time feedback and strategies from your coach to incorporate and try again. During our session, I was able to work through some ideas about how to describe my personal brand that I never would have felt comfortable trying out in a real-life career setting. For example, by the end of the session, we had decided to remove the word “editor” from my pitch entirely, realizing that there were too many assumptions with the role that didn’t totally describe what I spent most of my time doing.

It was great to get a sense of how different wordings were actually received by outside ears and work on tweaking them until it represented me just right.

I know, I know—this is all well and good, but who can afford a career coach? The best thing about Fundamentum’s WebClasses is that they only cost $99 for a 90-minute group coaching session, plus a short follow-up individual session. And, if you sign up for the “Introduce Yourself” class, you can use the code MUSE20 for an additional 20% off.

However you go about doing it, consider at least giving a career coach a try. I have a hunch you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Photo of coaching diagram courtesy of Shutterstock.