Career coaching: Part I - how to manage your career better, be paid more and get more job satisfaction
If, like me, you take the dog for a walk in the park in the early hours, you often see small groups of lycra-clad individuals, panting for breath, perspiring gently (or worse) and looking intently at a lithe, usually tanned, and clearly very fit person who is telling them what to do next. And with the summer (supposedly) now upon us, you can bet you’ll see even more of these personal coaches barking instructions and telling their clients/poor wretches to hold their tummies in and breathe through their solar-plexus (or whatever it is that they do – I rely on the dog for exercise).
Anyway, the point is that personal trainers are popular and there is no doubt, despite the above cynicism, that they can help you get much fitter/trimmer/lighter. The contrast between their work and the self-imposed austerity/fitness regimes that we try to impose upon ourselves after the excesses of Christmas and New Year is marked. If you employ a personal trainer you are very conscious of having made a financial commitment which another human being is also involved with and hence you are more likely to see the course through – and, more importantly, to benefit from it. On the other hand, if you sign up to gym membership in January, all those good New Year’s resolutions have usually gone within two weeks, the moment one of your colleagues says, “glass of wine?”, as you are pondering whether to go to the gym or the pub. You pays your money and you takes your choice, but the fact that you usually pay more for the personal trainer concentrates the mind somewhat and makes it less likely that you’ll succumb to the siren lure of the Sauvignon.
It’s a bit like this with career coaching. Yes, let’s get the difficult bit over at the outset; it costs more than the (free) in-house training that your company, if you are lucky, provides to those who it deems worthy of promotion. And if you are not one of the chosen few destined for (possible) stardom then you are doubly disadvantaged.
The in-house training is ‘free’ in that it doesn’t cost you anything - although your employer is probably paying a hefty sum for it so you should try and look grateful if you are in a fast-track stream. However, for you it’s free, and as we all know, things that are free have little or no value. Whereas, if the fee is coming out of your bank account, then, like our sweaty friends in the park, you’ll see it through.
But what exactly are you going to ‘see through’? Well, that depends on what you want from it, where you are in your career path, what your industry/sector is, how much you want to earn – in short, everyone is individual, everyone is different, some are seeking promotion, some more pay, some looking to get back on track after redundancy and others simply want to improve professionally and personally. It will be hard work, but like using a good personal trainer, you will soon see the results, and without any need for lycra!
Rob Moore, MD, The Career Management Organisation