08 Jun Back to the Future: Change Your Destiny With Career Coaching
Stuck in a rut at your current desk job? Wonder if it’s too late to change course in your career? Looking for the right resources to help you become more employable? Unsure about your long-term career plans?
When Marty was transported to the past, he had to make sure his parents of the past fell in love. This affected whether he existed in the future.
Likewise, when you analyse your past, you have to make sure they add value to your current choices. This affects whether you get the career you want in the future.
Remember how Doc inspired Marty to change course for the better? In the same vein, a career coach can help you streamline your job prospects. Where do you start?
Begin With The End In Mind
Marty’s dad, George, was originally afraid to make bold moves and didn’t have much of a career. So, during Marty’s return to the past, Marty encouraged his timid father to pursue his ambitions.
As a result, Marty’s father went on to become a successful novelist when Marty returned to present times. What about you?
Similarly, your coach will first ask what your career objectives are before proceeding. It helps for both of you to start work on the same page.
For example, you might have always wanted to run your own business but your meekness deterred you. You wonder if it’s too late to try now (it isn’t, with a bit of work).
Some coachees tend to have broad-based aspirations which resemble several hot-air balloons drifting aimlessly up in the sky. My role, to put it figuratively, is to guide those balloons safely down to ground zero before they wander off into the horizon.
–Career Coach Naidu Gautama
Time-Travelling To The Past (Sort Of)
Let’s steer your car into your career past: positions you held, decisions you made, how you felt about making them.
You’ve undoubtedly gone through both achievements and setbacks. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. With that in mind, would you have changed anything, knowing what you know now?
To get a clearer picture of which direction you were headed in. . .and where you want to go next, your coach works out your VIPS (Values, Interest, Personality, Skills) with you.
How does your VIPS help you? It:
- Puts your past (jobs you took up), present (current vocation) and future (career objectives) into perspective
- Gives you a better idea of your talent (strengths, skills, principles) and how to use them to your advantage
- Alerts you to areas of your life you previously might not have noticed
- Reveals what motivates (interests) and buoys your spirit while reaching for objectives
- Provides a better sense of self-fulfillment when your objectives are achieved
Oftentimes, coachees aren’t clear about what their career objectives are, or the motivating factor behind them. Identifying this factor is what fuels coachees to achieve their objectives.
-CCE CEO & Founder Adrian Ang
Returning To The Present Moment
So what can you change now?
Imagine you and your coach shuttling your time-travelling car around your current industry. Keep an eye out for these telltale signs in the passenger window:
- Feasibility of Job Function/ Industry
Does your job description or industry have room for growth and expansion of jobs? Or is it part of a dying trade with shrinking job prospects?
Example: Your job as a linear film editor has shrinking job prospects. The days of physically splicing film negatives, then getting them digitally transcribed, are rare. Nowadays, video is more common, and so is editing with online software. The film industry in Singapore itself is a small community.
Your coach suggests the following: look into newer ways of editing film, shift to a different job within film, or enter a new industry. You might even come across a better solution as you discuss.
- Potential Companies
What are the industry benchmarks and do you match up to them? Who are the potential companies that interest you in joining and why? Are they in line with your career objectives and personality? If not, do you still want to work for those companies? How do you go about doing so?
Example: For some time, you’ve worked at an overseas-based job that involves a lot of travelling. You’re hoping if you set up enough successful outposts, you can apply for a home-based transfer.
Is your goal realistic? Does the company know of your intentions? If not, have you looked at Singapore-based jobs that need your expertise? Your coach helps you narrow down those options.
I am compassionate about coaching and do understand what my coachees face, though each one of them comes from a different background with a specific set of problems, be it a mid-career switch or a mid-life crisis situation.
–Career Coach Irene Lee
- Gaps in Mindset
What barriers prevent you from reaching your career objectives? Some are barriers in your beliefs.
Example: Suppose your objective is to find a job that better fits your family life. There are jobs with more regular hours, but they offer less compensation. Expecting the same pay for less hours is a mindset barrier.
Your coach works with you on that by getting you to check if lower salary is an industry norm. If it is, your coach might assign you to look for jobs that meet you in the middle, i.e. higher pay but minimal overtime.
- Gaps in Skill Set
Barriers in skills can be both technical and communicable.
Example: Suppose your objective is to move from the finance side of your business to creative. The open positions your company has don’t suit your qualifications. At the same time, your insider knowledge is relevant when conceiving new products.
Your coach helps you pinpoint not just training skills to go for, but also negotiation skills. The latter involves convincing your company to create a role for you that doesn’t yet exist. This will save you time in catching up on technical aspects, yet add value to your worth in the company.
I would study my client’s resume, analyse each word, line by line, and then give my critique at the next meeting. I would delve into the nitty-gritty details of its contents with my client, suggest a better way of writing the lines, and offer the rationale for it.
-Career Coach Ng Aik Saw
Setting Your Future Timezone
It’s time to set the clock in your car to a specific date and location to the future you want to live in. Remember to adjust these settings on your time-travelling dial:
- SMART Milestones
These refer to milestones that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Example: If your objective is to be your own boss, such milestones could include
-completing management courses,
-learning from mentors of successful startups,
-networking with investors/fundraisers, and so on.
Add deadlines to achieve these milestones and your coach will keep you accountable.
- Room For Adjustment
The milestones you set are not hard and fast rules. That’s what your coach is for, apart from providing greater motivation for achievement.
Example: In your quest to be your own boss, you’ve attended the networking meetings you and coach agreed on. But what you gained at these meetings was only more contacts, not more technical know-how.
Clue your coach in on this. Your coach will suggest ways to fine-tune these meetings, such as
-posing more strategic questions,
-asking for follow-up discussions with some members,
-attending meetings from other organisations instead, and so on.
What’s more, you can apply the principles you receive to your personal life as well, as a side benefit.
- Progress trackers
This is the biggest advantage your career coach gives you. Your coach keeps track of your milestones’ progress and provides ongoing, unbiased feedback.
Example: You’ve got the funding and prototypes needed to launch your own business. You’ve even got the license.
But for some reason, you overlooked the fine print in legal documents – your coach points out what you lack. There are emerging, similar products in the market. In your rush, you patented your product itself, but left out the copyright on the rivets you used.
Your coach refers you to regulatory IP offices and legal help on the matter. This protects your product from competitive copycats and saves you from potential losses.
However experienced a coach may be, he or she should not impose on the coachees. Allow them to view and be accountable from their own perspective.
-Career Coach Dayal Krishnan
With careful, deliberate planning and execution, you can achieve your career objectives. Coaches keep your career development in check as you strive to reach your objectives. They not only advise, but also recommend and appraise, every step of the way.
You might be at the wheel, but your coach is the best person to take up your passenger seat. Now that you’re all set, start driving your car into the career destiny you want!