Your Inner Career Coach Is One Piece of SuccessI have been coaching college grads and executives around the country in my own practice for twelve years after thirty years in advertising management and retained executive search. During that time, I have noted the explosive growth of coaching across a range of subjects: health, career, relationships, social media, etc. This surge of demand for coaches is somewhat bewildering, and, I think, a bit over-used in many cases.

Finding Your Inner Career Coach

In general, most of us know what we ought to be doing for ourselves, our families, our jobs, and our careers. We just do not listen to our “inner coach.” Instead, we resort to outside help, believing that we really need another person to figure it all out.

As a coach, my practice is designed to help people do a better job of successfully pursuing their careers. But I sometimes get the feeling that they think I am going to do the heavy lifting for them. This is the same feeling I used to have as a retained search executive. Candidates would come to our office assuming we were there to find them a job. Not so. We were there to satisfy our clients’ needs for great executives.

The fact is that career coaches, recruiters, and other human resources professionals are there to guide people and to help them. But the individual has to do the hard self-assessment and the career planning and implementation work themselves. Anything less is sure to fail.

Self-understanding and reality testing is critical to being successful. And relying primarily on yourself is just as critical. Judiciously hiring a career coach can be a good idea, but it must be seen as augmenting your efforts, not replacing them.

So, rely on your “inner career coach.” Listen to that coach, spending quiet time taking notes and understanding what works for you and what does not. Where do you deserve to work, not want to work? What types of people and working environments are best for you and which ones should you avoid? What types of companies and executives within those companies need you? What is the most effective way to approach them and attract their attention? Your inner career coach will provide a great many of those answers.

When to Engage a Professional Career Coach

Once you have done the hard thinking, it may be time to engage a professional coach to help you clarify, refine, and express your candidacy in an excellent resume and bio. The career coach’s job should be to encourage, guide, and refine your thinking rather than do it all for you. Hopefully, the result will be a faster, more successful career search process at a greatly reduced cost to you in time and money.