Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What is the Process?

When potential clients call, they always want to know what the process of career coaching is. Embedded in their query are three specific questions: “What will we work on?” “How long will it take?” and, “What results can I expect?” These are critical questions to ask before embarking on a career coaching process, not to only to understand what you are in for, but also to know whether the process will be worth your time, effort, and money.

The first question, what will we work on, is person-specific. What this means is that the work is adapted to your needs, your style, and your readiness. So, when you first contact me, I will ask to know about your most urgent or pressing questions and issues. For example, are you early in a job search and needing to learn techniques or are you further along and stymied by specific parts of the process? Are you wanting to make a career change, and if so, are you clear about your new direction or do you need helping in deciding among competing possibilities? I will also want to understand your style and temperament. Are you an extravert or an introvert? Are you aggressive, assertive, passive, or shy? Are you a linear and concrete thinker or are you more organic and intuitive? And, I will also build your readiness into the equation, so I will be exploring your motivation, your sense of urgency, and adding my assessment of how disciplined you are likely be in the process. All of these factor into what we will work on, how we do the work together, and of course, is subject to adjustment throughout the coaching process.

The second question, how long it will take, which I addressed in a previous blog entry, is indeterminate because much of the process is beyond your control and mine. In general, however, I work with clients for 3-5 sessions before they have enough clarity and structure to move the process forward on their own. Sometimes, one session is enough, and other times, many sessions won’t do the trick. Once I sense that your momentum is self-sustaining, we will be done with our work. I do, however, often continue to meet with clients on an as needed basis to help get through stuck places, waning motivation, or to deal with specific issues, like negotiating a job offer or dealing with a problematic work situation.

Finally, you can expect to achieve close to a 100% success rate, meaning that you will get your issues and questions resolved. There is a large caveat, however, and this has to do with your willingness to stay with the process long enough to achieve those results. This implies that you are both the owner and driver of your career development (I’m your guide and facilitator) and that you develop the patience and persistence to see it through to the finish. When I’m asked about my success rate, I answer that the process works for everyone who is willing to give the necessary effort.

Let me know if you have additional questions about career coaching. Best wishes.

Mark Guterman