Over the years, career coaches have grown in popularity. Once seen as a luxury only top executives could afford, they are now thoroughly mainstream.
The shifting perception of career coaches may have something to do with the increasing complexity of the workplace. Professionals are switching jobs more frequently, and companies are searching for ways to empower and retain their top talent in this job-hopping-friendly climate. As a result, some organizations are hiring outside career coaches to help their employees reach their full potential without leaving the company.
If you’re new to the world of career coaching, you may wonder how — or when — to use a career coach’s services. Obviously, coaches can be of great help when embarking on a career transition or new job search, but they can also be beneficial to employees in stable work environments looking to advance within their current organizations.
Here are 10 ways a career coach can help you during each phase of your career:
1. Crafting a Job Search Strategy
Job searches are stressful enough. Career coaches can offer support and guidance on how best to navigate your search. Whether you need help with networking, writing a cover letter, or finding the right positions, a coach can probably assist you.
2. Refining Your Interview Skills
When it comes to interviewing, there’s always room for improvement. One of the most beneficial things you can do to prep for an interview is work with a career coach. They can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses and formulate talking points that help convey your value. A coach can also help you sharpen your answers to common interview questions to make them more powerful.
3. Debriefing After an Interview
Some job seekers experience heightened anxiety right after an interview. They second-guess their answers, the doubt eating away at their confidence and keeping them up at night. Having post-interview support from a career coach can give a job seeker a better understanding of what went right and what they can improve for the next time.
4. Salary Negotiations
Never approach salary negotiation haphazardly. A career coach can help you come up with a reasonable salary range for your negotiation and craft a negotiation strategy that works.
5. Asking for a Raise or Promotion
Ultimately, a career coach’s job is to help you get ahead, whether that means finding a new job or advancing through the ranks of your current employer. Preparation is key when asking for a raise or promotion, and a coach can help you make sure your request is based in fact and backed by the strength of your achievements.
6. Having Difficult Conversations
As you progress in your career, you’ll need to have difficult conversations with managers, clients, and coworkers. Your professional reputation hinges on how you approach these conversations. A coach can help you organize your thoughts and remain objective. They can even practice these conversations with you so that you can work out your strategy before the real deal.
7. Overcoming Obstacles
No career path is free of obstacles. Whether you’re dealing with a personality conflict or you’re not getting the projects you want to work on, a coach can offer support and help you find a way to surmount whatever challenges arise.
8. Clarifying Your Goals
One of a career coach’s main duties is helping people clearly define what it is they want to achieve professionally. If you are disengaged at work and wondering what would make you truly happy, a career coach may be a good idea.
9. Keeping Yourself on Track
The grass is always greener, and comparing new employment opportunities to your current job is no different. A career coach can help you stay on track by making sure your career decisions are based on your own wants and needs. With our friends, colleagues, and family members constantly chiming in, it is easy to make decisions based on other people’s expectations instead of our own. Stopping to evaluate your decisions with an impartial third party can help ensure you make career moves based on your own desires.
10. Deciding Whether It’s Time to Leave a Job
Leaving a job is not an easy decision to make, and people often make rash decisions in the heat of the moment that they later regret. Talking it through with a career coach first can help you determine whether leaving your job is indeed the right decision. If so, a career coach can also show you how to leave without burning bridges.
A job search may take time, and sticking it out in a job you’ve decided to leave until you find the right one is not easy. A career coach can offer a safe place to talk freely about any dissatisfaction you’re feeling, allowing you to maintain a dedicated face at work until you’ve committed to a new position.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Atrium Staffing blog.
Michele Mavi is Atrium Staffing‘s resident career expert.