6 underrated benefits of having a career coach

You’ve likely heard about career coaches. Perhaps stumbled across their advice on blogs. Maybe you’ve even gone as far as to consider hiring one, only to stop short when it’s time to fork over the fee. This is the case for many professionals, who don’t quite realize the value add a trusted advisor can have on their upward mobility, development, and tenure. In fact, most of the time, career coaches are misunderstood as an unnecessary expense, when in reality, the most successful of entrepreneurs and executives swear by their services. Here, some underrated benefits that may convince you to — finally — give a career coach a chance:

They can help you gain clarity in passion and productivity in business and personal lives.

If you’re already an executive in a c-level suite, you’ve probably been around the block for at least a decade, if not many. And though you may still feel interested in what you do day-in and day-out, you also may feel stuck or lost. That’s where a career coach can come in and shift your perspective and energy. As career expert Wendi Weiner explains, whether it’s feeling like you no longer have a passion, or you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling about work, hiring an executive coach can make a difference. “It can provide ultimate clarity on how to sync passion with productivity and reduce detachment from work, increase work-life balance, and ultimately understand who they are and what their struggles are,” Weiner explains.

They will hold you accountable. 

When you are determined to lose weight, improve your overall health or perhaps, earn a degree, what do you do? Hire a professional, right? So why not seek the same expertise when you need to be accountable for your career goals? While friends, partners, and mentors can be effective cheerleaders, they are likely to cut you slack when a career coach isn’t as forgiving. “If you’re serious about finding a new job, landing that promotion, or advancing your career, you’ll need to apply time and effort,” reminds career experts for TopInterview, Amanda Augustine. That being said, it can be difficult to prioritize it when you also have a full-time gig, a family and other responsibilities. “Having regular check-ins with a career coach may be the push you need to tackle these items and realize your goals faster,” she adds.

They can make you a superstar in an interview.

The higher you rise in your field, the harder the competition becomes. And that really impressive, amazing resume with stellar recommendations only goes so far, considering everyone else is your match. What can make or break a job offer though, is an interview that really impresses the hiring team. In fact, industrial-organizational psychology practitioner and workplace expert Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D. defines a career coach as a secret weapon in this area of job searching. In addition to having a thorough understanding of your industry and the leaders within, Hakim says he or she can also give you specific guidance on how to respond to certain interview questions and how to frame your experiences in the most effective way. Why does matter? When you know what to wear, what to say, and how to say it so that you are more likely to get the job.

They help you process complex problems

Perhaps you don’t want to switch to a new gig, or you aren’t interested in changing your position right now. More so, you are currently facing a difficult task that’s out of your immediate wheelhouse and you need assistance on how to approach the project. A career coach can be beneficial to any executive that is charged with managing the senior team’s work that has a big impact on the company as a whole. “Career coaches can provide an unbiased sounding board to help clients process the complex problems that accompany complex projects and teams,” explains leadership development and career expert, Elizabeth Whittaker-Walker. “Coaching sessions give executives private spaces to explore root causes, assess potential outcomes, and examine personal triggers outside of the public eye.”

They challenge you to stop coasting — and begin thriving. 

In the definition of ‘making it’, executives have pretty much checked that box off. After all, to lead a team — or multiple teams — takes years of experience, effort and challenges. That being said, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we know everything about everything, and thus, don’t need to invest in our professional future. As career expert Michael Dermer explains, executives are sometimes comfortable with the status quo and don’t push themselves to greater heights. Nor, do people who work for them. “How many times would a subordinate say to an executive, ‘think outside the box.’ Well career coaches can play this role,” he continues. “They can come in from the outside and challenge executives to explore new learnings, honor new perspectives and further develop their capabilities.” 

They will provide the feedback you need to hear. 

And the emphasis here is on need, not necessarily want. Top executives are used to being praised for their performance, but aren’t always given candid, helpful criticism that would make them that much better. A career coach is hired to do just that, Augustine explains, by being truthful and unbiased with feedback. “A coach can help you understand the mistakes you’re making during the interview process that are possibly sabotaging your candidacy. On other occasions, a career coach may be hired by an employer when a high-potential employee is struggling with a soft skill that is prohibitive for a promotion,” she continues. “The feedback can be hard to swallow, but it’s better to work with your coach now in order to rectify the situation, rather than letting it undermine your job search or your career advancement.”