Ask professional athletes how they got to where they are, and you will inevitably hear about a coach somewhere along the line who made a huge difference in their lives. Similarly, a good coach can also make a profound difference in our work lives – regardless of our profession.
Coaches can help in different ways, depending on what your motivations and aspirations are for your career. If you are content with the work you are doing and have no interest in greater responsibility or authority, a coach can help you more effectively manage your workload, the people around you, and any changes that take place in your environment. If you are keen to move up the ladder to more senior positions and higher pay grades, a coach can give you an objective perspective on your career and opportunities. From that, he (she) can help you create a plan with achievable milestones; and strategies and skills for making it all happen.
So how does one get a coach? The most straight-forward approach is to find a professional. There are many trained people who specialize in business coaching that you can speak with. Make sure that the individual is qualified, experienced , and that you like him. Do your homework, however – not all professional coaches are equal. Get lots of references.
The other option is to find someone who you know, like and respect; and who has achieved the kinds of successes you are looking for. Tell him that you are looking for some guidance, and ask if he might be willing to help. You may be surprised at how many people are willing to give freely to help you on your journey. You won’t get the depth or skill that you will receive from a professional, but you will at least have a mentor to be an objective sounding board.
Whichever route you choose, you’ll find that having that objective second voice can be a great boost to your confidence and your career.