top of page

Do you Need a Career Coach?

By: Ian Kirkby.

A really good question! The answer of course depends on what you want: if you have an ambitious streak and want to climb through the ranks, or if you want to excel by developing skills at your current level, then the answer is almost certainly 'yes!'

Having been involved in leadership, team and organisational development for many years, I have noticed some common problems that prevent people from fulfilling their potential for advancement:

- Poor resume and/or interview technique. It is not enough to simply list what you have done in the hope that the interviewer/selector will be captivated by your obvious brilliance and clamber to get you onboard quickly! It sounds obvious, but your resume and answers to interview questions should be tailored to the needs of the organisation to which you are applying. Further, and especially when applying for senior roles, you should factor in the likely future needs that may not have been asked for. If you can show that you are already thinking strategically and can offer additional skills and experiences, your chances of success will significantly increase. A good interview technique will help you get the key points across in a focused and engaging manner.

- Mismatch between personal desires and the job specification. Whilst almost all roles will have some elements that may not be appealing, it is difficult to be successful if applying for a role that is not aligned at all to your personal likes. It may of course be necessary to take a position for a limited time in order to be considered for other, more appealing roles, but you should not underestimate the strain of performing work that you do not enjoy at all: it can only be done for a limited time before problems arise (both for you and for the team/organisation in which you are working). However, being able to discuss your situation with an external party can alleviate some of the stress and help you maintain a positive perspective.

- Failure to develop new skills. There is a common temptation for leaders who are newly promoted or who are facing new, demanding situations, to fall back on what they were already doing, i.e., to just try to do more of the same. This can result in micro-management and an unbalanced focus on the business activity or department with which they are familiar. This rarely works and frequently alienates those who think they are subject to undue interference as well as those who feel neglected. Senior leadership requires additional skills such as more strategic thinking, enhanced time management, senior stakeholder engagement, etc.

- Uncertainty over desired direction. How many students leave school or university unsure of what they really want to do? Also, as we grow older, our goals and tastes can change. Understanding what we are motivated by and how we prefer to work can help identify a career path that will be more rewarding and enjoyable. Psychometrics such as SDI 2.0 and DiSC can be helpful here (I am a certified facilitator for both).

A career coach can help you navigate these and other issues. Here is an article by HBR which provides some guidance to help you consider whether or not you would benefit from a coach and, if so, what to look for in choosing one:

If you would like to explore this option further, please get in touch today and take the first step to unleashing YOUR potential!

Tel: +44(0)20 3904 7501

Aspire MCL: Developing Great Leaders - Building High-Performance Boards and Teams - Transforming Businesses


bottom of page