I love that this newly-minted day of appreciation for my profession comes in the first days of the new year—it resonates with the “reset” energy people feel as the holiday season winds down and our thoughts turn to the future—and for those of us not in our ideal work scenario, it’s a time when career-related resolutions often surface. This year I will get out from under this toxic manager. This year, I will finally do what I care about and make a living at it. This year, I will get that promotion. Whatever your personal career dreams are, you’re probably feeling prompted to think about them right now.
Coaching is incredibly rewarding, and also quite energy-intensive. We give a lot of ourselves to our clients, so it’s important for people like us to have networks of fellow coaches to decompress with, share tips and practices, and seek advice from.
On our first call of the year, our Path cohort did what we call the I SEE YOU exercise. As always, I was thrilled at the range of distinct skills and traits we bring to this work. Good career coaches tend to have certain things in common, but the diversity of viewpoints and personalities that can make you a good one is vast and fascinating.
We celebrated my colleague Lisa for her big-picture vision and generosity, while my colleague Annette got props for her creativity and awesome sense of humor. Gayle took a bow for warmth and strength; Ruth was honored for her deep thinking and inner fire. (Me? I took the trophy for straight-up risk-taking and envelope-pushing, and I’m happy to put that on the shelf!)
My twin takeaways? One: I love my cohort! These people are so validating and lively and hardworking, and the best anti-burnout prescription I could ask for. Two: we’ve all come to our shared mission by different routes, for different reasons, and with different strengths. That’s ideal since it means we each have things to teach each other and things to learn from each other. None of us would be the perfect coach for every client—we’re all competent and capable and engaged, but style fit matters in a one-to-one relationship, and while one job seeker might benefit from Lisa’s calm, kind, receptive personality style, another might need my style of feisty reality-checking and “jump and the net will appear” attitude.
There’s no single right reason to become a career coach, and no single way to be a good one—but if it’s the kind of work you’re good at, it can be thrilling. We get front-row seats (and sometimes an assistant director credit) to people conquering fears, blockages, frustrations and reputation injuries. We help to guide them into work they find meaningful, work that helps them put their kids through college, and work that makes them feel valued and valuable.
If you’ve benefited from the work of a great career coach, January 8 is a great day to reach out and tell that person “I see you.” If you’re considering changing your work life in the coming year, now is a good time to consider finding a coach who resonates with you.