Five things career coaches understand

Professional and career coaching became the buzz earlier this decade, immediately showcasing numerous benefits to positioning individuals for success.

Helping people become more emotionally competent and effective personally and professionally develops avenues for new opportunities. Career and professional coaches provide confidence, inspiration and insight. They also provide the right mindset for professional achievement.

Here are five things successful career coaches understand.

The coaching process

Coaching is a partnership between the coach and the client to provide structure, guidance and support. The coach:
  1. Takes a complete inventory of the clients current professional experience.
  2. Institutes self-awareness and identifies core strengths.
  3. Uses core strengths to create relevant and realistic goals.
  4. Establishes new behaviors and beliefs that frees individuals from old habits.
  5. Increases focus and provides a balanced perspective, confidence and effectiveness.

2. Blind spots

Insist that clients be clear and authentic about their goals. Responsibilities, set-backs and the demands of an adult life can overshadow reality and cloud vision. Human nature creates blind spots to options and solutions. Coaching can help gain insight and clarity.

3. Coaching tools

While there are many tools a coach can use, options include: 
  • 360-degree listening: Listen and watch the person and get a composite of information form verbal and nonverbal communication. Also, hear the message behind the words. 
  • Curiosity: Coaching is not judging. It is a process of discovery. 
  • Principles of emotional intelligence: Developing the four competencies of emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, relationship-management) is a great pathway for building insight, patience and resilience. 
  • Positive psychology: The strength-based approach uses core strengths to build resilience and stay connected to the joy of one’s work.
  • Appreciative inquiry: Assists in identifying what is working and why and clarifies paths to professional growth.

4. Coaching differs from training

While insight and personal growth are often coaching outcomes, learning is based in self-discovery, as opposed to information being imparted in a didactic manner.

5. When and why individuals seek coaching

The decision to seek a partnership with a coach is very personal. The choice should be proactive and viewed as an investment. Conventionally, most people seek coaching during times of transition, challenges with performance and when they stop experiencing professional happiness. 

A certified transformational coach, Phyllis Quinlan, RN-BC, is the internal coach at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, where she works with employees to identify and utilize character strengths to increase self-awareness, resilience and effectiveness. Dr. Quinlan has more than 40 years of nursing experience, working in a variety of clinical and educational roles. She has a bachelor’s degree from Molloy College, a master’s from The New School and a PhD from Warren National University.