By Linda Van Valkenburgh

Lately, I have had executives ask me why they should use a career coach.  The best explanation that I can offer is to give a comparison to something that many people can identify with as they go through their day; using a trainer at the gym.  If this is the first time that you sign up at a gym, they will suggest several sessions with a personal trainer.  These sessions are geared to targeting the specific areas that the client is seeking to improve or maintain.  Through this specific concentration of exercises, one is able to achieve in a shorter period of time the desired goal than if left on their own to figure out what the best exercises are for the targeted area, how the machines work and what the specific number of repetitions should be. With a coach, there is someone watching to make sure that your positions are correct and that you will not end up suffering an injury as you start on the road to exercising.

The same rationale applies to using a career coach for your career campaign.  Your career coach zeroes in on the desired goals and helps to develop a plan for implementation and achievement.  The coach is there to help you elicit the skills and strengths that you may not even know that you have or that are important to communicate to the hiring decision maker.  The best way to convey your message and brand yourself is part of a successful career campaign.  The varying ways to personalize your brand are another component the coach works on to insure that the message is clear, concise and forceful so that it helps the client stand out from the crowd.  In addition, helping you make  sure that your communications are consistent in message about the quality of your brand is your coach, your partner in career success.  Also, it is your career coach who has the many varied techniques to use to get past the computer filters that are so commonly used in hiring today. Want your resume to stay out of the “Black Hole”? This laser targeting cuts out numerous hours and days of aimless wandering in your researching, thinking, writing, networking.

Another very important consideration is that the coach can help you deal with your emotions during this journey.  As I have mentioned in previous postings, your confidence level is extremely important in an effective career campaign.  Your coach has his or her finger on the pulse of the employment market.  They are consistently looking to use their most effective tools and techniques to help their clients transition as quickly as possible to the position that is right for them under the circumstances as well as providing their counsel to boost confidence so that it can be naturally conveyed in the job interview.  When you go in confident with the right stuff, the employer will be more attracted to you than the candidate that is stressed and hoping that they get the position; that their prep was “good enough.” You will know that your prep was correct and that will not weigh on your mind.

So next time you wonder if the investment in time and money is worthwhile to work with a career coach, think of being able to target, with precision and effectiveness, the best methodology and techniques to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Reflect on having someone there to guide you through the trials and tribulations of a career campaign in one of the most challenging economic times in recent history and what that will do to help your psyche so that you can present yourself in the best light possible.