Sometimes career coaching doesn’t work due to unrealistic expectations…
Often people hire a career coach to help them find that perfect job. The story goes something like this:
I don’t like what I do today. I want to do something different, but I don’t know what.
So far, so good, and well within the bounds of where a career coach can help. Then there is the unspoken part that some people have in their head:
What I want you to do is to find the absolutely best job for me, of all the jobs that exist in the universe. It should be perfect in every way.
Of course, there is no perfect job.
For career coaching clients who find themselves in this predicament, I like to use the following analogy:
Imagine that your current job represents a location on a map, say in the middle of the United States. What you are saying is that you don’t like where you are currently. Maybe it’s too cold, has too much traffic, is too conservative/liberal, is too expensive…
So, you know you want to move, but you aren’t sure where: North, South, East or West?
You may know that you don’t want to move further North, yet that still leaves a lot of options.
A career coach helps you narrow your focus so that you know the direction you want to take your career. To keep with the analogy, we might be able to take you from South, East or West to knowing you want to go West in our initial conversations.
From there, a career coach can help you further clarify your direction, perhaps knowing that you want to go west plus or minus 5 or 10 degrees.
The challenge is that for nearly every career, and nearly every client, it is not possible to provide precise instructions to the intended destination.
The best we can do is move you forward in the right direction for the next step in your career. From there, as you gain experience with this direction, you can get increasingly precise in the direction you are steering your career.
[This is why I advocate experimenting in your career.]
Here are some things to remember as you think about your next career move:
- Your objective is to make the best career move you can today (not the career move for that is perfect for the rest of your life)
- There is no perfect job
- Not taking action (staying put where you are) will never get you to your best career
- A career coach can help you clarify the destination and find the direction of your next step but can’t find the best job in the universe for you.