Ok, so a last week I talked about needing a NEW definition of "career." Well, if we redefine the idea of career we have to expand how we talk about a career coach.
Google, and most of my own coaches, required me to choose a recognizable category so people can find me or have some idea of what I do, so the closest I can come to is career coach. Although you may find that I call myself a career strategist for midlife rebels (it just has a ring to it don't you think?). As entrepreneurs, and as a PhD, I don't feel bound to other's definition of me, but I understand why.
The reason I struggle with the categorization of career coach is because what I actually do with my clients extends beyond the normal definition. When you typically think of a career coach you think job search, resume writing, interviewing, job performance or career direction and while I do touch on these things, I do sooooo much more.
I came to this work primarily through my own experience of trying to find meaningful work that's aligned to who I am and how I want to live and work in the world. Because of my work as an employment and labor lawyer, Human Resources Director, and organizational and diversity consultant, I have a unique insight into a variety of professions, organizations and workplace policies and practices. I also have an extensive understanding of a variety of job titles.
However, as a social scientist who studies human and personal development, psychology, identity development and intersectionality, I know that doing meaningful work is so much more than a resume or job application.
While I'm certified as a Senior Professional Career Coach, I'm also certified as an Image Consultant, NLP Master Practitioner, and Feng Shui Facilitator. That means the way I define career informs the way I work with my clients on their careers.
This is how my work differs and why I'm not a traditional career coach:
It's holistic: My clients frequently tell me that a session with me feels more like therapy than a career clarity session. In fact a few have told me they get more from our sessions then they have from their therapy sessions. While I'm NOT a therapist, I don't look at my clients career in a vacuum. I believe your work should be aligned and integrated within your life. This requires me to help my clients see what they do in relation to their life, family and long term goals.
It's educational: The traditional rules of coaching ask that I not instruct but rather help you find the answer. While at the core of my work I will help you discover your own path (after all it's your path), I've found that most people are stuck in a traditional paradigm of work defined outside of themselves, instead of by them. There's also a lack of awareness of how intersectionality, race, gender, power and identity politics plays a role in figuring out what you want to do and how you do it. As a former professor, I can't help but educate my clients on the things that will help them be better informed and equipped to design a career they love. Also, sometimes you just need to guide folks in the right direction to avoid any land mines and pitfalls ahead.
It's personal: I've worked in retail, fast-food, finance, transportation, government, union, legal, education, healthcare, religious, manufacturing, and executive search/recruiting industries. So, I've been there and done that. In fact, it's what inspired me to represent the rights of employees as an attorney. I've also had my own career crisis, quit jobs, been downsized, been let go, started a business, moved across the country and started over, been full-time, part-time, been a stay-at-home mom, divorced, a single mom, been the primary breadwinner and the co-financial supporter of my family. My experiences inform my work and uniquely positions me to support my clients with their real world challenges.
It's branding: Because I'm certified as an image consultant, my clients get something no other career-whatever-they-want-to-call-themselves do...personal branding. Once your message is clear you have to deliver it, both in how you look and what you say. So when you work with me we'll make sure you show up powerfully in person and in the digital space. Since we conduct more business online then face-to-face these days, this is a key benefit that my clients receive.
It's lovingly firm: Because I love my clients I speak the truth with love. That means I'll be honest and promise to keep it real by pushing you when you need, challenging you when you're clinging to your comfort zone, and encouraging you to embrace your power and significance. I will hold your vision and what's possible for you even when you can't see it and when it's time...help you step into it and own it. I got you!
Ultimately, what I provide my clients is exactly what I wish I had when I was in the midst of my own career crisis. So, while I'm not a traditional career coach, you can call me that as long as you're clear on what I do.
Live, laugh and unapologetically shine,
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