Tuesday, 19 September 2017

#255 Deciding on a career coach

I spoke to two career coaches recently. Lisa Larue, from Careerworx and Corinne Mills of Personal Career Management. Both offered free introductory chats and were available the same week that I called them.

Lisa held a full house of qualifications. Two degrees, three diplomas. I took it as a good sign. At the very least, she had an academic understanding of working life. She'd been a career specialist for the entirety of hers. Lisa's website described a genuine passion for helping people and emphasised the importance of being happy at work.

Happiness. What a promise.

Corinne was a Managing Director at PCM, which described itself as the UK's leading career coaching provider. She also had two degrees and was frequently in the national media talking about career trends and issues. Her background was in HR.

The good thing about meeting Corinne was that I got to sit with her in person, in her office. This meant that I could get a feel for her character and soft skills as well as a glance at some of the frameworks she used. The drawback was that Corinne herself wouldn't be giving the coaching. She'd be picking a member of her team for that. The significance of this dawned on me as I left the building afterwards. I felt like I'd just spent an hour listening to a sales pitch for the services of someone I hadn't even met. That didn't feel right.

Lisa sounded fine over the phone but it was difficult to get to know her too, from the short conversation we'd had. Both coaches hadn't offered any groundbreaking insights during the free consultation, so I was finding it hard to differentiate them. Lisa's website was written using the words "we" and "our team" but hers was the only description on the site. Did she really have a team?

I decided to email Lisa about the team point, the length of her sessions and to ask if her rates included VAT. Either way, they were lower than Corinne's, for what looked like essentially the same package. This had me leaning towards Lisa but I really wished I'd been able to meet both coaches in person.

I'd checked out a few other coaching businesses before narrowing it down to Lisa and Corinne but now I wanted to go back and look for more. If I was going to get a good job, I needed the career coach to do a good job, which meant I needed myself to do a good job of picking one. The thought of attending face-to-face sessions and meeting the person first without having to pay the price of a small island was probably wishful thinking but I wanted to make sure it wasn't possible. It'd be a shame if I didn't find what I was looking for just because I'd stopped looking.

10 comments

Fizzfan said...

I feel a bit negative saying this but there just seems to be so much hype surrounding expectations these days and a whole industry of people who have devised ways of sellling it and delivering very much less than promised. Happiness at work? The most I've ever hoped for is not to hate it and I still think I'm quite lucky that I don't.

Dan Copping said...

Yes, it's all very well saying to shoot for the stars. I'm sure sometimes that can feel right. Or aim from the heart, if you feel like it but if you're just looking for someone to take you away and make it ok, that seems a bit unrealistic. A better aim might be just to swear you'll behave.

Fizzfan said...

Or not get caught:)
Just watched W1A. Made me chuckle. Not sure if you've seen it before but it's all about corporate bullshit at the BBC. Lots of people saying lots of things that amount to nothing, with a few real people looking a bit dazed.
It's quite interesting in a people watching sort of way, and we all know someone we know like someone that's in it.

Dan Copping said...

Haven't seen it. It sounds a bit like The Thick Of It?

Do you work for an insurer Fizz?

Running on empty said...

I agree with Fizz. At the end of the day, the reason people get paid for work is because they'd rather be doing something else if they weren't paid.

Dan Copping said...

Do you know anyone who likes their job?

Fizzfan said...

I do. (Just hope it's not til death do us part)
In fairness I work with a lot of really lovely people but the odd one or two are a bit jobsworthy.

Fizzfan said...

I 'like' my job, but if someone said you could stop tomorrow and still get paid, I know no one.

Dan Copping said...

I see, so you're worried that the self-help industry is selling people the idea that work can be so great, they'd rather do it than not do it.

Whereas the reality is that not everyone will like their job that much.

Some people might like it a bit, or like certain elements of it but on the whole, it's probably very difficult to find someone, outside of those who are independently wealthy, who would still do their job if they didn't need the money.

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