It is difficult for people to imagine what it’s like to work with a career/life coach, if they’ve never done it before. There are so many misconceptions!
When I tell people I am a career/life coach, I get a wide variety of responses. In addition to the “how interesting”s and the “must be meaningful”s, one fairly common response is, “Maybe I should come see you!” This is immediately followed by extremely loud laughter, as if the very idea is preposterous. I’m usually thinking, You probably should. I’ll bet we could improve on something: e.g., your happiness quotient, your income, your resume, or your career developing in an exciting way… But I usually just laugh too.
Another common response among strangers who first learn that I am a career/life coach is, “Boy, I wish you could talk to my son (or daughter or husband or wife). He (or she) is really confused!” This response implies that I must only work with really confused people who need straightening out. I’m usually thinking, There’s a lot to be confused about. What’s the big deal? But to this type of comment I usually say, “Maybe I could help. My first question to you, though, is, does he or she want help?”
I am working with a particularly fabulous cluster of clients right now, all of different ages, in different stages, and facing different challenges, but all of whom are evolving, changing, and developing toward fuller, deeper, richer, and more satisfying careers and lives. That’s why they sought me out, and that’s the nature of the work we are doing together.
Next time: A detailed description of the work I am doing with a 35-year-old scientist who has worked very hard to get where he is in a lab at a prestigious university, but what about the rest of his life? Will he ever marry? Have a family? How to get from A to B is often the work of a coach.