WHAT do you do when your child has difficulties mastering mathematics in school?

You hire a tutor to help him understand fundamental concepts, and master the subject’s learning techniques which are different from, say, learning a language.

You invest time and effort on the process so your child can improve.

But what happens when you are stuck in your career? 

For many, the first thought that often comes to mind is looking for another job.

Get a game plan 

On average, you spend at least 15 years preparing for your first job. The educational system and structured guidance are in place to help you do well academically.

But after you secure your first job, you are left to your own devices to make sense of how the working world works.

In school, there is no Career Advancement 101 module. When things hit a rut at work, it may seem like the easiest solution is to find another job.

But before you take that step, consider consulting a career coach.

Mr Adrian Ang (right), chief executive officer and co-founder of the Centre for Career Excellence (CCE), asks: “Do you know your career vision? Your strengths? How about the gaps? And what you need to do to achieve your end goal?"

“The career coach is your accountability partner who works with you to come up with a career game plan.”

CCE offers a hybrid learning with coaching WSQ programme to help you achieve clarity in uncovering latent career opportunities.

Mr Ang explains that a career coach helps you chart a timeline and devise a strategy to carry out your game plan.

Identifying the issue

The first thing to determine during the first coaching session is the outcome you want to achieve.

Do you need to find a job urgently? Or are you currently employed and want to know your options?

If you are seeking greener pastures, a career coach will ensure you acquire essential job-hunting skills. Once you have acquired the requisite skill set, says Mr Ang, you will not be at a loss when you need to find a job.

If you are currently employed, the coach will explore the underlying reason why you are thinking of quitting your job. If the problem can be rectified, then you may not need to leave your job.

Or it may be identified as a gap to be developed or managed in future. If left unattended, it may be an obstacle in your next job.

Self-awareness is key

When you build on your areas of greatest potential rather than seeking to shore up your weaknesses, you can have better career success.

Mr Steven Seek (above), a coach mentor at CCE, cites this example: “During the 1984 Olympics, when the Chinese team again won the gold medal in table tennis, a reporter asked the coach about the team’s daily training regimen.

“The coach replied, ‘Our philosophy is that if you develop your strengths to the maximum, the strength becomes so great it overwhelms the weaknesses’.”

The coach believed that we excel by maximising our strengths, not by fixing our weaknesses.

Explains Mr Seek: “If we build on our strengths and further develop the things we already do well, those efforts are more likely to lead to success.”

For instance, in a mid-career switch, two persons holding a client servicing manager position in the printing industry may choose different career tracks.

A risk-averse person may apply to other printing companies, or complementary industries such as advertising agencies.

On the other hand, a risk-taker may explore a different job function with transferable skill sets across industries such as corporate sales for a training company.

“The role of the coach is to nudge you towards the pathway that coincides most with your strengths, and align your passion, values, interests and personality with it to ensure the most suitable job fit,” says Mr Seek.

Navigating success

When researching possible career options, you may encounter obstacles and rejections that seem to challenge your initial assumptions, and affect your resolve.

When you start to second-guess your own choices, you need clarity, focus and motivation.

CCE’s principal career coach Irene Lee (above) shares that many job seekers tend to shortchange themselves at this point.

She cites as an example a client who, when offered a position that was not within her industry and job scope, initially rejected the offer. But after Ms Lee evaluated the client’s options with her preferred career outcome in mind, the latter decided to accept the job.

Several months after the client took up the position, she was offered a higher position, and even given another offer by another employer a few months later.

Says Ms Lee: “Many job seekers view a job offer as fi nal, and hinge all their decisions about their future on that one job offer.

“Instead, you can view a job offer as an opportunity — a stepping stone to further career exploration and self-understanding.”

Mr Ang says: “Everybody needs a coach when they need to clear the fog in their minds to take a decisive step forward. So if the road ahead is unclear and you are stuck, consult a career coach.”

- Article contributed by the Centre for Career Excellence


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