Dear Coach Wolfgang,
I’ve been told that all the advice I need for my career is on the Internet. If that’s true, why do I need a career coach?
The internet contains a lot of information that can help your career. Much of it is quite good – tactical and thought-provoking. I read a fair amount of it encourage you to do the same. In fact, did you know that I produce 1 to 2 blogs per week with tangible ideas to help people improve their career? I do so because I want to help people whether they are a client or not. I think that is why you find so much good career advice on the Internet – people want to help. I am always flattered and overjoyed when someone tells me how much one of my blogs or presentations helped them. Some people say this costs me potential clients; I say, “that’s fine.” In reality that’s rarely the case.
How does one-on-one career coaching provide a different value than a book or a video or article on the Internet?
How others see you
There are some creative online services out there but neither a book nor the Internet can provide a caring, mentoring relationship. Self-help through books and blogs are effective but they don’t replace working with a human being. Technology is driving people to replace social interaction with facebook, text messaging, chat rooms, etc. There’s a lot to learn about your career through the Internet but most individuals can’t rely on it solely when you trying to change a big part of your life. Changing and evolving your career involves interacting with other people – people who are willing to tell you how you appear to others. Your career coach brings this perspective and adds the social component to your career journey.
Advice adapted to your situation
While there are thousands of books and blogs on career management, none of them were written with your specific situation in mind nor with the insight about your behavior and personality. Here are examples of what I mean:
- you can read a book on how to write a resume but that doesn’t mean you know what to say on yours
- you can read a blog on interview tips but that will never identify your areas for improvement
- books and the internet aren’t able to tell you how your professional brand appears to others
- online career assessments aren’t able to interpret results and apply them to your situation
Even if you could read all the career-related information out there, it’s up to you to synthesize it all. That is, you need to digest it, determine what is appropriate for you and plot out the steps that make the most sense for you. In other words, you won’t find someone who can take all that information and turn it into a program that is right for you. A lot of the information is there but it’s up to you to make sense of it, set goals, adjust your strategy and hold yourself accountable.
Some people excel at reading information online and synthesizing it for their own needs. I think that’s great! The rest of us need help applying career advice for our situation. Sometimes you’ll just need someone to listen to you and empathize. That doesn’t have to be a career coach, per se, it can be a friend or a mentor – as long as it is a person and not a web page.