Prepare to Move Up
Are you determined to make the most of your career? Looking for the best practices to support success, but not sure where to look or how to proceed? What you need is an executive coach. This subset of career counseling focuses specifically on the management-oriented professional looking for the skills and disciplines to stand out from the pack.
Refine Your Skills, Polish Your Presentation
- Targeting your aims.
- Finding the right program.
- Going the distance.
Know What You Need
Before racing out and signing up for every form of career counseling available, take the time to assess your own needs and goals. Different programs are aimed at different business-styles and sectors, and at different forms of leadership. Various coaches can point you to a range of skills, from purely presentational, through networking and developing support systems, all the way to specific forms of job and management training.
Consider also the difference between an executive coach and a degree or certificate. A coach provides intense personal focus, but is often comparatively shallow in terms of critical job skills. An MBA or certificate program, however, are likely to provide excellent training in business and business management, but skim over basic career polish, presentation, and personal interaction.
The Right Program for Your Plans
When you’ve considered your aims and options, and decided that an executive coach is the right form of career counseling for you, it’s time to do your research. There are a number of routes you can take to find a good program. One of the simplest is to make use of online search options. These can provide you with local coaches, national coaching services, online services, special workshops, and more.
Each will have apparent benefits. One of your most important career choices, however, will be to test the value of appearances. There are many online scammers, and even more legitimate but low-value programs and providers. Check for recommendations, licensing, and certifications. Write the Better Business Bureau to determine if the business is in good standing. Spend the time to send inquiries to associations dealing with fraud, including the Nonprofit Resource Center.
Another way to check your choices in advance is to make use of a professional referral agency. Referral agencies exist in all areas of business, and their life-blood depends on their ability to sift the good from the bad, the fakes and frauds from providers offering genuine value. If only for the single use of checking the validity of a possible program or coach, a referral service can save you from making a terrible mistake.
Referral agencies can offer more value still: while you’ve done the work of self-evaluation, there are many details you may not have thought of, or have overlooked as necessary to your success. If you’re drawing on the services of a referral agency, take advantage of their ability to review your observations, consider your conclusions, and make suggestions for improvement to your plans. Referral agencies can always offer you more concentrated experience in evaluating your issues and finding solutions than you’re likely to locate on your own, unless you, too, are professionally experienced in that sort of research and evaluation.
Going the Distance
Once you’ve chosen your program or your coach, the central issue becomes one of determination, discipline, and endurance. More ambitious professionals fail due to lack of perseverance than through any other failing. By assembling your skills, developing your resources, and investing in training and the status that goes with training, you can make yourself shine.