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Jumpstart Your Career Through Coaching

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COACHING
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In the spring of 1985, John Fogerty had a hit song called "Centrefield". While you may not be familiar with the song itself, you would no doubt recognize some of the song's lyrics--"put me in coach". While the song is only just over 30 years old, I would argue that this expression is entirely outdated. A lot has changed since 1985. In sports and in life, we need to put ourselves in the game.

We all have preconceived notions of what coaching means. Perhaps the most common example of coaching is the 'coach to player' dynamic, but we often forget that coaching also extends to 'employer to employee' and 'teacher to student' relationships. There's also career coaching, which can help professionals acquire invaluable advice on their professional development and career objectives.

The workforce is more fluid than ever before. We're starting to see a lot of interdisciplinary collaboration between sectors. Consequently, professionals are seeking advice from experts in other industries on how to best move forward in their careers. These individuals are not necessarily new university graduates, either. According to a 2015 survey commissioned by the International Coach Federation (ICF), there's been a significant shift in the proportion of clients seeking coaching aged 45-plus since 2011. Whether you're interested in learning a new technical skill or getting insight into a different industry, coaching could help you reach a new destination in your career.

Here are some ways that coaching can help jumpstart your career:

1. Are you feeling a bit stuck in your career path?

Sit down and make a list of your career goals and objectives. Ask yourself questions such as what you want to achieve in your career long term. A coach can help you strategize how to achieve these goals. And who knows--they may even have the network base to help connect you to exciting new opportunities.

The Chang School's Experiential Learning (ELX) is a new program that helps connect participants to a growing roster of coaches who are experts in their field. The program offers participants the unique opportunity to focus on a specific, career-building skill with an emphasis on learning by doing. We call this type of learning 'curated education', because it allows you to have a say in the structure, objectives and outcome of the learning experience.

2. Coaching can help you build confidence and develop your personal brand.

The way that professionals need to represent themselves has evolved; there has always been an expectation to look good on paper and in person, but we also now need to have a respectable presence online. A coach can help you polish your LinkedIn page, or create a solid reputation on Twitter.

A variety of recruitment firms and post-secondary institutions are beginning to offer career coaching services to students and adult learners. For example, Ryerson University hosts career-related tweet chats to advise students and professionals alike on resources available to help support their professional development.

3. Finally, a coach can help you challenge your thinking and drive results.

Personally, I can't think of a better way to learn a new skill or technique than through hands-on, one-on-one coaching. In modern times, professionals needs to be constantly expanding and updating their skills set in order to keep a competitive advantage. It's highly advantageous to customize your skills and stay ahead of your peers.

We all need to be accountable for keeping our eyes on the labour market and staying attentive to the skills that support our long-term career objectives and goals. Whether you are just starting your career, or you are an established professional, we could all use some extra guidance and support to help us reach our aspirations. We all need to put ourselves in the game.