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Career Coaching

The 1 Negative Thing You Need from a Career Coach

Career coaching is far from just resumes and LinkedIn profiles. It isn’t even just a Clear Vision or Action Plan. You also need some alligators biting at your heels. A good career coach will help you keep ahead of those snapping jaws.
I adhere to a solution-based approach to career coaching. That does not mean we only look at positive outcomes and assume you’ll be motivated to act on your action plan. Studies and history show that, in fact, you’re much more likely to take action if you’re avoiding something BAD rather than moving toward something GOOD. This is part of our inclination to loss aversion.
Loss aversion refers to people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. Most studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains.
Think about these scenarios:
You’re currently in a pretty good job. You’ve been there a while and it’s comfortable. You have a desire to advance your career and think you could do that by finding a better job.
Will you conduct an energetic, focused job hunt?
Career coachingThe great majority of the time we will just stay in a good job. Rather than go through the effort of searching for a new but better job. It’s easier to stay in the current job. There’s risk in looking. What if my boss finds out? It’s so much work. I’m really busy right now, so I’ll do it later.
But now consider this. You’re currently in a pretty good job. You’ve been there a while and it’s comfortable. Someone just told you that your boss is thinking of firing you.
Will you conduct an energetic, focused job hunt?

Career coaching

Loss Aversion theory suggests that you are twice as likely to conduct a job hunt under the second scenario. Because the risk is high and strongly felt.

We all know people, and maybe have been there ourselves, who stayed in a job for way too long. They were too busy to job hunt or make an effort for a promotion. Until they were afraid they were going to be laid off. Then they brushed up their resumes, started to network. So they were in panic mode which can lead to some unfortunate choices, including job choices.

Part of a good career coaching relationship should include a clear awareness of what you lose by not executing your action plan. A good coach and a good coachee will spend a lot of time determining which problem has to be worked on and creating a very clear vision for the desired outcome. They will also be very clear on the implications of not taking action. The more negative those implications are, the more likely you’ll make a change.

Reframing scenario 1 can make staying in your comfortable job. What are the negative impacts of staying where you are? Unsuccessful children because you can’t afford to send them to university? Feeling unsuccessful at your upcoming high school reunion? Another frustrating meeting where you aren’t heard? There’s a reason you’re considering a career move. Your coach can help you remember those alligators at your heels.

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