Co-Coaching is a Great Source of Career Change Help

Why not try it?

Co-coaching is a more structured form of career change help than just having a Career Change Buddy.

You and your co-coach will need to make a commitment to meeting regularly to support one another.

But if you have found a friend or colleague who is also serious about changing careers, then why not give co-coaching a try?

What are the benefits of co-coaching?

  • Each person gets the benefit of another’s perspective.
  • You keep each other motivated.
  • You are a source of ideas for each other.
  • You hold each other to account so you are encouraged to complete your action steps.
  • It can help you to see opportunities you might not have spotted on your own.
  • It makes the whole career change process more fun – a problem shared is a problem halved.

Who should you co-coach with?

There are no set rules for this. Career change help can come from many sources. It could be a friend who you know well. It could be a work mate from your current or from a previous job.

It could even be someone you have met through networking – co-coaching could be the way that you help one another.

You may want to think carefully about using a close family member – they are sometimes just too close, and the outcomes of the changes you want may be too closely intertwined for successful co-coaching.

But what really matters is that the person you choose is equally committed to making a career change and they are willing to meet with you at regular intervals.

How do you co-coach?

It is important that you make your meetings more than just a chat over a cup of coffee. Offering each other career change help is a serious matter. Treat them as mini business meetings. You should agree the following:

  • How often will you meet? (usually once a week or once a fortnight)
  • Where will you meet? (find somewhere quiet where you can concentrate and won’t be interrupted)
  • How long will each session be? (usually 1-2 hours will give you time to talk but keep you focused)
  • How long will you contract to meet? (eg fortnightly meetings for 3 months)
  • How will you structure the sessions? (who coaches first, what kind of questions will you ask etc.)
  • Agree to be both encouraging and challenging of one another.

Running a co-coaching session

The key to successful co-coaching and offering real career change help is careful and attentive listening.

You take turns to be coach and coachee for half the session, then swop over. While you are coach, your task is to focus all your attention on the coachee and his/her issues. Ask them questions (see below) about their career change goal and about their progress towards it.

Try to avoid telling them what to do or giving them advice. It is best to help them to find solutions that will work for them.

Also be careful about straying into very personal territory. Agree with your coaching partner that you may ask them about personal matters if they seem to be affecting their progress, but that they have permission to say ‘I don’t want to talk about that’ if they so choose.

Keep the focus positive and directed towards solutions to the current situation and on future goals. The focus should also be on them and what they can do, not on trying to ‘fix’ other people who neither of you can influence.

What questions should you ask?

Here is a selection of questions to get you started.

  • What have you achieved this week towards your goal?
  • What has gone well for you?
  • What has got in your way?
  • What could you do differently?
  • If there were no limitations, what would you do?
  • If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?
  • What can you do to find out more / get the skills or resources you need?
  • What skills and resources do you already have that will help?
  • Who can help you?
  • What will you do next?
  • What would be the smallest step you could take next towards your career change plans?
  • When will you do this by?
  • How will you feel when you have made the changes you want?

If you are brainstorming options, keep asking ‘what else?’ It is amazing what ideas people can come up with if you just push them a little!

At the end of the co-coaching session

It is important that you always end the session agreeing what the next step will be in each other’s action plan. The purpose of co-coaching is change and that means doing something, not just talking about it. However small, however slow, there needs to be forward movement, so make sure you agree a specific action with a deadline by which it will be done.

And don’t forget to celebrate the progress you both make along the way.

Co-coaching can be really useful if you are planning a career change. Help from someone who is equally committed will keep you both focused and on target. Why not try it?

Now you have found out about getting some support, why not move on with your career change plans. You could take a look at:

Reviewing your current situation and finding out what you can learn from it. Read more…

Working out what you have to offer – your skills, values and interests.Read more…

Exploring you career personality. Find out how your personal preferences affect your career choices. Read more…

About the author

Amy Thomas

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