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When its Time to Consider an In-House Career Coach


There are thousands of guides which talk about the benefits of training and how it is one of the most valuable investments a business can make. But words cannot trump results, and the results which businesses all too often see from training program are bored employees who are resentful of having to take the time from their busy schedules to listen to some guy lecture for an afternoon. The business loses money, the employees lose time, and no one in the office comes out happy.

Businesses need to start over and re-think what they want from training, and that could mean scrapping training programs in favor of a career coach. A coach can improve not just skills, but entirely revamp your work environment and actually motivate and change your employees for the better.

Personality, not Skills

Every business knows the cliché “Hire for attitude, train for skill.” But reality is not so simple, which means that every business has workers who do not have the right attitude. Maybe they waste their office hours on Facebook or their phones, or maybe they are content with staying where they are and do not look to improve.

Poor attitudes like this nullify the effectiveness of any training program, as any teacher can tell you it does not matter what they do if the student is not motivated to learn. But a career coach aims to fix such issues by helping them define a clear path for what they want to do with their life. They can persuade employees to end bad habits, and focus on improving their motivation so that they approach their jobs with a new, better perspective. 

An employee who is motivated and actually willing to improve his career is more valuable than one who attended some training program and then proceeded to forget everything from said program. Perhaps the updated cliché now should be “Train for skill AND attitude,” which is just what a career coach can do.

Constant Improvement

The single biggest problem which surrounds training programs is that they are so infrequent. I took CPR training five months ago. And yet if I was called to save someone’s life with CPR right now, I cannot say with 100 percent certainty that I could because it has been five months since I last practiced.

While training programs normally happen once or twice per year, a normal career coach works with a client once a week for about 45 to 60 minutes. The result is a constant process of improvement as opposed to a one-off training program which will not be remembered even if the trainee is paying attention.

Handling Cost

It should be clear now that an in-house career coach boasts major advantages over training programs. But can your business handle the cost?

A career coach will generally be more expensive than a training program and coaches often expect a rate from $85 to $200 per hour. Most organizations will pay a career coach a flat fee for working a few days per month, and career coaches can work with employees in bulk by talking to them about more general ways to improve their career such as how to network effectively or routines which can improve their productivity.

All of this can help drive the cost of career coaching down. And even if a career coach is more expensive, your business gets what it pays for. A constant focus on improving an employee’s attitude and desire to self-improve will improve productivity more than the occasional training class. This can also help avoid personal injury. Furthermore, advertising that your business offers career coaching can be a draw for potential employees, as it shows that the business is truly committed to their employees’ long-term prospects.

Finding the Right Coach

While you can look up local career coaches with a Google search, finding the right coach for your workers can be a challenge. Remember that a career coach will often be asking employees personal questions and needs to be someone with whom they can feel comfortable talking to. Furthermore, some coaches are better at finding employees a new job they will be happy with while others will help them get better at their current job. The latter is obviously preferable for an employer.

Check career coach referrals and carefully go over their accomplishments like you would with any outside consultant. Furthermore, have them go under a pilot period where they work with only a few employees before starting a company-wide career coaching policy.

If you can find the right career coach for your business, you will get far better results compared to traditional training programs. A career coach is not someone your business hires so you can claim you train your employees in this or that skill, but a person who really looks to improve your employees’ habits so they become more effective workers. It can be more expensive, but it is a far more worthwhile investment with greater payoff.

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