The Value of Career Coaching

25 May 2017

Careers Manager, Monica Garcia-Romero, explains the importance of career coaching, the difference between coaching and mentoring and how to follow up after a coaching session.

Many students who join the Full-time MBA at WBS have a clear idea about what their short term career goals are immediately after their MBA. They are clear about which sector, function and country they would like to work in. Many other students come to the MBA without a clear idea or goal and want to use this year to explore options and to get acquainted with different opportunities.

The career coaching services our WBS CareersPlus team provide can help all students regardless of where they are in their career vision.

What is Coaching?

Coaching is a process in which the coach supports the student to identify, focus on and achieve what is most important to them. It is about helping the student to unlock their potential to achieve high performance and personal success.  

Through a series of confidential conversations, the student is encouraged to identify and explore their personal and career vision and goals and bring about any desired changes.

Coaching can be particularly helpful where the student is:

  • reviewing their career path
  • establishing themselves in a new role
  • building a new business
  • seeking to have more influence/impact/effectiveness
  • building a new skill.
Related course: Full-time MBA

A coach can help a student to clarify what they want; increase their self-awareness and self-belief; challenge their assumptions; build on their strengths; and see their situation from a fresh perspective. Coaching works best when students are open to allowing the process to make a real difference to them and create change.

There are some common misconceptions about coaching, for example, that the coach will solve the student’s problems for them or that the coach will give them contacts to secure a job.

What is the difference between coaching and mentoring?

Coaching is primarily focused on helping the student bring their potential into awareness and reality. Coaching is a conversation where the coach asks questions to the student to help bring clarity as to what the student wants to achieve and what the best path forwards will be. The coach does not have the answer and it is the role of the student to think about their interests, strengths, values and motivations with the help of their coach. 

Mentoring is about a person giving advice and support to empower the student to achieve their goals. A typical mentor is likely to have specific experience and knowledge that is relevant to the situation that the student is in. It is more of an ‘expert’ role and the mentor may well have particular advice to offer to the mentee. The WBS career coach can offer advice to the students in areas such as networking skills, CV and cover letters, job applications, salary negotiation, among others. In this area, the coach will play a role of mentor – giving specific advice. 

How to prepare for coaching

The best preparation for coaching is to think about aspects of your life which you would like to improve. Some suggestions of areas that can be addressed include:

Career direction                               Motivation                                          Professional isolation
Self confidence/belief                     Managing change                            Feeling ‘stuck’ 
Leadership style                              Preparing for promotion                  Managing upwards
Handling conflict                              Managing uncertainty                     Influencing         

How to follow-up from coaching

The coaching process includes both the actual meetings with your coach and the time in between when you can be changing your behaviours. Awareness is critical to change, and following up on any practices, assignments or requests from your coach between sessions is the key to success. You will be encouraged to hold new possibilities in mind, develop new practices, notice what is changing and celebrate successes, however minor, along the way.  

As coaching is a finite process, the student holds responsibility for maintaining any changes and so achieving long term benefits. You will develop your own practices that can be continued beyond the end of the coaching relationship and help you to achieve your true potential and personal success.