There are many essential ingredients to a successful career in Hong Kong, but one that people often overlook is having a career coach.
Unfortunately, many people fail to establish coach relationships because they are intimidated by the prospect of identifying and approaching someone of influence.
What does a career coach do?
These mentors can provide guidance that can help you in your current role and steer you toward a rewarding professional path.
In addition, a career coach (or career consultant) will often extend introductions to those in their professional networks, which can be beneficial if you find yourself in the job market.
If you are researching how to find a career coach in Hong Kong, follow these seven tips to help you get started, and make the process less daunting.
1. Determine what you need in a career coach
Take advantage of formal coaching programs that pair new or junior employees with more experienced colleagues if your company offers them. But don’t be discouraged if your company does not have a formal program — it is possible to find a career coach on your own.
Before you begin your search, consider what you hope to gain from the relationship. Consider the specific qualities the person should possess, as well as how he or she might assist you. It’s usually best to select someone who has more years of experience and a career path like the one you’re following.
Identify someone who you admire and respect. You can pick an individual who currently works with you or look for a career coach outside your company. Your coach should ideally be not in a formal position to evaluate your job performance. Instead, select someone with whom you can talk candidly about career and workplace issues.
2. Conduct a personality check
You may be in awe of someone’s work, but sheer talent doesn’t always translate into an ability to coach.
You need someone who is patient and willing to spend time with you. A coach should also be generous and honest with advice.
3. Take the initiative
Don’t expect a career coach to come to you.
After identifying someone whose success and work style you admire, approach him or her and explain that you would enjoy finding out more about the skills and techniques that have helped the person excel.
Try not to request too much of this individual’s time, particularly at the beginning of the relationship. People will be more receptive to serving as a coach if doing so doesn’t require considerable effort.
4. Address any concerns
People who are approached as coaches are often flattered to be asked and happy to help.
However, if someone is hesitant, find out why and suggest ways to make it easier for him or her to aid.
If the person seems pressed for time, for example, you might reduce the frequency of meetings or ask him or her to refer someone else who might have a more flexible schedule.
5. Take an active role
Once you’ve found someone you think would be a great career coach, it’s important for you to take responsibility for the process.
When you meet with him or her, bring a list of questions, but don’t expect your contact to have all the answers. Research issues before you bring them up.
6. Be appreciative
Respect your coach’s time and adhere to some basic office etiquette rules.
Always arrive on time for meetings and keep in mind that while it’s OK to reach out to your coach between formal meetings, don’t take advantage by constantly calling or emailing him or her.
Show your appreciation, too. Send your career coach a thank-you note after a particularly helpful coaching session and always offer to provide any assistance you can in his or her career.
7. Think in the long term
You and your career coach may experience some growing pains, so give the relationship time to develop.
However, don’t be discouraged if your initial coach ship doesn’t last.
You will likely have several coaches throughout your career. It’s not uncommon to seek help from multiple people to address different aspects of work.
Are career coaches worth it?
While it may require some effort to begin the coaching process, the long-term rewards can be significant.
Don’t overlook this valuable career resource. The guidance you receive will place you in a better position to achieve your professional goals.