How to work with a career coach


Stuck in a dead-end job? Or maybe you just want some advice about how to switch from one career to another. If so, career consultant Maggie Mistal has some excellent advice about how to choose a career coach.

How to work with a career coach

Are you unhappy in your work? Do you wonder if you are in the right field or if a career change is in order? If so, you’re not alone. Statistics estimate that 50% to 75% of Americans are unhappy on a daily basis in their jobs. Career Consultant, Maggie Mistal shares some excellent advice on how a career coach can help.

Identify Your Unique Characteristics

Career coaching can help you identify the personal and unique characteristics that help determine your ideal career. A career coach can help you recognize:

  • Your strengths. Playing to your strengths helps you to excel and distinguish yourself.
  • Your interests and passions. When you do what you love, you will naturally be better at it and happier doing it.
  • What motivates you. We each have key motivating factors that guide our behavior. Understanding what motivates you will help you identify the kind of work that taps into what drives you.
  • What jobs are a good fit for you. It may end up that a career outside your current industry could be a better fit for your skills and unique characteristics.

Manage Your Manager

Most of us will have a difficult manager at some time in our careers. A career coach can help you build strategies to successfully manage your manager – a very valuable skill for any worker.
  • How to be more assertive with your manager.
  • How to manage conflict with your manager.
  • How to present your ideas in a way that your manager will really hear what you propose.

Examine Your Views About Work

Career coaching can help you gain perspective about work-life balance. Don’t underestimate the impact your parents’ and/or caregivers’ attitudes about work may have had on the way you view work, or the impact your attitudes toward work can influence those you mentor.
  • If your role models came home from work every night unhappy, or if their personal relationships suffered because they worked too hard, this likely influenced the way you think about work.
    • For example, a recent statistic reveals that younger workers shy away from taking on greater responsibility at work; they do not want to be managers and leaders. They see responsibility as, “just more work and not that much more money”, and would rather “have a life”.
  • A career coach can help you examine your general views about work and whether those views may be holding you back.

DENISE: Hello, there. I’m Denise Richardson, this is, and our guest is Maggie Mistal. She’s a life purpose and career coach, she can also be heard on Martha Stewart Living Radio on Sirius. You’re a life purpose and career coach, as I just said. When do people come to you for help, Maggie?

MAGGIE:  You know, we have seventy five percent of people who unhappy in their work, so if you’re really unhappy in your job, and you really have no idea if you should change or not change, if it’s your boss or not, if it’s you – maybe there’s something wrong with you and maybe you’re in the wrong industry. If you’re just not sure, if you, you have, you’re just unhappy every day, you’re dragging yourself to work and you’re dreading it, and you really don’t see your salary going up, you don’t see any opportunity, you’re really feeling like you’re in a dead end; those can be really great places for a career coach, because it’s about clarifying what you’re best at, where your interests lie, what your key motivators are. Each one of us has a unique set of factors that determine what our ideal career is, and if you can get clear on those with a career coach, it really opens up the world of career opportunity to you because you may be in a field where you never even considered jobs in a different area, but a career coach can help you see why that may be a good fit for you.

DENISE:  It sounds like it also gives you more freedom; freedom to, to think and operate as you feel inside.

MAGGIE: Right. You get to match more of how you really feel with your work situations. Because the other thing I coach a lot of folks on: if you have a difficult manager who you have no idea what else to do with this person, you really don’t want to leave your job because you love the company, you love everything else about it – I’ve coached people in specific situations about how to be more assertive, how to manage conflict, how to present their ideas in a way that their manager can actually listen. You know, so there can even be specific strategies that a career coach can help you with if everything in your job is great except for one aspect. A career coach can help you strategize and address that one area, as opposed to you struggling. I like to call it the personal trainer for your career.

DENISE:  I heard a number that you used that caught my attention: did you say seventy five percent of people don’t like their jobs?

MAGGIE:  Statistics I’ve read have been at seventy five percent levels, and anywhere, I’d say, anywhere from fifty to seventy five percent, and the highest I’ve heard is seventy five percent of people that are unhappy daily going to work.

DENISE:  So, so what does it say about what our society has taught us about work?

MAGGIE:  You know, that’s one of the battles I fight every day, Denise, honestly. And it’s interesting because we learn so much – I tell parents this all the time – that you have so much impact on your child’s view on what work is. If you come home every day unhappy, and you are, are, you know, relationships suffer with your family because either you’re working too hard or you’re not being appreciated at work. You know, your children are making judgments based on how they see you. Now, what’s another interesting statistic I read recently: younger workers are actually shying away from taking responsibility. They don’t want to be managers, they don’t want to be leaders because they see it’s just more work, and not that much more money, and I don’t want to do it; I want to have a life. I want to have quality of life, and work, though important, is not something I want to invest my time in. As a career coach, that scares me, because I think you can have a job where you’re able to put your contribution in and do it in a way where you have the work/life balance you want, where you are appreciated; you just need to focus on it. Have a strategy, just like you do with everything else, weight loss, you know, any of these other things you want to do with your life, you can have a strategy with your career as well, and actually make it happen the way that you want to.

DENISE:  You can be happy in your job.

MAGGIE:  Absolutely.

DENISE: And thank you for helping us to understand that, Maggie Mistal.

MAGGIE:  You’re very welcome, Denise.

meet theexpert
  • Maggie Mistal

    Maggie Mistal Career Coach, Martha Stewart Living Radio Maggie Mistal is a certified life purpose and career coach. Her passion is her career consulting practice, working with individuals to identify their ideal careers and helping them make career changes. more about this expert »

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