March 7, 2008
Coaches can aid in job changes
The (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News
For many workers, the desire or the need to change jobs is commonplace. Whether brought about by downsizing or a growing dissatisfaction with the trajectory of their careers or industries, many people have made a job switch or want to.
That has led to a boom in the number of career and life coaches, whose mission is to help those unsure of their next career step to examine their aptitudes and get back on a career track.
Intimate-apparel executive Nancy Fox decided to start her own home-based coaching business, Fox Coaching Associates, in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
After some early struggles, Fox learned she had a talent for bringing people together.
"I found a way that makes it enjoyable and painless," says Fox, who works with attorneys, accountants and other professional-service providers who, she says, don't like to sell.
"They hate it, and so do I," Fox says.
Coaches in the U.S. earn an average of $52,478 a year and account for slightly more than half the $1.5 billion in revenue generated worldwide by coaching, according to the International Coach Federation (ICF), a trade organization.
The ICF has about 7,000 members in the U.S. and more than 13,000 worldwide. Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates there are 30,000 coaches worldwide.
Typically, coaching is a second or third career for many people, ICF says. Workers may have been an executive, consultant, trainer or teacher, or in counseling or a health-related field; the majority, 53 percent, hold a master's degree.
One critic of career coaches says they often miss the mark when it comes to providing realistic career-transition services.
"In other words, they're very pie-in-the-sky," says Barry Miller, manager of alumni career programs and services at Pace University.
"You have to translate it into people's financial needs; what is available in the marketplace; and how accessible that marketplace is to that transition," says Miller, who is also a private career consultant.
He says many people go into coaching because they have expertise in a given field.
But that doesn't always mean that they are aware of all the resources available to job seekers or those professionals looking to build their business or careers.
A good coach needs more than empathy, Miller says.
Though not as critical as Miller, Fox agrees.
"A good coach knows not only what's going to assist a client in terms of what they are looking for," Fox says, "but also put them on the right path to find structures to help them fulfill their goals."
Copyright &\; 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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