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Career coaching — the bedrock of success

Opinion & Analysis
I have met people who are happy with their chosen career paths because it merges well with their talents and passion. By JONAH NYONI Some people languish in a job that helps them pay their bills, but given an opportunity, they would choose to do something different. Whilst in South Africa recently, I (JN) interviewed […]

I have met people who are happy with their chosen career paths because it merges well with their talents and passion.


Some people languish in a job that helps them pay their bills, but given an opportunity, they would choose to do something different.

Whilst in South Africa recently, I (JN) interviewed Dr Tatiana Rowson (TR), who is a business psychologist with international academic and consulting experience. Her area of practice includes executive and career coaching, executive assessment, and learning and development solutions. She is a lecturer in Coaching at Henley Business School.

She pointed out that most people miss a stage when they should engage a career coach until it’s too late. Basically, a career coach does not prescribe on what should one do, but enable and help an individual to discover themselves, their strengths, endowments, and abilities. Here was my interview with her:

JN: What is career coaching?

TR: Career coaching is to help people make sense of what they want to do now and next. It’s not only about careers, but it’s about the whole life. Work and life have to fit together. If you can’t make the two work together you can’t have success in your career.

JN: What’s then in the cutting-line between career coaching and life coaching?

TR: They are different. The aim of career coaching is to ultimately achieve a career goal, but we can’t plan what will happen next, unless we know who we are, how we would want to do things and what our needs are. When I say our needs; its needs about our families, our time needs, our rest needs.

All these things come together to make a whole being. But the goal is a career goal.

JN: I have since realised that most students do what the schools prescribe. Then later in life, they discover they haven’t been doing the right thing. Don’t you think we need to thoroughly incorporate career coaching in schools?

TR: Definitely. We need to incorporate the whole mentality of career coaching in schools. Career coaching is not doing a test and finding out what you are good at.

You can be good at Maths or reading, but you might not like it. What you might like is something in creatives, something arty. So discovering what children like and who they, helps them to choose career path that is more fulfilling.

JN: At what stage should we bring in a career coach to a child?

TR: On one-on-one career coaching is important later in life when students are deciding what to do in life.

I think also, career coaching should be introduced by their own teachers at school, by encouraging students to discover what they are strong at and to value diversity in class, to give equal value to different talents, all that builds up resilience and self-esteem that the children need to, later on, make a good choice.

Career coaching is an ongoing thing, children should be allowed to make mistakes, explore and expand.

JN: How do I marry natural intrinsic abilities or talents to my career?

TR: The best way to find fulfillment is to combine the two. At times you might go crazy on writing and it’s not paying, so you must be realistic by finding out what jobs are out there.

If you can’t find a job, create one, solve another people’s problems and be paid. That is called entrepreneurship.

JN: What models do we have that could help someone make a career choice?

TR: One can read about the Career Construction Theory. Its major premise is in two things.

One, it is to develop our own beliefs in our selves so that we know what we like, what we can do best and competently.

By so doing, you become confident to explore things around you because you trust yourself.

Secondly, allow your curiosity to take you to different things. For example, you might say, I never knew about blogging.Explore blogging by trying out different things to see if it sits well with you.

As you do that and you are committed to trying out things, you will know you can achieve great things.

As you explore, what you find out are different opportunities that were hidden.

JN: What could be the danger of prescribing to a child on what they should pursue?

TR: The danger is they might do something that might lead them to fail. That leads them to be the second best or not quite good enough, because its someone else’s choices.

Or they might be good at it, but they are not going to feel that they are in the right place. It’s interesting when you look at careers today we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. We don’t know what jobs will exist? I don’t know if cars will drive themselves without hitting anyone? And they will be no more drivers?

We don’t know all that, so what helps people to carry on with their career even if the jobs don’t exist anymore? It is the fact that they can learn new things and are curious to know new things. So they keep moving, as things move.

JN: How do I discover the true purpose, so that I can have this indescribable feeling of ultimate ecstasy or fulfillment?

TR: The best way to discover is by trying different things and experimenting. Be curious.

I know I am from a background where being curious was being frowned upon. Where you were told, don’t touch that, don’t do that, don’t press that button it’s so bad, but the reality is that curiosity is what makes us find out opportunities for ourselves.

JN: How can we encourage someone not to think only of a job but entrepreneurship, where they increase their worth by increasing their value?

TR: You should know what makes you different. It’s important to teach children to know themselves.

The earlier we tell people to know their value the earlier they start to contribute.

For example, you might say, there are many people writing here, but there is no one with my perspective, flow, and flair.

JN: Finally, what would be your best word of motivation to a student today?

TR: I would say, they are opportunities are out there. It’s not easy, it usually demands a lot of persistence, a lot of curiosity and a lot of try-and-error, but if you believe in yourself you will find the elements to get the career you want.

lJonah Nyoni is an author, success coach and certified leadership/business trainer. He is the author of Inspiration for Success and Success Within Reach. Contact details: Tel: 0772 581 918. Email: jonah@classicmail.co.za. Twitter@jonahnyoni.