By Lynn Miner-Rosen, M. Ed., ACC
Have you thought about working with a career coach, but are unsure exactly what they do? Is this person going to support you and understand your unique neurodiverse characteristics and challenges? Are they going to keep things confidential and flexible for you to stay calm and feel supported?
Work is more than just a livelihood or a paycheck. It is the key to a satisfying and productive life. For many people who are neurodivergent, a career that is a good fit can be the glue that keeps their life together in an otherwise frustrating and sometimes confusing working world.
People with ADHD or Executive Functioning challenges face added stress and worry during work for many reasons. It could be the symptoms of ADHD, their medication, comorbid conditions, unhealthy habits, or a general misunderstanding of what ADHD is and how it affects people. Add on to that: the misinformed stigma around ADHD from family members, bosses, friends, and co-workers that ADHD means you are lazy, are always late, forget things, can't complete big projects, talk too much, and fidgets all the time. Sound familiar? I get it; I have ADHD, too!
Before I began my Career Coach training eight years ago, I did not know exactly what a career coach did. (I am cringing as I type this). However, I had been an ICF Credentialed ADHD Coach and Life Coach for a few years, a former New York City teacher, mom of two kids (with ADHD), business executive, and entrepreneur, and I thought I knew it all. I knew my interests, strengths, and skills. I was good at interviews and networking… wasn't that enough?
A global poll conducted by Gallup has uncovered that out of the world's one billion full-time workers, only 15% of people are engaged at work. That means that an astronomical 85% of people are unhappy.
Before we go on, here are a few terms that you should familiarize yourself with:
Career Indecision is one of the most common reasons individuals seek career counseling/coaching. (2014 study, Gati & Levin)
Career planning can also be a time to begin or continue your ongoing, in-depth personal and career exploration. We should always continue learning and growing by embracing life, work, and educational experiences.
Career Development is creating and implementing action steps toward your career goals.
So What Is a Career Coach?
Having a real handle on what it's going to take to achieve your career aspirations helps to have a "road map" with the broad steps you should take to reach your career goals. You can't map out your career route if you don't know the destination or the steps to get there! A career coach will help you develop this road map, and navigate the turns along the way!
The definition of career coach from the book Switchers by Dawn Graham is:
"A career coach is a skilled, trained and credentialed advisor who can help you hone your brand (your story), materials (ie: resume, cover letter, LinkedIn Profile), and job search strategy, as well as assist you in evaluating your networking techniques, practicing interviews, and building confidence through feedback and insight."
An ADHD Career Coach is a Career Coach and ADHD Coach who is a positive, encouraging professional who understands ADHD and will support and guide you through every step of the career choice-to-job path.
The "I BELIEVE IN YOU" energy of an ADHD Career Coach.
An ADHD Career Coach can see your potential and is willing to go the extra mile to help you apply it to the world of work.
When people work with a credentialed career coach, they move forward by verbalizing their hopes, determining dreams, setting goals, taking actions, having an accountability partner, and reflecting on and learning new things. As a result, they leave the coaching sessions feeling empowered, knowing they have tangible capabilities to offer employers and a solid plan to move forward.
There is no "test to tell you the best career" or a "step-by-step proven plan" to get a job! Instead, it takes time for YOU to do some investigating…into yourself, employment, and careers that would be a good fit and to seek out a company that matches your values. It also takes a lot of tenacity, patience, grit, and perseverance!
Think about this: This is a big deal. This is about a career you might have for 50+ years!
You wouldn't buy a house without a real estate agent; why would you choose a career or look for a job without support?
But, there is good news…
YOU DON'T NEED TO DO THIS ALONE!
A career coach helps people who feel stuck in their careers uncover options that can move them from drudgery to their dream job and realize their full potential.
It is about ensuring that every ounce of potential within you is realized.
Here are the Top 10 Mind-Blowing Reasons To Work with A Professional ADHD Career Coach
Help in planning Your Journey and taking steps FORWARD: What are your goals? How will you pack a suitcase and navigate your map if you don't know where you are going?
Accountability Partner: The job search is stressful. Having a "partner" will support you, encourage you, and help you move forward. How high do you want to go?
Your Sherpa to the Top: Guide, Your Sherpa, Your Moral Support: working with an ADHD Career Coach can make sure you don't veer off the path, fall into a "rabbit hole," and see what is coming next and what you avoid by working with a coach. Your ADHD Career Coach will ward off the "evil ADHD trouble-makers" that get in the way like imposter syndrome, RSD, ADHD, etc.
Discover Your Strengths & Skills: An ADHD Career Coach can help you discover your strengths and inborn skills and then assist you in deciding where you most want to use them. An ADHD Career Coach is skilled at asking questions that gain insight from your answers and help you access and evaluate any solid assessment results.
Stay up to date in an ever changing world: A Career Coach is well educated and trained to share insider information and access information, strategies, resources, and current business practices.
Discover Your Interests and Values: The major success of coaching is a coach's ability to help you find the absolute best in yourself and apply it to the world of work. An ADHD Career Coach believes in everyone's potential and is willing to go the extra mile to realize your potential fully.
Marketing yourself: If needed, you can work with your coach on your Review and focus on your cover letter, resume, interview tips, salary negotiation, etc. Working with a coach, you will learn and utilize the importance of BRANDING, and putting yourself "out there" to potential employers. This can be a HUGE roadblock and challenge for people with ADHD. Yet, it is crucial in today's job market where 80% of the jobs available are NOT posted on the Internet.
A. Learning about many different career options: Your ADHD Career Coach will encourage and support you around networking skills, making valuable connections, following through with contacts, and exposing as many facts about a career as possible. B. Campus-to-Career Success: Starting with a year-by-year checklist and consistent support around internships, the Office of Disabilities, and the university's career center.
"Mock interviews" and salary negotiation: You are working with a coach to learn as much about the company as you can before the interview. You can also work with your coach on mock interviews, addressing physical or neurodivergent challenges.
Support around ADHD On-The-Job: Your coach can help you with a 30-60-90-day plan when you begin a new job or support you with your current fellow employees and supervisors.
The goal of ANY coach is YOUR success! I am not happy unless You are happy! But, the career process takes work. A coach provides a safe environment for people, so they can let down their guard and truly explore the world of opportunity.
It is through this coaching relationship that you will feel proud of your resume, clear about who you are and who you want to become, what fulfilling work looks like, what your personal brand is, effective ways to communicate your unique value, a new found confidence and courage, and a tailored PLAN to move forward in your career journey.
Thinking of investing in a career coach to help you? Download my checklist, “Top 10 Questions to ask when hiring a career coach”.
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