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Career Development

4 Questions To Ask Yourself To Be Your Own Best Career Coach

General Assembly
June 13, 2022

If finding a great, new job sounds challenging, the thought of transitioning careers altogether might feel downright insurmountable. There’s a lot to consider!

Folks will often engage a career coach when they need some extra guidance working through personal goals, professional development, and the job search process. At GA we have a team of skilled Career Coaches who play a pivotal role in our students’ job-seeking journeys. 

The value of a coach lies in their ability to listen carefully and ask you open-ended questions that spark insights and encourage self-discovery. This gained knowledge helps you navigate from where you are now to where you’d like to be.

But while a coach can be a helpful resource, working with one isn’t always financially attainable. Or maybe you’re more of a DIY kind of career changer; that’s ok, too! 

The good news is, much of the valuable reflection that a coach supports is work that you can do on your own. With some time, energy, and the right prompts you can begin identifying and taking the next steps in your career transition. We personally like utilizing the GROW model– which stands for Goal, Reality, Options, and Will; a coaching framework by Sir John Whitmore that can also help support your thought process when there’s a lot to work through. 

With that, here are 4 questions that will help you coach yourself through your next big career step. 

Career Coach Questions

“Lifelong learners with a growth mindset are the most successful because they are humbled by the fact that they’ll never achieve intellectual mastery, and there’s always more to learn.”

– Ashley Stahl, Career Coach and International bestselling author of You Turn

#1: What’s my goal? 

Also: What does success look like to me? What does it feel like?

Many coaches start by jumping to the end, to help establish your vision of what you’re working towards. Maybe that’s landing a new gig or breaking into a different industry altogether. Perhaps it’s a little less tangible like greater work flexibility, or confidence in your role. Or maybe it’s all about the $$$! Take some time to jot down the top 3-5 things that are most important to you, and use that motivation to fuel your thinking and planning.

#2: Where am I right now?

Also: Which of my skills and competencies can I capitalize on? What skills do I need to work on building? What personal responsibilities and priorities will influence this process?

Think about your current abilities and challenges, but also your current realities that dictate what you need; things like compensation, benefits, work flexibility and location. You have to have a sense of where you stand today in terms of skills, interests, and needs before you can make a plan to get where you’re going. 

#3: What are my options?

Also: What are all the things I can do that could move me in the direction I’m looking to go? What else can I do?

Think about all the actions you could possibly take that would help you achieve your career transition. You might consider the various resources and knowledge you’ll need, and where you can get it from (mentorship? Networking? Training?) Our recommendation is to start by making a list of all the things before taking a step back to consider the feasibility of each one.

#4: What’s the first step I’ll take?

Also: What can I do right now in service of my goal?

Don’t let all the steps prevent you from taking the first step. We like this question because, of course, there are 100 things you can do at any given time to further your career. All you have to do is take the next step, and keep taking the next step until you’ve accomplished what you set out to. 

There you have it: 4 questions you can work through to gain clarity and take action in your career transition. So, what’s the first step you’ll take?

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