Workplace Wellbeing

How Career Coaching Helps Unlock Employee Potential in Times of Change

Integrating career coaching into your company's culture can fuel both individual and organizational growth.

Written by
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Anna Cuneo
Spring Health Coach
Clinically reviewed by
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Female employee works with a coach on career challenges

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    Career coaching compliments other forms of professional guidance, like mentoring or therapy because it considers the whole person’s values, beliefs, and passions. As a career coach, I ensure that an employee’s current or prospective job aligns with their holistic self.  

    Career coaching is about more than refining your resume. We look beyond what an employee does to ensure their job is aligned with their identity, and if it isn’t, how we can put those aspects together. 

    How career coaching fuels professional evolution

    Career coaching is helpful any time we’re looking to make a change in our professional lives. It helps individuals navigate questions like, “Am I in the right job?” or “Can I achieve my career goals within my current company?” 

    Some may wonder whether the challenge lies with the job or within themselves. My job is to help them assess the situation and uncover the authentic and true answers. 

    But career coaching isn’t only for people looking to leave their role or start a new career path. It can support people whenever they desire change, even within the same company. This could encompass lateral moves across departments or upward advancement. 

    For example, I might help someone move past their mental blocks around imposter syndrome to help them reach a promotion or apply for a more senior internal position. 

    I recently had a client who is in a very fast-paced environment, and she’s a bit of a perfectionist. She’s having a hard time with that. After meeting with me, she’s going back to her manager to see if there may be a better fit for her within the organization. 

    Organizations that are open to having those types of conversations show a long-term investment in their people, which can offer a stronger sense of employee loyalty and retention in return. 

    In some instances, companies provide career coaching as a form of support during layoffs to help set employees up for success in the next chapter of their lives. That’s a compassionate and human service to offer. 

    Career coaching in times of change

    A career coach provides unwavering support during any career transition or change. They are especially adept at helping individuals address common challenges, including:

    1. Navigating difficult managers or dealing with micromanagement
    2. Cultivating a sense of belonging and acceptance in the workplace
    3. Adapting to changes in the professional landscape

    The call to return to the office is a topical issue that hits all three. After being able to work remotely for the last few years, many employees are struggling with new mandates to return to work in person. Some wonder whether to quit their jobs to look for more flexible roles, while others endure discomfort and become increasingly resentful or disengaged.  

    It’s a very tough situation. I understand that some companies want to bring employees back. Though opinions differ, many say it’s about productivity, but some also have difficulty managing people who work remotely.  

    While in-person work suits some, others have found remote arrangements more fulfilling and productive. I can’t speak for everyone, but my remote clients work hard. It’s difficult for them to agree to go back to the office because they’ve found ways to be productive at home. Childcare issues are a particular area of concern, and working from an office poses huge problems for many parents—to the point that some can’t afford to return. 

    We could all benefit from more training on working together effectively in remote and hybrid work environments. Many leaders may need management courses on connecting and working with remote employees. 

    The bottom line is that many people want to stay where they are. Until there are changes at the corporate level, a career coach can help employees shift their mindset, navigate change, and regain a sense of control in other areas of their life—such as exercise and nutrition. 

    Note for HR leaders: This is a challenging transition for many employees. Be there to listen. Validate their struggles. A degree of understanding goes a long way.

    Balancing passion and work

    One of the big questions that comes up in my line of work is this: Is passion something we should all strive for in our work? 

    You can’t walk into a bookstore without coming across titles about doing what you love, finding your calling, or making money from your passions. Millennials and Gen Z are attuned to making a difference and finding meaning in their careers. 

    Those who lack a sense of personal fulfillment or inner spark at work might grapple with feelings of underachievement. But is this really true?  

    There’s no denying the fact that financial stability matters. Maintaining economic security is essential to our well-being as the cost of living rises. We can’t all quit our full-time jobs to write books in the mountains or teach yoga in Costa Rica.

    But this doesn’t mean we can’t bring passion into our jobs. Creative avenues exist to intertwine one’s passion with their work. 

    For example, if an accountant loves helping people, they could establish a mentorship program to help accounting students learn about business. Alternatively, if a marketing professional is passionate about people and culture, they could collaborate with HR to enhance workplace birthday celebrations.

    And if it’s impossible to integrate your passion into your workplace, you can always prioritize nurturing your passions outside of work. 

    My friend is an attorney who doesn’t necessarily love what she does, but she’s passionate about photography and is constantly taking pictures—she’s even started earning money from it. That’s her passion job. But she’s the breadwinner, so she still needs to be the attorney. 

    How career coaching can transform organizational culture

    Investing in career coaching can significantly enhance a company’s overall success, benefiting employees at all levels—from junior team members to top executives. 

    Often, managers are unaware of the internal struggles their colleagues face—personal or work-related—due to the hesitancy of being vulnerable. But a career coach provides a safe space for individuals to share their internal struggles openly.  

    Working with a coach can help employees feel validated, enabling them to confront their inner critic and cultivate comfort, confidence, and happiness. Employees can become infinitely more productive by transforming their internal dialogue. 

    A career coach can also support employees in developing their emotional intelligence and social skills. They can cultivate a coaching philosophy within the company, breeding managers who embody coaching principles.   

    Incorporating career coaching into your company's culture promotes individual growth and resilience. It contributes to an empathetic and empowered workforce, ultimately paving the way for sustained success at the organizational level.

    Learn how coaching and therapy can enhance leadership skills to build effective leaders.

    About the Author
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    Anna Cuneo
    Spring Health Coach

    Anna Cuneo is a Certified Life Coach with 30+ years of diverse experience in human resources, community service, and entrepreneurship. Passionate about positive psychology practices, her optimism and authenticity shines through in daily interactions. From Fortune 500 company Morgan Stanley to community leadership, Anna's journey spans talent development, employee initiatives, and strategic planning. She co-founded Eventastic Parties, showcasing her detail-oriented approach, time management, and relationship-building abilities. Accredited by the International Coaching Federation, she holds Executive and Life Coaching certifications from Mentor Coach LLC and is pursuing ADHD coaching certification.

    About the clinical reviewer
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