Why Would I Need a Career Coach? I Work in Higher Education!

By | June 6, 2023

If you work in higher education, you are probably already a pretty successful person, and have some pretty good ideas about where you want to go in life. Teaching positions require graduate education, and many administrative posts also require at least a master’s degree.

You’re also surrounded by many great resources, including experienced colleagues, supervisors, and even students who help inspire and motivate you. Teaching and advising are activities that stir your soul, as well as your mind. You are periodically, if not frequently, reminded of your purpose, and you probably have more opportunities than some to pursue your academic and professional interests.

So why would you need a career coach? Aren’t you already smart enough to help yourself? Can’t you connect with plenty of people who can help you, who won’t charge you a fee?

Honestly, on some levels, the answers lean toward an argument against spending your time and money for a professional coach. But these answers are also mostly likely arrived at upon a surface-level examination of your life and career, and a certain level of buy-in to some stereotypes and expectations that society applies to being a member of the faculty.

Look a little deeper, and you may discover some very compelling reasons to consider coaching.

First and foremost, getting a coach doesn’t say anything about your intellectual ability. Plenty of really smart people work with coaches to keep them accountable, help them achieve work/life balance, and set and meet personal and professional goals. Prominent CEOs hire coaches. Corporations do, too. In fact, many corporations are hiring in-house coaches to help their employees be more satisfied with their lives and careers and more balanced in their lives.

Second, it’s true that you have friends, colleagues, your supervisor, and your students to help and support you. But can these people dedicate the time and personal attention to you that you need? Will they commit to your personal success over their own needs or the needs of the department or institution? Will they support your personal and professional development, even if it means taking you away from your job, your staff and students, or the institution? Will they keep your concerns, aspirations and goals confidential? Will they hold you accountable for meeting your goals, or do they have their own things to worry about?

Getting a coach is a great way to put your dreams, goals, and even your barriers out there, and to explore them. It’s an investment in your success. It’s also a great way to hold yourself accountable in meeting your goals, so that you can achieve them.

So maybe the question isn’t “Why do I need a career coach?,” but instead “Don’t I deserve one?”