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Career Coach: The perfect guide for a successful career

From an early age, we all ask, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” The answer inevitably evolves, beginning as youthful longings of becoming an astronaut or princess and later transforming to a more mature occupation. With such a question comes the matter of attainment: What are my career options? Is there special training involved? How do I secure the appropriate connections in my job? Even if already employed, a career coach can be the perfect guide for any successful career.

Career Coach

What Does a Career Coach Do?

A career coach is a professional who offers expert career advice. They are specially trained to identify a client’s strengths and then build on proficiencies to help people plan a career path. While working together, a career coach is like a personal cheerleader. They provide tips on creating an attractive resume and cover letter, locating job opportunities, and how to optimally respond to interviews. For clients that are already employed, a career coach advises on improving a work environment and earning promotions. The plan is tailored to the exact needs of the client. 

They differ from career counselors. Their focus is not solely on academics, as they consider all aspects of a client’s life. This includes not only strengths, but interests, values, and support system too.

Signs You Need a Career Coach

The backgrounds of those seeking a career coach are diverse. Clients come from numerous employment situations, varying in education level and socioeconomic status. However, the one commonality is they all desire a successful career, yet do not feel empowered with resources to reach their goals. Hiring one is nothing to be ashamed of. Here are signs you should consider one:

  • You’re unemployed
  • You’re anxious about the future
  • You feel unfulfilled
  • You’re tired of job hopping
  • You want a promotion
  • You have job stress
  • You dread going to work
  • You have poor lifestyle habits (i.e. unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, not sleeping)
  • You are unsure how to navigate a new job position
  • You need unbiased advice
  • You’re unprepared for an interview

Average Cost of a Career Coach

Don’t you prefer to get paid for your hard work? Career coaching is someone’s profession, so logically, sessions are not free. The cost varies depending on the needs of the client, the number of sessions scheduled, and the length of each session. The coach’s previous experience and credentials impact the cost as well. On average, a two-hour session can range from $75 to $250.
 
Most cannot accomplish their career goals in a single session. Multiple sessions are optimal to build a lasting relationship with your coach. Some have monthly services instead. Monthly packages are between $450 and $2,500. Group rates are less expensive. Remember, a career coach is an investment. You contribute time, effort, and resources to further your professional career.

How Can a Career Coach Improve Your Career Options?

Maybe you know what you want to do with your life, but you are struggling to execute a plan. Or perhaps your aspirations are undiscovered and necessitate direction. A career coach is helpful in either situation. They can expand your career opportunities through the following tasks:

Goal Formation and Tracking

Goal formation is the crucial to meeting with a career coach. If you are already certain of your goals, a career coach ensures they are specific, attainable, and realistic. They increase your sense of accomplishment by dividing your goals into long-term and short-term. Just because you are not reaching your end goal immediately, you are still showing progress. Career coaches track this progress.

There are clients who are unsure of their goals. A career coach uses a series of vocational tests which determine the client’s interests and skills. The client then chooses career options based on their strengths.

Assisting in the Job Seeking Process

A career coach has a role in the job seeking process. They research the current market for career opportunities and facilitate networking for their clients. Networking creates connections for future occupational promotions or opportunities.

Enhancing Resumes

A career coach understands how imperative an impeccable resume is to establish a career. Essentially, your resume is your first impression with your future employers. While they do not draft the entire resume, they teach clients the skills to do so. They are available for editing and proofreading and for suggestions on additional details that will enhance your resume.

Advising On Employment Related Conflicts

Conflict is part of working with others. Every employee is bound to encounter controversy of one form, but a career coach strives to reduce problems in the workplace—specifically those involving human resources. With an improved work environment, companies can focus on expanding job positions.  

Advocating for Clients with Differences

Clients who suffer from a disability or another adversity benefit from an advocate like a career coach. A career coach promotes the client to the intended employer. By depicting how their client would be an asset, employers see their value. Career coaches with an interest in disability negotiate job positions for their clients who require accommodations.

CogniFit Brain Training: Trains and strengthens essential cognitive abilities in an optimal and professional way.

Personal Benefits of a Career Coach

The benefits of a career coach are not entirely confined to your professional career. They extend into your personal life too. During your sessions with a career coach, you practice leadership, communication skills, and conflict management. These are the kinds of people skills which carry over into your relationships in daily life. As you grow as a person, you gain emotional intelligence to effectively express your emotions and respond to others with empathy.

How A Career Coach Relieves Anxiety

Lacking direction in your professional life leads to significant anxiety. You fear for the future not knowing your purpose, and each rejection is a blow to your self-esteem. Job stress is hindering you from feeling fulfilled in your current career situation. Career coaches relieve anxiety by providing clarity to your worries. By advising on a plan to reach your goals, you can overcome setbacks of rejection and implement actions to change aspects of discontentment in your job position.  

Career Coaching While Currently Employed

As previously mentioned, a career coach is not solely for the unemployed. For clients interested in pursuing a different career, they counsel clients on how to properly search for a new job while already employed.

Career coaching is advantageous even for those who have a stable job with a reputable company. If you seem to be stagnant in your current position, advice from a career coach can lead to a promotion and/or a raise in salary. A career coach aims to help clients make the most out of developing opportunities in their present career.

Employers ranking high within a company profit from career coaching. They discuss what goals they have for the company, and the career coach proposes which employees have the attributes to contribute to those goals.

Preparing for A Career Coach Session

It is important to note that a career coach does not do the work for you. Their job is to equip you with the resources and guidance to achieve your goals. For career coaching to be successful, you have to be willing to set aside the time, energy, and dedication. Knowing what to expect from a career coaching session makes the process less overwhelming. There are steps you can take to prepare.

Preparing for A Career Coach Session

Tell Your Story

The foundation of a career coach’s work is the client’s story. What is your background? What inspired your passions? Be ready to dive into the nitty-gritty details with complete honesty. Your career coach cannot assist you in your goals if they do not know the real you.

Prepare Your Resume

Arriving at your first session with a completed resume is a good indicator you are seriously committed to furthering your career. Your resume and cover letter are a reasonable starting point for the session because it is a reflection of how you are marketing yourself to employers.

Generate a List of Questions

Initially, meeting with a career coach is overwhelming while contemplating multiple thoughts, ideas, and plans for your career. The main topics you wish to address are easily disorganized. Although your coach is prepared to surmount any beginning obstacles, think about what you want out of your coaching. Generating a list of questions lends structure to the session and guarantees none are accidentally neglected. For example:

  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my weaknesses?
  • Do I have passions and interests?
  • How can I incorporate my interests into a career?
  • What past jobs have I liked the most? The least?
  • What does a successful career look like to me?
  • What are my goals?
  • Which aspects of my current job to I dislike?

Maintain Realistic Expectations

Rome wasn’t built in a day, or so the saying goes. The same applies to your career goals. It’s unlikely your career goals will come to fruition in a day. Do not attend your coaching session with unrealistic expectations. You won’t leave your first session with your dream job, but you can return home with empowering resources and hope of a satisfying future.

Finding a Career Coach

Not every career coach is for you. While searching for a coach, keep your goals at the forefront of your mind. Find a coach that aligns with those goals and meshes with your personality. You must feel comfortable with your coach to have productive coaching sessions.

Contact associations and organizations you are affiliated with to find a career coach. Educational facilities are also equipped for career coaching recommendations because they are trained to assist students in kickstarting their careers. Try college career offices near your area.

Coaches receive certification through the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARCC) and the International Coaches Federation (ICF). Browsing the online databases gets you one step closer to the career of your dreams.

Non-Native Accent in the Job: The Problems

In a world that is becoming smaller and smaller, a mix of different cultures becomes more prevalent in our job and also our private life. For this reason, being exposed to peers speaking in a non-native accent has become very natural. Especially prominent are non-native accents in English, as this is considered the universal language of communication nowadays. With the trend of the world becoming a smaller and smaller place, so increases the number of people speaking with a non-native accent. Foreign languages and accents gain more importance especially in the job sector which we generally consider a positive development. However, evaluating the psychological burdens of placing a non-native speaker in an environment of native speakers is a necessity. Especially large are the problems of discrimination. Although the judging of people based on physical characteristics has decreased, foreign accents are still used as a way to discriminate certain cultures.

 What is a non-native accent?

A non-native accent is described to have a different pronunciation of vowels and consonants, and a difference in stress and tone is seen when compared to a native accent. The speaker with the non-native accent often applies some of the rules and sounds of his native language. If a sound in the second language is not present in the speaker’s native language, that phoneme will be substituted by the most similar phoneme in the native language causing it to sound different in the second language. Though individuals with a foreign accent are very proficient in that language, the accent is what remains and is not easily lost after a developmental window has closed. Until puberty, an individual is able to learn a foreign language and at the same time acquire the native accent. However, for any language that is acquired later in life, the non-native accent is almost impossible to get rid of. Nevertheless, the ease of obtaining a native accent in a foreign language also depends on the years the person has lived in the foreign country and how similar the phonemes are to the native language.

Typically, native speakers find it fairly easy to spot a person talking in a non-native accent and to them, it is perceived as foreign or even “wrong”.  According to United Nations reports, today more than 232 million people live in a country different from the country they were born in.

Brain areas involved when speaking in a non-native accent

Learning a new language is highly recommended for anyone. According to a Swedish study, a brain scan of adults learning a foreign language and therefore speaking in a non-native accent revealed increases of gray matter in language-related brain regions. Depending on how well they performed in learning the foreign language and their efforts they put in, their brain areas developed differently. The most profound observation was the growth of the hippocampus and three other brain areas to be associated with better language learning. Even though this study only took into account short-term changes, there is no doubt a more developed brain through learning languages will be beneficial for older ages. One of the benefits, for instance, is the later onset of Alzheimer’s in multilingual compared to monolinguals.

A different study looked at brain activity when native English or native Japanese were asked to identify between the English /r/ and /l/. From experience, we know native Japanese speakers to have trouble differentiating between these two particular English phonemes. Also in the study, the Japanese speakers had problems differentiating and producing the two phonemes. The reason for this was found to be a difference in activity of specific brain regions when comparing the two groups. These areas are responsible for the perception of speech.

Non-native accent: The problems of discrimination in the job

With an influx of immigrants, the selection of foreign potential employees of a company becomes bigger as well. Discrimination of minorities is unfortunately still commonplace. A correlation between physical appearance and employability is often observed. However, we should not only look at visual markers but also direct our attention to the several non-native accents of the immigrants when they learn a foreign language. In short, the question is whether discrimination only happens on the physical level or if we are prone to judging people depending on their non-native accents.

A study has looked at this question and conducted an experiment with five groups (Mexican speakers, Indian speakers, Chinese speakers, American speakers and British speakers), each speaking in a particular non-native English accent. They were asked to attend a job interview over the phone. Each group prepared a short sentence containing identical words they had to recite. Obviously, the pronunciation of the individual words due to their accent differed depending on the group. Managers were then asked to listen to each sentence and subsequently evaluate how probable it would be for them to hire each employee based on the sentence they were hearing. Most surprisingly, even the sentence was only different in pronunciation and not content, a speaker with a non-native accent was less likely to be hired than a speaker with a native accent (which was, in this case, an American accent). Nevertheless, one observation was striking: The British speaker group was more likely to be selected by the managers when compared to the native group.
This shows a tendency to discriminate employees whose country is not as highly developed as America. If a person emigrates from a country that enjoys a similar economic status, that same person is not discriminated, in this case, the British group.

In another paper, we see a preference to cooperate with peers speaking the same accent rather than a person talking in a non-native accent.
The results of both studies suggest not only discrimination to happen on a physical level, but also in language. It is a problem which should definitely be considered and tackled as the job recruitment process should not take into account non-native accents if the applicant is able to communicate as well as his native peers. Often, however, the decision to reject a speaker with a non-native accent is made subconsciously with the employer being unaware why the applicant with the foreign accent did not happen to fit into the profile.

Why are non-native accents difficult for our brain?

One possible reason employers might discriminate non-native accent employees has to do with the credibility of the speaker. The manager perceives the employee with the foreign accent to be less credible as he is speaking. This is explained by cognitive fluency referring to the ease with which the brain processes stimuli. If a foreign accent is heard, cognitive fluency is reduced resulting in a more difficult processing of the person receiving the message from the speaker. We see a similar phenomenon in the stock market. Psychologists have shown shares with an easy-to-pronounce name to outperform shares with a hard-to-pronounce name. Similarly, if factual statements are manipulated to be processed easier (writing it in an easier-to-read font), the receivers’ judgment of the statement changes. Cognitive fluency, therefore, plays a crucial role in decision-making suggesting that the employer selecting a native speaker in favor of a non-native speaker cannot really be blamed for his decision.

Ways to reduce prejudices against non-native accent speakers

We might be aware of racial segregation considering physical appearance or religion of an individual. However, it is of paramount importance to add foreign accents to the list of factors contributing to racism. Experiencing racism using non-native accents compared to physique or race is however much more subtle. Judging foreign accents is very subjective (one person considers a foreign accent as very pronounced whereas another person might experience the same person to have only a marginal non-native accent). As a consequence, in real life situations as in the job sector, it becomes challenging to know whether a person’s foreign accent indeed contributed to discrimination. Nevertheless, as the studies have shown, a non-native accent leads to changes how an employer might think about a foreign applicant. As the prevalence of non-native accents is going to increase, we need to be aware of this problem and at best develop strategies to view everyone equally based on their accent. Here are a few things you can do when communicating with a person who is difficult to understand because of his or her non-native accent:

  • Do not pretend to understand the foreign speaker. Instead, ask the person to slow down his speech if you have difficulty catching his or her words.
  • At the same time, you should speak slowly too. This benefits the receiver with the non-native accent to pick up the sounds more easily.
  • Don’t raise your voice. You might think you are speaking too quiet, however, it is most likely not a problem of speech volume, but simply that the foreign speaker is not used to the different pronunciation.
  • If the accent of the person is too strong to understand the message, don’t act rude! It might come across impolite to say “Hey, I don’t understand you!” Instead, ask them to repeat the sentence.
  • But most importantly, focus on the content of the message! Do not waste time evaluating how the pronounced words of the non-native speaker sound.

Do you have a non-accent experience you would like to share? Please feel free to comment below!

Self-control: Learn what it is and how to handle it to succeed

Do you feel that your lack of self-control prevents you from achieving your goals? Do you feel that you can’t handle your anxiety or anger? Do you have problems controlling your emotions, thoughts, or impulses? Would you like to improve your self-control or that of someone you love? If your answer is yes, this article on what is self-control, techniques to improve self-control might interest you.

Self-control

What is self-control?

Self-control is the ability that allows us to control our emotions, our impulsive behavior, and impulses,  allowing us to reach our goals and objectives. Self-control is necessary to successfully perform most of the facets of our life, such as studying, working, educating, maintaining our relationships.

We could say that self-control is like a thermostat whose function is to maintain our balance and stability, both internally and externally. When it works properly, it helps us control the impulses and desires that keep us from our goals. For example, if you want to pass an exam, you need to stay at home studying. For this, you must control the impulse to go out and see your friends. Another example would be to tell your boss everything he does wrong and how he causes you job stress but in order to keep your job, you need self-control.

The importance of self-control

It has been proven that people with high self-control are often the most successful people in life. Researchers found that people with greater self-control may have brains that function more efficiently. This suggested that those with self-control may have extra willpower because it takes them less effort to exert it.This is due to the influence emotions have on the decision-making process and how they also guide our behaviors, impulses and our lives.

The problem is that when we want something, we need to get it right away. When we don’t get it, we stress and experience negative emotions, making it difficult for us to handle our emotions or control our anger.

Self-control, therefore, is a complex cognitive process that requires the presence of other previous skills in order to develop. More specifically, before we can develop our self-control, we need to: Learn to identify our emotions, to understand them, and then to be able to control and regulate them, and with that, regulate our behavior. This gives you control to own your decisions, behaviors, and impulses, by this you will be able to decide how, where and when to channel them. In addition, we must learn to cope with other interfering aspects such as stress created by negative emotions and thoughts, which makes it much more complicated.

Difference between repression and self-control

It is important to keep in mind that self-control and repression are not the same, and are commonly confused. Self-control requires awareness of the emotions, understanding them and acting accordingly to manage and control them. On the other hand, when we talk about repression, we are referring to hiding the emotions, to eliminating them, not paying attention to them, and waiting for them to disappear as if by magic, which won’t happen.

Here is an example for you to better understand what we mean: “You are feeling angry and you think that you would hit anything that was within your reach, but you can’t do it at that moment and you must control yourself”. For this, you can follow two paths:

  • Self-control strategy: To become aware of what you are feeling, accept it, and try to create an opposite emotion through strategies such as the evocation of quiet memories, or distracting yourself with anything that reduces the intensity of the emotion. This helps reduce your impulses and increase your self-control.
  • Repression strategy: Tighten your fists, without being aware of what is happening to you, and think constantly about hitting something until it would be destroyed.

The difference between the two terms is evident, just as the effects each generate. For this reason, in this article, we not only want to teach you not to let yourself be driven by your impulses but also to manage them properly.
If an emotion, such as anger, becomes trapped inside us, without being able to understand and regulate it, that anger and fury will take over our thoughts and behaviors. It will make us irritable making it very difficult to reach our goals. Instead, if we can control the anger we feel at a given moment, our mood will change, making it easier for us to achieve our goals.
Here are the key steps that will help you improve your self-control. This is not a simple task, which is learned in a day but requires patience, effort, dedication and time to develop.

Self Control: Identifying your emotions

As we have been saying throughout the article, the key to handling our impulses lies in the control, understanding, and management of our emotions and thoughts.

The problem is that on many occasions we are not aware of the repercussions that this can have when managing or controlling our impulses. We run the risk that our emotions and thoughts take control of our behavior, moving us further away from our goals. Let’s not forget that our emotions are also related to the quality of the decisions we make each day.

For this reason, it is important that we learn to identify our emotions and become aware of them. If we succeed, we will have taken the first great step towards our self-control. We can say that there are two types of emotions: Primary emotions and secondary emotions.

  • The primary emotions are universal (joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, surprise), and most people are able to identify them without much trouble. We know their physical manifestations perfectly and what they mean when we feel them. For example, when we are happy our body seeks positive experiences, and when we are sad, our body disconnects.
  • Secondary emotions are more difficult to identify, as they are a result of several primary emotions, and their manifestations are not as obvious and clear.For this reason, it is necessary that you identify all your emotions and know what effect they have on our thoughts, behaviors and physical manifestations.

For this reason, it is necessary that you identify all your emotions and know what effect they have on our thoughts, behaviors and physical manifestations.

Once you have learned this, you will be able to understand what happens to you every moment and act accordingly. You will be able to have self-control, reduce intense emotions and handle and regulate the “negative physical waste” that certain emotions leave behind, such as anxiety. For example, anxiety arises from the combination of fear and guilt or shame. If we experience anxiety, we will be able to identify those thoughts that cause fear, guilt or shame, and we can work to change them. Thus, instead of not being able to control it, abandoning the first attempt and doing something that we don’t want, we can reduce the emotion, and successfully overcome the situation.

Self-control

Self Control: Learn to control your emotions

As we have been saying throughout the article, emotions play a strong role in self-control. If we can manage them, we will be able to control them, and therefore, we will be able to increase our self-control. Here are some tips to improve your self-control:

Identify and define the emotions you are feeling.

To do this, you can use a technique that I call “personal emotion book“. When you are in a situation that makes you feel an emotion that you find difficult to control, fill out the following questions in a small notepad:

  • What is the name of the emotion that I just felt?
  • What is the name of the emotion that I just felt?
  • What physical manifestations does it produce?
  • What thoughts did I have?
  • How have I dealt with the situation?

Writing this down will help you internalize it. In addition, you will have the possibility to consult it when you consider necessary.
On the other hand, it can also help you document all the different emotions that you experienced and how they manifest. Therefore, later you can compare with other emotions that are harder to identify.

Comprehend the emotions that you are feeling

To do this, you can use a technique that I call “Unravel the Enigma“. This should always be done when the “Personal Emotion Book” technique has been done previously.

In your notebook you will:

  • Make a list that includes the different circumstances that might have caused an emotion, and try to identify the one that triggered the emotional reaction.
  • Try to think what purpose did the emotion have and why did it appear.
    Think thoroughly about the whole experience and try to comprehend and accept it.

Regulate your emotions

This is the last step to achieving self-control. The task is to find other activities or ways to reduce emotional states and symptoms. It is about finding what you do well to regulate your emotions and your behaviors. Some tricks to regulate intense emotional states are

  1. If you find it difficult to create thoughts and emotions that compensate for the pain caused by an impulse that can’t be satisfied, one of the main tricks is to distance yourself from the situation. Try to distract yourself from it and it will be easier for you to reduce the stress it generates. For example, you can go out for a walk, or leave the place for a few minutes, until you feel ready to face it.
  2. Test yourself. Each experience is a good opportunity to learn to improve your self-control. Try to be aware of what happens inside you and around you in the different situations of your life. Pay attention to the different results you get by acting differently in several situations. You can similar chart to the one below and fill it for each situation.Make small records that reflect the situation that caused the emotion, what you thought and how you acted. This will help you identify those dysfunctional responses, and create new alternatives.
  3. Finally, it is very important to be patient, and that you understand that this is not an easy task, so you should not be frustrated while trying.
Self-control chart

If you follow these steps you will become closer to achieving self-control. This will help you develop a more balanced and happy life because remember that your happiness depends on the way you interpret and face reality, and that is something that is only in your hands.

Finally, I leave you with a video about self-control and long-term and short-term goals that could be very useful.

I hope you find this article useful. Feel free to leave a comment below!