The transformation of the world of work has made careers more fragmented and less predictable than ever before.
Occupations and positions may change several times during the lifespan of a career, and this may be due as much to the individual's own wishes as to external pressures on the employer. The world of work demands speed and continuous learning, pushing many to their limits while at the same time entertaining the idea of longer careers.
Change often requires effort – even when it comes from within."
Johanna Koskinen, who works as a career coach at Aalto EE, believes it’s high time we rethink our perception of career paths and professional development. Everyone should reassess, from time to time, their relationship to work, learning, and professional renewal.
But change often requires effort – even when it comes from within. That's why the help provided by a career coach is invaluable. A career coach supports the individual in the process, helping them see the opportunities and career paths ahead.
"A career coach acts as a mirror or sounding board for the employee, helping to identify their personality traits, professional skills, motivation, and aspirations."
Designing your career path
Newspaper business sections have recently been dominated by news of companies initiating change negotiations.
From the employers, this requires up-to-date information and knowledge so that they can support their personnel in the best possible way, a requirement also mandated by the legislation on change security, which obliges employers to provide coaching, training, or education aiming for re-employment of employees who have been dismissed due to economic reasons. Aalto EE offers a wide range of services also for these scenarios.
"There are usually a number of factors that contribute to the termination of employment. Handling these situations in a professional and correct manner benefits both the dismissed employees and the remaining staff,” Koskinen emphasizes.
Career coaching at Aalto EE employs Design Your Career methods, which can be applied to organizational job design, clarifying teamwork practices, and identifying individual career scenarios. The goal is to help participants discover creative solutions for building sustainable careers.
The goal of career coaching is to find a solution that best fits each individual’s current situation, says Koskinen. Photo: Johnny Jussila / Aalto EE
"The Design Your Career mindset encourages people to design diverse career paths and make informed choices that are aligned with their values, passions, strengths, and goals," says Laura Sivula, Business Area Director of Lifewide Learning at Aalto EE.
A career coach is a companion on your journey
Offering career coaching to employees should not be seen as just a requirement but also as something responsible companies do to enhance their staff's wellbeing.
It’s worth considering whether a company could send a person not just on a course but also to talk with a career advisor and thus offer wider opportunities for upskilling.
Discussions with a career coach are always confidential.
For some, three coaching sessions may suffice; others may need six months. The key is what happens between the meetings, as the concrete steps are always the individual's responsibility. The coach is first and foremost a companion on the journey: they don’t make decisions for the client but act as a reliable sparring partner and supporter.
Wellbeing at work increases productivity
The need for career coaching isn't limited to dismissal situations. More and more people are asking themselves at some point in their careers whether their job is meaningful and exactly what they're best at. Career coaching offers concrete tools and tailored support for these situations.
If people know what they are doing and enjoy their work, their output-input ratio is much higher."
“The goal is to find a solution that best fits each individual’s current situation,” says Koskinen.
It is in companies' interests to consider the wellbeing, work ability and job satisfaction of their staff – also from productivity perspective. Career coaching is one way of doing this.
"If people know what they are doing and enjoy their work, their output-input ratio is much higher than if they are allowed to exhaust or get bored at work," says Koskinen.
Sometimes the solution can be found in a new role within the same company; other times, it’s better to look elsewhere for a new alternative. A new path can also be found through training or entrepreneurship.
It's not enough to polish your resume
The key to career coaching is relevance, Koskinen stresses. The focus is determined by what the client feels is important and most beneficial to them.
“Career coaching is not a one-size-fits-all service, and it’s certainly not just about polishing documents. The documents needed to apply for a job are important, but they alone will not solve anything. Tailoring and applicability are always key."
It all starts with going through your personal and work history. According to Koskinen, younger generations excel here as they are accustomed to analyzing their strengths. They’ve also been notably adept at considering the overall meaning and role of work in their lives.
Change is always an opportunity – and a career coach can help you see more clearly what opportunities it brings along."
“Young people have more room to try out new things than older individuals, who have all sorts of obligations and commitments. But it’s not impossible for anyone.”
The hardest thing for many people, says Koskinen, is to articulate their own motivation factors. Sometimes, the coach's job is to encourage the client to recognize aspects they are afraid to see in themselves, or to challenge, question, and test them. This depends on the person and what their expectations are.
“Feet on the ground, head in the clouds is a good principle,” Koskinen concludes.
Change is always an opportunity – and a career coach can help you see more clearly what opportunities it brings along.
Aalto EE and its predecessors have offered executive education for over 50 years. Our comprehensive service solutions focus on laid-off employees and providing the best possible support for their rapid re-employment. Our career coaches help employees clarify goals, make career plans, and find the best career options. Read more about our services in adjustment and lay-off situations