Career Advice for Black Women Series, Part 4

Yes, You Need a Career Coach: The Return on Investing in Yourself


Most professionals find it extremely important to invest in career-advancing opportunities, such as networking events, summits, and workshops. Yet, one of the most valuable investments career women can make is one in themselves with a career coach. In the first three parts of our Women of Power career coaching series, Yes, You Need a Career Coach, we shared why you should consider investing in a career coach, ways to manage the relationship, and how to ask for what you want.

For the second to last part of this series, Marsha Haygood, Women of Power career coach, wants to make sure that you get the best return while investing in yourself.

If you were to ask Haygood what most women want to gain as a result of being coached she would most likely tell you that confidence is a highly sought after attribute. In the very first chapter of Haygood’s book, she urges women to always consider themselves a VIP, because “the first person you lead is you.” And, if you do not feel like VIP, a career coach can help you work on your confidence.

“Usually, you can hear it when people aren’t as confident. I ask them, ‘Who is it that they admire and why?’ And ‘Who is doing something that you want to do?’ Maybe not the actual career but you just admire them for something…and ‘What is it about them that makes you admire them?’ And then, we can go from there,” says Haygood.

Confidence doesn’t always come as naturally as most women would want it to. And, that’s why Haygood says that it is key to partner with someone who will help you identify what is of importance to you.

“It’s not what I think is important, it’s what you think is important, because that is what is going to give you confidence!” says Haygood.

Women can work with coaches to establish goals and implement strategies to become more confident, assertive, and yield the best results for themselves professionally.

“Let’s say you want to be more assertive and have more of a voice personally or professionally. There are going to be some things that you do in order for that to become your routine. And, we’re going to talk strategy on how to do that,” says Haygood.

A part of your strategy can be to be more conversational at work. That, in turn, will help you become more confident during meetings. Another part of your confidence-building routine can be to meet with co-workers about meeting agenda items before meetings. This will help you go into meetings with more insight and confidence.

“Maybe you’ll talk to a few people (this is what white men do) before the meeting so they have allies before they get in the room. You can ask people, ‘So, what do you think about that?’ And, it could be that they agree or don’t agree but at least you know that before you get into the room,” says Haygood.

Partnering with others in the workplace can seem like a big task but when you are open, it can help you more than you know it. Remember, investing in a career coach is about yielding the best results for yourself whether it is to be more confident in the workplace or to identify ways to move up strategically in your profession. In the final part of the series, we’ll be sharing how you can be coached for success, and transition from needing a coach to elevating in your career.