Need More Career Coaching? How To Approach Your Manager
As a job seeker, it’s difficult enough to find a job, impress the hiring manager during the interview process, and receive a job offer. Now new data shows that job seekers who are able to break into an industry are having the added difficulty of adapting to larger workloads rationed between fewer workers without a career coach.
A survey of 501 Australian office professionals found 93 percent believe a good career coach is crucial to job satisfaction; however, one in four surveyed say they have never received career coaching from their direct manager, and 16 percent say they only receive coaching annually.
If you’re a job seeker who recently landed new work, you understand the importance of getting off on the right foot in your new workplace. But asking a manager for additional help can be a daunting task, especially because you don’t want to appear incompetent, needy or bothersome.
To get the career coaching you need and deserve, follow these tips:
Remember Your Manager Is Stressed, Too
Whether you’re on deadline, buried in briefings or in need of extra help, it’s easy to put your needs first and forget that your co-workers and bosses are stressed, too. In fact, your manager is probably the most stressed person in your office. A recent study found that the average manager is racking up nine weeks of unpaid overtime a year, or 90 minutes a day. The added workload caused one in five surveyed to suffer from depression and 42 percent to suffer from stress in the past year.
When approaching your manager to ask for career coaching, plan accordingly. It’s never ideal to wait to ask for the coaching you need, but if your manager is working on a huge project, you may need to wait to schedule a meeting. Drop him a note using his preferred method of contact letting him know that you’d like to schedule a meeting when his schedule calms down. Be specific with how long the meeting should be, and give your manager a few dates and times you’re available for the meeting.
Know What You Want and How What You Want Aligns
If you were approaching your manager to ask him for a raise, you wouldn’t enter the meeting without specific numbers in mind. In the same sense, when approaching your manager to ask for more career coaching, you should always have specific tactics in mind.
Before entering the meeting, think carefully about what it is you want and need to help you perform your role. Perhaps you want your manager to spend 30 minutes with you each Friday afternoon to review your progress for the week. Or maybe you just need one week of intensive training with your manager to be prepared to excel in your job. Tell your manager what you think will help you learn best and explain that your new role is vital to the company’s bottom line. He’ll appreciate that you’ve carefully crafted a solution without being asked.
If you have done some additional homework, you may uncover a new initiative your manager is working on which may require new skills. Can you align your coaching request to meet the needs of that new initiative? In this manner, your coaching request helps you and your manager — it is always good to have common agendas.
Speaking one-on-one with a manager can cause some anxiety, but remember when the meeting is over, the career coaching is just beginning. Don’t just run from your manager’s back to your cubicle and avoid eye contact for the next two weeks. Follow up!
When the meeting is over, make sure you leave with a clear idea of when the coaching will begin and send your manager an email or drop by his office within the next few days to express your excitement about your progress. Your obvious enthusiasm will help keep your manager interested in the project and may inspire him to pursue coaching others in your workplace.
Have you ever asked a manager for more career coaching? What are some tips you can share with other professionals?