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Dianne Bown-Wilson

in my prime

Chief Executive

Read more about Dianne Bown-Wilson

Book Review: Career coach by Corinne Mills


In today’s tumultuous working environment, who couldn’t use a career coach?

As we all need to recognise (with apologies to John Lennon), our career is what happens while we’re making other plans.
Job or retraining opportunities may pop up unexpectedly – as can redundancy or business failure. Qualifications change, skills need upgrading and our personal lives may become subject to shifting family or relationship pressures, work/life balance issues or increasing financial commitments.
Of course, a lot of that only amounts to context. At the coal face, we also need to consider where our career is going, what we would prefer it to look like, and when and how we intend to progress it.
These are big issues to wrestle with when we’re already working full-tilt in our current job, with all the challenges, rewards and irritations that it entails. Is it any wonder that finding the time and energy to devote to developing our career is well nigh impossible for most of us?
But this book is a great starting point for addressing the challenge. Written by one of the UK’s leading career coaches, it aims to “allow you direct access to career management techniques previously reserved for professional career consultants“.
The ultimate goal, meanwhile, is to “expand your career management capabilities, [by] supporting you in your career transition and developing [your] career resilience”.
Practical workbook
In essence, this is a practical workbook that takes the reader through a vast range of exercises in order to improve their self-knowledge and self-awareness. A further objective is to help people gain a greater understanding of their career situation and career capital, both current and future.
But in the process of doing that, I did feel the lack of what one obviously pays for when engaging a career coach ie the one-to-one human interaction that generates the motivation to do the exercises properly – if at all.
For example, an early exercise asks you to spend at least 20 minutes drawing a picture of your world, before spending more time analysing what your picture reveals. Well, it’s something I would do if a coach was right in front of me, but otherwise….?
Of course, it’s no fault of the book that you will only get out of it what you’re prepared to put in. In fact, it is a strength because, just as with one-to-one coaching, the onus is on the individual to do the work – the coach is just a guide and support.
And the book does provide an excellent framework if you are prepared to commit to investing real time and thought into it.
My only other criticism is that it could include more about some of the challenges and pitfalls inherent in today’s careers arena, particularly in view of the current long-term recession.
After all, a person can do everything possible on an individual basis to improve their career capital and prospects, but still fail to achieve their goals when faced with a highly competitive and sometimes hostile career environment.
  • The reviewer this time was Dianne Bown-Wilson, who is chief executive of in my prime, a consultancy specialising in the requirements of older workers.
  • If you’d like to read a book and pen a review for, please visit the book club page and choose one that appeals to you. Email [email protected] to get started.
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Dianne Bown-Wilson

Chief Executive

Read more from Dianne Bown-Wilson

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