by Dr. Bonnie Snyder, Certified College Planning Specialist and author of The Unemployed College Graduate's Survival Guide: How to Get Your Life Together, Deal with Debt, and Find a Job After College and The New College Reality (F+W Media)
After thirteen years of K-12 education and four years of college, you probably thought your parenting job was over, and that your child should be off the family payroll. Instead, you may still have some work ahead of you in order to successfully launch your child into the full-time workforce.
To achieve the best results in the worst employment market since the Great Depression, don’t just sit on the sidelines hoping for the best. It’s time to get actively involved in your child’s job search. You’ll always be your child’s parent, but in terms of dealing with initial entry into the workforce, it might be helpful to take on a new role with your child: the role of “coach.”
People don’t just need coaching in the world of sports. Many highly successful people today use a “life coach” to push them to achieve important life goals. A good coach helps a client to set goals, develop a plan, and put the plan into action.
Coaching isn’t cheerleading. It’s also not about bossing your child around. It’s about agreeing on a plan and sticking to it. To be most effective, you will want to formalize the process by writing down the job-hunting strategies you decide upon, so that everything is spelled out clearly. This is a powerful way of keeping things organized, positive, and productive.
A central aspect of any coaching relationship is holding the person-being-coached accountable for taking action. Establish regular career chat times. These discussions don’t have to be long, but they do have to be focused and purposeful. Each time you review the written plan, check on your child’s progress. Stay calm if your child occasionally fails to accomplish certain tasks. This becomes an opportunity to discuss what happened and to discover strategies for overcoming life’s inevitable setbacks and obstacles.
It’s okay to make necessary adjustments along the way, but you must hold your child accountable and keep moving forward together, taking some action daily. Being a coach is a more adult way of “parenting” your job-hunting child. If you have the means, you can consider hiring a professional career coach but with determination, any committed parent can develop effective coaching skills to assist with a difficult job search.