What it's like to chat with a career coach

In one word: inspiring (which seems like an obvious answer, but I guess that depends on the coach's effectiveness.)

This year I decided to participate in the New Leaders Council (NLC) fellowship, which is essentially a training program for future progressive leaders. One of our workshops was "Finding your Why" by Elaine Lou Cartas, and she shared her story of how and why she decided to become a career coach (primarily but not limited to first generation millenial females.) After her talk she offered a 30-minute strategy session, and I was interested because I had never spoken with a career coach, so I decided to sign up.

The closest thing I've had to a career coach was career services at my law school, but they are definitely more concerned with my class' employment statistics than whether I'm happy at my job. I am grateful that career services did open up opportunities such as my 1L and 2L summer internships, and how to apply for state jobs, but I feel like from now on it'll be my own personal connections that will open new pathways. This desire to make more meaningful connections and my curiosity about what I could gain from a career coach led me to making an appointment with Elaine and eventually following her "Fierce Gen tribe" on Facebook.
Before our video chat, Elaine sent me a form to fill out so that she could get a sense of what I wanted to talk about. I also sent her my blog post about my 30 goals before 30, and generally expected to chat about my career as an attorney and steps that I could take to be happier. I did briefly talk about that in the beginning of our conversation, but the conversation got more real as she asked challenging questions that made me think about what I really wanted to contribute to society and what obstacles  are getting in the way.

Throughout the chat, Elaine regularly asked, "what is the most important thing you got from talking about x topic?" This was not only a test of my listening skills, but made me critically analyze what and how I communicate. The conversation allowed me to really reflect on how I can make an impact, and helped pave an avenue to meaningfully network as a side-hustle. I don't aspire to save the planet, but I hope I can make improvements within the communities I'm involved in and plan to start by actually acting upon my "action items" and building upon the foundations of my current connections.

A month from now, I'll have contributed to a more progressive community, and I hope I'll have written a "thank you" card to Elaine for being a part of my path to a progressive lawyer and leader.


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