Is there an ideal candidate or does one become one in the workplace?
In short - the ideal candidate does not exist.
Every newly hired colleague has to go through an onboarding process, and encounter certain unknowns, new tools and systems that they haven't used before - but it's all something that is learned.
After the onboarding process, the new employee is expected to become more independent in his work, take initiative, manage his career path and seek new opportunities for advancement within the company.
According to a survey conducted by TalentLMS and Workable on a sample of 1,200 employees in the IT sector in America, 9 out of 10 developers want additional opportunities for learning and career development within the company they work for, and even 62% of them said that learning new skills and training make them more motivated to work.
And while the development of technical skills and learning to work with new tools are processes that are already established in a large number of tech companies, the development of employees in a career sense is not so much.
Endava recognized this and introduced a career coaching program that supports employees in defining and achieving further goals in their career.
Has the program achieved the desired results and to what extent?
According to the internal research they conducted, which included 110 newly employed colleagues of different seniority, more than 90% of them pointed out that the career coach was their support at the very beginning, helped them see how the company works and what are the opportunities for career development within companies.
On the other hand, those who have been in Endava's ranks for some time state that one of the biggest benefits of this program is the career coach's support in achieving the set goals in their professional development.
What does career coaching look like in the IT industry?
Career coaching programs are created with the goal that all employees have enough opportunities to learn and develop new skills when moving to new projects or after starting work in a new company.
In most companies, it works by having each employee receive their own career coach (hereafter referred to as CC), who helps them see the bigger picture or gives them another, non-project perspective on opportunities for development in the company.
In practice, this means that the CC directs the couched how to progress from one position to another or, if desired, completely change the discipline in which he works.
Together with him, the employee (coached) defines short-term and long-term goals, improves technical knowledge, but also soft skills necessary for further development.
The program begins upon the employee's arrival at the company or upon transfer to a new project/position within the company:
● Onboarding phase – CC introduces the new employee to the responsibilities of his position, as well as to the Career Development System where he will monitor his career development.
● Employment phase - in this phase CC and employees have a minimum of once a month 1 on 1 meetings where they discuss further opportunities for development. CC helps them achieve their goals for learning new skills and work together to find a solution to any challenges the employee faces.
During the entire process, the CC is in close communication with everyone who has an impact on the employee's work, such as his Line Manager, Project Manager and members of the HR team.
What does career coaching look like in practice?
Primarily, career coaching works on the development of technical knowledge.
The CC is responsible for directing his coached to where he can find the right resources to learn and practice new skills.
As a Java developer, I had no contact with the infrastructure and the very way of building and testing the code. With the recommendation of a large number of quality materials that I received from CC, I learned a lot and later used that knowledge on a project for a client. - Luka Mrdak, Developer (coached)
In addition to directing the coached where and how to learn new skills, the CC is the one who needs to recognize the turning points - whether the coached is going too broad or too detailed when learning new skills, as well as whether the coached is demotivated or he needs an additional incentive to solve the potential problems he faces.
In order to follow through on that, the CC and the coached have regular, longer meetings where they work on an overview of what has been done and make a plan for the next period, discuss problems, interests, and the like.
Although the development of technical skills is the main focus - career coaching covers a much wider area than that.
Career coaching involves the development of soft skills such as good definition and setting of goals, independence in work, communication with clients, freedom of opinion and taking the initiative.
Well-developed soft skills ensure that the employee has enough resources and self-confidence to master new skills in record time.
The main things I learned through the program are the importance of setting and planning goals and determining the deadlines and dynamics of achieving those goals. - Luka Mrdak, Developer (coached)
By comparing technical skills and soft skills, Luka, as a coached, progressed from a practitioner to a Developer position in two years - and currently, together with CC, he is working on raising his rank to a Senior developer position.
What makes a good Career Coach?
Now that we know what career coaching looks like in practice, what qualities should a CC possess in order to influence the development of his coached?
- He does not solve the problems of his coached
A good CC does not solve all problems for his coached, but directs him to face problems independently and come up with solutions in his own way.
The very goal of the program is for the coached to become independent enough to take the initiative in meetings, give constructive solutions and feel confident enough to express his opinion.
2. He is aware that every coached is different
Each coached is different, which means that the approach of each coached must be different.
A good coach needs to find a common language with each coached, in order to establish mutual trust - which forms the basis on which all further advice will be taken with greater weight.
3. It helps the coached to set clear goals
In order for the coached to reach his goals, they must be clearly defined, with realistic deadlines for their achievement.
When the goals are clearly set, it is easier for the coached to reach them.
The coach is certainly there to monitor the process, point out the possible need to change goals or set different deadlines, in case of unforeseen situations.
4. He is available to his coached
In addition to regular meetings where they record the development process of the coached, although it is not mandatory, it is desirable for the coach to set aside time for shorter meetings with the coached to exchange information such as interesting lectures, opportunities to obtain certificates or interesting events.
Although it seems like a lot of time - for coaches, it usually does not interfere with other daily duties.
5. Learn together with your coached
The best coaches learn and work on themselves together with their coached.
No matter how experienced we are in the field we work in - teaching brings out qualities in us that we may not have been aware of. At some point, every coach will come across some things that he is not familiar with, he will realize some flaw in himself that he was not aware of until now.
That is why it is important that the coach, first of all, recognizes this opportunity as an opportunity to work on oneself and acquire new skills and knowledge.
As a CC, I have the opportunity to recognize in myself the possibility for advancement through the conversation with the students, because often some of my coached 's interests are transferred to me. - Ivan Toškov, Senior Developer
Career coaching - a shortcut to career goals?
From all of the above, we can conclude that the launch of the Career Coach program in Endava has given good and positive results - and who knows, maybe that is the solution for other companies that want to help their employees achieve their career within the company.
In March 2022, Endava organized a Career Coaching Week event at the regional level dedicated to sharing knowledge about Career Coaching. 12 Endava career coaches participated in the series of lectures and panel discussions, and the fact that each session was attended by an average of 400 employees from the Adriatic region shows how much internal interest there is in this topic.
The events were held under the slogan "When we grow others, we grow ourselves" - which is the main message of career coaching, and perhaps the answer to the faster development of the IT community in this region.
Do you want to have your own career coach and a defined career path? Endava is looking for new talent, view open positions and apply today!