Career Advice

5 Tips for Choosing a Career Coach

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If you’ve already made the decision to work with a Career Coach, you will want to get the most for your time and money. Your decision should be based on your needs (job search or all of the above). There is a bit of homework you should do before speaking with potential career coaches.

If you want to set yourself apart from everyone else and increase your chances of getting your dream job, you will need to choose the right coach for your needs. Here are some tips when choosing a coach:

1. Define Your Goals:

Even the best coach in the world cannot help you if you don’t have an idea of your needs and what you expect to get out of the arrangement. List your goals, think about the expected outcome, and be prepared to discuss your goals with each prospective coach that you interview. Some goals might include:

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  • Help with interview questions (answering and asking)
  • Improving your interview skills (including conducting mock interviews)
  • Reviewing your resume and updating as necessary (including multiple versions if needed)
  • Creating a job search plan (how you will spend your time in your search)

2. Do Your Homework:

Make sure you hire someone who has the right qualifications to help you. Research a potential list of coaches (your shortlist should contain at least 3-5 coaches you will interview).  Leverage the Internet for your research and reach out to friends, family, and former coworkers for recommendations (this is the best and safest source for your list).

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Look for experienced coaches who have the right educational background to help you (such as a degree in your career choice). Also, look for coaches who are certified or have other credentials that you can verify. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. Once you’ve got your list of potential coaches, you need to create your list of questions.  Again, leverage the Internet for this, but a potential list of questions might include:

  • How would you help me improve my (fill in the blanks here)?
  • Can you give me a list of references and referrals? (this is key to ensuring you don’t get scammed)
  • What is your coaching process?
  • Where do you see your clients (determine if you are more comfortable via phone, in person, or email – or all)
If you've already made the decision to work with a Career Coach, you will want to get the most for your time and money. Your decision should be based on your needs (job search or all of the above).Click To Tweet

3. Request a Free Initial Consultation:

It is not unreasonable to ask for a free initial consultation.  This will help you determine if the coach’s style and approach fit your comfort zone. It will also give you a point of comparison (as you compare the other short list of coaches).  If a coach refuses to give a free initial consultation, this could be a warning sign, but is certainly something you will need to consider when making your choice.

4. Agree on the Fees Upfront:

There is no easy way to determine if fees are reasonable.  Certainly comparing the suggested fees across the 3-5 coaches you interview will help.  Additionally, any guidance you can get from referrals will also help. Most importantly, you should have a full understanding of what you will receive (are there some deliverables such as updated resumes, interview questions, mock interview sessions, etc.?), the cost associated with any deliverables, the time (as in the number of hours) the coach will spend with you, any additional “hidden” or “extra” costs involved.  Don’t be shy, make sure your contract (and you should have a contract) has everything you need to give you comfort that your time and money will be well spent.

5. Take the Time to Make it Work:

Ask your coach about interview questions and techniques and how they will coach you so that you nail the interview. Your coach is there to help you, help them to do a great job.


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