How to Find a Career Coach

Looking for a new job or trying to navigate your way to the next level in your career can be a daunting process. But here’s the good news: You don’t have to do it alone!

Whether you are looking for the perfect job, angling for a promotion or wondering if you should stay where you are or move on, a Career Coach is someone who will help you define and, ultimately, achieve your professional goals. Together, you’ll identify obstacles that may be holding you back and create new strategies for accomplishing objectives. And, perhaps most importantly, a Career Coach will keep you motivated and cheer you on as you strive for success.

But how do you find one? We’ve got more good news: The IAW website is a great resource for finding a Career Coach who is perfect for you. You can simply search for coaches using the keyword search bar on the IAW homepage. Filter the results by selecting the advanced search feature to locate one in your area so you can connect at a local chapter meeting. When networking at chapter meetings, IAW events or online, ask other members for their recommendations. And, don’t forget, IAW also hosts eCoaching webinars monthly; you can find the upcoming and on-demand webinars here.

We invited a few IAW members who are Coaches to share their tips and advice on what to look for and what to expect from a Career Coach as well as their tips for searching for the perfect Coach. Here’s what they had to say:

Denise M. Styer, PsyD, GLCC, Denise Styer Coaching & Consultation

According to Dr. Styer, a Career Coach can help you develop leadership skills create a stronger resume, guide you through the job application process and offer tips for how to best present yourself in an interview. Improving your networking capabilities is also something a Career Coach can help with. “Networking is so valuable in meeting people and expanding your reach,” she says. “Many find networking to be intimidating. A Coach can help teach you how to network and how to present yourself when doing so.”

If you are starting your own business, a Coach who has done so herself can help guide you through the process, says Dr. Styer, who also points out that a Coach can act as an accountability partner. “Many of us do better when we have deadlines and someone to be accountable with,” she said. “Working with a Coach can give you that. There are often weekly assignments to help further you along. Knowing you will be asked about your progress can help keep one focused on their goals.”

To find a Career Coach, Dr. Styer suggests asking colleagues, family and friends for recommendations. You could check with your company, and conduct Google and LinkedIn searches. She also advises you vet any prospective Coach. “A quality one will provide you with a free consultation” Dr. Styer says. “Ask about her focus area and qualifications. How does she operate—is it live in an office or via teleconferencing—and ask about the session format. During your free consultation, observe how well she listens. Is she so busy ‘selling’ herself that she isn’t hearing what you are needing/wanting?”

Ashley Santangelo, Evolve Services

Ms. Santangelo started her professional life as a Social Worker. Although she loved her work, she eventually realized she wanted a change. That’s when she consulted a Career Coach. “I sought help

from a career coach specifically because I wanted to speak with someone who was an unbiased source of support and somebody who would provide me with practical options about next steps that I could take,” she wrote in her blog, Top Five Reasons to Hire a Career Coach. Ms. Santangelo was so inspired by how her Coach helped her that she became certified in career coaching, started her own practice and now helps professionals who face the same professional dilemma she once did.

When it comes to the benefits of working with a Career Coach, Ms. Santangelo has her top five. They are: helping you establish direction (you may want a change but not sure where to go); being an accountability partner (checking in with you on a regular basis to keep you on track); building and leveraging professional networks (basically, a Coach can teach you how to network); rebooting your resume (making it stronger so your it stands out); and negotiating salaries (a Coach will help clients through the often-scary salary negotiation process).

Ms. Santangelo suggests using the ProFinder feature in LinkedIn, which allows you to search for and connect with professionals who offer various services such as coaching. Thumbtack is another online platform she recommends. “Thumbtack is an online service that matches customers to professional services,” she said. “I actually found my Career Coach through this service. Thumbtack is free for customers to use and operates similarly to LinkedIn ProFinder.” Ms. Santangelo also suggest you narrow down your search by looking to see if a Coach has a ‘niche’ population whom they work with most and whom you identify with.

Rosemary Susnjara, Rosemary Susnjara Coaching

“If you’re feeling unfulfilled in your job and are aching to make a change but are overwhelmed about where to start, a Career Coach may be the answer,” Ms. Susnjara says. “A Career Coach will partner with you to dig deep and uncover what it is you truly want your career to be. Then they help you break through whatever has been holding you back, implement an action plan, set achievable goals and put you on the path to finding a career you can enjoy and flourish in.”

Ms. Susnjara adds that a Coach can also help you fine tune your resume and practice your interviewing skills. “They can help you develop your all-important elevator pitch—a short persuasive sales pitch featuring you!” she adds. “Perhaps most importantly, a Career Coach helps you stay on track to meet your goals by holding you accountable and being your biggest champion.”

When looking for a Coach, Ms. Susnjara suggests you find one who has been certified through an ICF (International Coaching Federation) accredited program “to ensure they are equipped with the proper tools to effectively coach people.” If you are looking to transition from one career to another, another tip she offers is to try to find a Coach who has had a similar experience so they can empathize with what you are going through.

When looking for a career coach, take the same approach as you would when looking for a good doctor, she advises. “Reach out to your network for recommendations, then visit the Coach’s website to get a feel for their coaching practice and style. Many certified Coaches offer a complementary initial phone call so you can both determine if you’ll make a good fit,” says Ms. Susnjara. “LinkedIn is also a great resource to search for career coaches, so don’t be shy about reaching out to the people who can provide you with recommendations.”

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