Just Do It! Hiring a Career Coach

Considering a career change or thinking about reinventing yourself? Need a leg up in today’s competitive job market? Feel like you’re stuck in a job that’s going nowhere?

If you nodded yes to at least one of these questions, it may be time to hire a professional. Soliciting the help of a Career Coach who will assess your strengths and weaknesses will go a long way in helping you achieve your career goals. In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, writer Joyce E.A. Russell notes that even top business executives know the importance of enlisting assistance from experts. “Many successful leaders utilize the help of executive coaches and take various assessments to better understand themselves,” she said.

Making the decision to hire a Career Coach is only the first step. To ensure you pick someone who best fits your needs, do a little more investigating; ask yourself a few more questions. Here’s a brief list of items to consider:

It’s a Wide Open Field
The career coaching industry is unregulated. Pretty much anyone can call themselves a Coach and hang a shingle outside her door. There are no industry standards to meet or credentials to attain. (Think about it, when was the last time you saw Career Coaching as a college major?) But that doesn’t mean the field isn’t filled with plenty of talented and qualified individuals ready and willing to help you.

Do Your Homework
So, what’s the best way to go about finding the right Coach for you? Most experts agree: turn to your network. Get recommendations from colleagues, co-workers and friends. Conduct a thorough internet search. Reputable Career Coaches should regularly contribute content to industry papers and websites. Find their content and read it so you have a good feel for their philosophy and techniques.

A Coach by any other Name
Career Advisor, Executive Coach, Life Coach . . . no matter what they call themselves, they should all have one thing in common: a passion for helping people identify—and achieve—their professional goals. When looking for help, don’t focus so much on a person’s title, rather, pay close attention to his experience and knowledge. Also think about whether you want a Career Coach who works exclusively in your chosen field or someone with broader experience.

Make Your Move
Hone in on two or three candidates and then continue your investigation. Take time to interview each one personally. Don’t be shy about asking questions such as how much they charge; how long they have been working in the field; what is their success rate and how much time will you need to invest in coaching sessions? Most importantly, make sure you feel comfortable with the person. After all, you are asking your Coach to help you define your new future!

Other Options
If, after all your research, you decide a Career Coach is not for you, no problem. Check out the career services available at local job centers, libraries and universities. They may offer you the opportunity to work with someone just as qualified who is less expensive and requires less of a time commitment on your part. Check with organizations you may belong to, as well. For example, IAW’s Career Center offers comprehensive careers services to IAW members, including Hire AdvantEDGETM and Résunate.

Working with a Career Coach or other experts could be just what you need to make your next move or get back in the game!

We want to hear from you! Have you hired a Career Coach recently? How did you go about finding one?

 Please leave your comments and be sure to take our poll. 

  1. Elise

    I am a Career Coach with a non-profit agency based out of New Mexico that offers reasonably priced services specific to the needs of our clients. True, there are no requirements for Career Coaches, but I am a Globally Certified Career Development Facilitator and have accrued numerous certifications in barrier specific job development such as working with individuals with disabilities and criminal histories. If you are seeking assistance a Career Coach, please feel free to explore our websites Job Development program at http://www.achrnm.org.

  2. Linda Guedry-Babst

    I’m an NAPW member and a semi-retired Licensed Professional Counselor (in Louisiana) with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling and specialization in Career Counseling. My extensive experience includes work with corporate/academic and individual clients in career exploration and decision-making, outplacement counseling for those experiencing layoffs, and consulting on job search strategy, action plans, and interview prep. I’ve worked for Lee Hecht Harrison and Tulane University most recently and am currently doing career consulting and related work.

  3. Sylvia "Sly" Zelnys

    While you are correct that anyone can call themselves a coach and hang a shingle, there ARE educational programs and certifying organizations, including International Coach Federation and World Coach Institute. While you may not insist on hiring a “certified” coach, I would definitely inquire as to the individual’s credentials–i.e., the specific course of study they have successfully completed that provides them the necessary knowledge base to use your time most effectively.

  4. Lena Beck Roervig

    A great article. The investment in a career coach is quickly earned back. Don’t go for the cheapest, but for the one that you have a good rapport with and have a career themself.

  5. Elizabeth Rockendorf

    I am a Coach currently working through a coach training program with expected graduation in Sping of 2016 when I will become certified through the International Coach Federation. I would love for NAPW members to contact me for coaching! My rates are reasonable as I need the hours towards my certification.

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