04 Nov Pump Up Your Prospects: Hiring a Career Coach
You have a job but you feel you are stuck in a dead-end position. Or you fell into it and realize it isn’t your dream career. Or you are between jobs and finding it difficult to find something new.
Is a career coach what you need to take your professional life to the next level? Possibly. What are the current challenges to finding your dream job? Are you open to advice from a stranger and trying new ideas? Do you have the resources (time and money) to invest in a professional consultant?
Here are some things to consider before hiring a career coach:
What it is . . . and what it isn’t. Career coaching is usually a series of consulting and coaching sessions with a trained professional who can help you think about both the psychological and logistical objectives connected with the next step in your career.
That can mean helping a client understand their own under confidence that could be negatively impacting interviews. Or, it could be about setting networking goals or establishing a plan to increase social media presence.
A career coach, however, is not likely to directly help you find a job like a headhunter or a staffing agency. As the name implies, they are there to help coach you toward the steps you need to take to find a job yourself or work more efficiently with job search resources.
[bctt tweet=”In fact, if someone offers you a dream job in exchange for a large up-front coaching fee, consider it a red flag.”]
How long will it last? Again, that depends, but most agree that it takes more than a session or two. It is typical for coaches to work with their clients for at least 4 to 10 sessions, which can take course over 6 months to a year.
How do I find one? First, anyone can call himself or herself a career coach – legally, you are not required to have any sort of specific training. However, organizations like the International Coach Federation have certification requirements that include at least 500 hours of coaching experience. They also have a member directory that potential clients can search for a fit.
But the right fit goes beyond certifications. Like any counseling relationship, personality and approach will differ and it is important to find someone who you will feel comfortable discussing your challenges and goals with.
While personal references can help, think about the friend or colleague making the recommendation – if you are very different people, the right coach for them might not be the right match for you.
How do I make the most out of it? Most importantly, if you are hiring a career coach, you need to make sure that you are ready to be open to new ideas. If you are seeking help, then likely you feel that what you are doing on your own isn’t working. So if your coach recommends you try different interview styles or networking tactics, give them a chance to guide you.
Also, be clear in an early session about what you are looking for. Do you need more counseling help, such as dealing with job search anxiety or fear of leaving a good-paying but unsatisfying career? Or are you feeling overwhelmed by how to use social media effectively or redo a resume, and need a partner to help you build your professional profile.
Finally, be prepared for the financial investment. Career coaches are not cheap and range widely — $100 to $500 for a two-hour session is not unusual – so shop around for someone who matches your personality and your wallet.
Hiring a career coach is an investment of time and money.
However, with the right coach, it can also help lead you to a new job, a more rewarding career and better stress management of the job search process. If you understand what you are looking for, have reasonable expectations and do your research on potential coaches, you are more likely to have a positive experience. A professional transition can be difficult to do alone, and with a career coach, you won’t have to.