You might be considering some coaching, perhaps to find a new job, to help you transition through a big change or maybe to help you build your confidence. If you have never had any coaching it can feel a little daunting, so I wanted to share with you my tips on how to choose a career coach and what you can expect from a coaching relationship.
Do you need coaching?
My first question would be, is coaching really the right thing? There is a lot of overlap between coaching, mentoring, consulting, training and therapy and it can feel tricky to decide which one might be best. The International Coaching Federation has created a flow chart which asks you questions to help identify which would be the best fit.
Once you are confident that coaching is the best solution for you, it’s time to select your coach.
Choosing your coach
A fundamental part of coaching is the coaching relationship. It is where you will connect, trust and have confidence in your coaching experience. You will know relatively quickly whether someone is the right coach for you - and only you can decide so trust those gut instincts.
Most coaches (including me) will offer a free session so that you can explore how you might work together in more detail. This is a good time to ask the coach about their style, experience and impact. I would recommend speaking to at least three coaches to see which one feels right to you.
Eight questions to ask a coach when you meet them:
- How did you become a coach?
- Tell me about your professional experience?
- How would you describe your coaching style?
- What happens in a typical coaching session?
- What is your approach to confidentiality and ethics?
- How do you measure the impact of your coaching?
- Can you give me an example of a coaching success story?
- What kind of clients do you have the most success with?
Remember that coaching is an investment, so treat it as such, and get all the information you need in order to make an informed decision. Doing some due diligence on the coach will give you the assurance that you are investing wisely. Ask for testimonials, and case studies or even ask to speak to a previous client.
Coaching qualifications and accreditation
Coaching is currently a self-regulated industry and the professionals working in the field are diverse. Knowing your coach is qualified brings the reassurance needed to gain the most impact from coaching. I would also encourage you to look at whether or not the coach is a member of the International Coaching Federation and/or the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. This will tell you that the coach is working to the highest professional standards and keeping their practice fresh with the latest research.
I am a career coach which means that I provide guidance, tailored specifically to your needs to help you find the best career for you and to set realistic but challenging goals. This might include effective job searching strategies, checking your CV and practising for interviews. In addition, the most common thing people ask me for is to help them build confidence and/or finding a job that works for them and their family and one that they will love to do.
However, career coaching is more than ‘just’ finding a job you’ll love. People come to me because:
- They’re re-evaluating their priorities and what’s important to them - usually after a big change in their life
- They have stopped growing and they are looking to make a significant step
- They are feeling exhausted and feeling like they are losing a part of themselves
- They’ve lost confidence in their own abilities
As such, I help you navigate your career in a holistic and empowering way by creating a safe and supportive environment. A space where you can be honest, acknowledge and work to overcome those doubts, reflect on your choices share your dreams and goals and focus on taking control of your future.
What do you want?
When it comes to thinking about your expectations of coaching, you need to start with yourself. What is important to you? Reflect on your goals and objectives - consider the following questions:
- What’s your ideal outcome from the coaching? (if it’s a new job, go deeper: what will that job change for you?)
- How much time are you willing to invest?
- What kind of support do you want?
- Do you actually want to be coached?
- What do you expect to accomplish with a coach?
With a clear idea of your desired outcomes, you can better choose a coach who is able to help you develop a strategy for achieving them.
Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. - International Coaching Federation
Coaching gets to the heart of what’s important for you
One of the biggest benefits of working with a career coach is that they will help you take aligned action that feels sustainable for you. Sure, clarity is important but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t integrate them into your life. With the tools you get from your coach you can take bigger and bolder steps toward opportunities you may not have considered.
Career coaches get to the heart of what’s most important for you and your long-term happiness, fulfilment, and financial abundance which drives all of your decisions.
Speaking of financial abundance…please don’t base your decision on cost. Instead, think about what having the life and career you’d want would be worth to you, find a coach you like and trust, ensure their program aligns with your goals and then, invest in yourself. It’s priceless.
The Career and Life You Want Is Possible
If you take nothing else from this post, I want you to understand that the career and life you want is possible. You don’t have to settle.
How you get there and who you choose to help you chart your course is up to you.