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Thinking About Hiring a Career Coach? Here’s What You Need to Know

It’s easy for anyone to say anything in this age of pervasive social media. Sharing our thoughts and opinions is a compulsive 24/7/365 line of communication.

The “About Us” sections on these social channels are a blank canvas where people can paint a picture of what they want themselves to be. Many use those sections to present themselves as someone they’re not and embellish their experience.

This fabrication trend is a common occurrence in the career coaching world. People with little to no experience claim to be coaches who can transform people’s lives and businesses. Unfortunately, professionals who are desperate for change journey down an unfulfilling and frustrating path clinging to those empty promises the entire way.

You don’t have to be one of those desperate professionals. Finding a coach who understands what you’re going through and can map out a plan to get you where you want to go is essential.

Finding a Coach

Building an effective relationship with a coach can be difficult. The New York Times reported an estimated 71,000 professional coaches globally and 23,000 in North America.

How do you know which coach is best for you?

Finding a career coach who aligns with your needs can be a daunting process. Vetting requires that you ask the right questions to properly evaluate who can develop your talents, expose your inefficiencies and blind spots, create an action plan that elevates your performance and takes your career to new heights.

Simply starting the process of finding an executive coach or career coach can be overwhelming. Let’s face it, your to-do list seems to grow by the minute, and every time you turn around, there’s another fire to put out.

If you’re ready, here are three ways to find your career coach match:

1. Define Your Problems

What are your sticking points? Weaknesses? Challenges? Understanding where you fall short is the springboard for your search because you’ll have a better grasp of the coach’s skill sets and experience required to help you. If your coach has the experience and knows your trials and tribulations, you can be confident that this person will know what to do to help you.

2. Do Your Research

The coaching vetting process is an interview. Use your interactions to get a better feel for specialties, experiences, and successes. Conduct thorough research to uncover the right coach who will meet your needs.

A good starting point would be reading through online reviews and testimonials on the coach’s website and LinkedIn profile. What are people saying? Is it generally positive? Did these people share similar struggles as you? Would the results the coach created for others help you in your situation?

How these questions are answered will signal whether you should pursue a conversation or continue your search.

If you feel the coach has potential, consider the following:

  • Ask the coach to share stories and examples with specific, measurable results.
  • Learn more about the coach’s process. Is it a customizable plan? What goes into determining the approach? If the coach dances around answering these questions or the answers are generic, or the coach is holding back until you sign on the dotted line, these are signs this isn’t the right fit for you.

To build on this point, here are a handful of questions you can ask to help you gauge whether this coach is a good fit:

  • How many clients in my industry have you worked with? Do you have examples of their successes?
  • What’s included in your coaching program?
  • How will we track progress?
  • What commonalities do your most successful clients share? Do I have those qualities?
  • Based on our conversation so far, at this point, what would be your first course of action to help me as a client?

True coaches are problem solvers. And they’re people who can get into your mindset to ferret out your blind spots. If you feel like the coach can’t solve your issues, continue your search.

3. Is There a Connection?

The search for a coach is much like dating. You’re opening yourself up to start a relationship with someone. You look for someone with whom you can build a relationship built on communication, trust, and connection.

The same notion applies to coaching. When deciding on a coach, you want to work with someone who:

  • Communicates clearly. The rapport you build with a career coach will help in developing the relationship and, in turn, improve the outcome. Pay attention during the research phase as to whether the coach is clear on exactly the scope of the help provided. If there is a layer of ambiguity, the coach’s communication skills probably aren’t where you need them to be.
  • Values trust. A strong foundation of any relationship in life is built on trust. Without it, the framework is likely to crumble. Professionals should feel comfortable and confident knowing that the coach has their best interests in mind. If you sense the path a coach is taking you down doesn’t align with your overarching goals, trust your gut and move on to a new coach.
  • Creates connection. Starting a partnership with a coach is like any relationship. If something feels off, trust your intuition. The connection you create and nurture dictates the results you’ll achieve. A strong bond established through communication and trust will help you transform your career.

Creator and Host,

Carol Schultz

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