Making the Decision to Work With a Career Coach

Making the decision that you need guidance from an outside career professional is one that usually comes after some conversations with yourself. To some, it’s a leap of faith to take on a new regimen and admit that your solo efforts didn’t render the final outcome you wanted. In reality using a career coach is the smartest decision a job-seeker can make. Career coaches serve as a sounding board that can tease out your thoughts about new directions, offering perspective, expand your thinking by trying out new ideas. The job-seeker is still in control of making their own decisions, but a coach assists in the process and ensures action plans are carried out so career goals are achieved.

So what exactly is involved in searching for a career coach and preparing for what happens next? The following are a few of the questions or topics to consider as you are exploring the career coach decision.

What exactly is a Career Coach?
A career coach often follows the same type of facilitated thinking process used by life or executive coaches that assist clients in working on areas such as: job search and direction, life purpose, personal satisfaction, life/work balance and setting job search strategies. Career coaching is goal and action-oriented. Its focus is on the present and the future – not the past. Career coaching has a strong practical application to generate clarity of goals, establishing search strategies, priorities and action plans to keep movement alive toward the goal. Coaches advise clients on job search techniques and behaviors. The coach will not find the client a job or supply job leads.

How exactly do coaches coach clients?
An experienced career coach helps clients break out of their “safety zones” and make positive changes. They help the client understand their strengths, weaknesses and work style offering the benefit of a third party perspective of how the client is seen by others. The coach’s job is to listen very carefully, hearing the symptoms underneath to help the client identify core issues and build a plan based upon the context unique to the client’s life, personality, values and talents. Coaches will offer insight and feedback into the client’s self presentation and image in order to constructively build self awareness so what stands in the way of success can be removed. The coach provides inspiration, guidance to clients while also holding them accountable to their progress throughout the process. Interview Preparation

What is the client’s role in the process?
In order for the coaching experience to be productive, the client will need to listen and be open to suggestions and constructive feedback. It’s important for clients to fully participate in the entire process, possess readiness to execute and be held accountable for the agreements they make to take charge of their career.

What do I look for in a coach?
Do your due diligence when selecting a career coach. Ask about their coaching certification and other credentials. Learn about the coach’s professional experience outside of coaching. Have they ever been in a hiring manager or candidate selection role in their own career? A coach doesn’t necessarily need to come from the specific industry as the client, but should have experience working at the clients’ job level.

How should I choose a coach?
A satisfying coaching experience requires having good rapport with the coach. Call two or three coaches. This conversation will give you an opportunity to get to know the coach, their methodology of practice and how that fits with the services you need. Coaches usually don’t charge for the first consultation. In that initial conversation, coaches will not make suggestions or give you direction on your specific situation.

What are coaching sessions like?
Clients can expect their coach to ask questions about their thinking and emotions behind what is important to them. The conversations are an exchange of ideas and testing of readiness to move forward. Sessions last anywhere from 30 – 90 minutes and can be done in person or over the phone depending on the needs of the client. Sessions often include services such as resume review/re-write, mock interviews and counsel on offer negotiation.

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