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You’ve made a difficult decision.  You’ve accepted that you need help.

Are you a frustrated job seeker who’s qualified, but can’t find work?

Failed to get that promotion?  Again?

Fed up with your current career and want a fresh start in something completely different?

Do you want to pack it all in and become your own boss?

You’ve tried everything yourself, but you’re still left feeling stuck.  You did some research and realized the best plan of attack is to hire a career coach.

However, there’s so many out there – how to choose the right one?  

You’re handing over your hard-earned money to improve your career. You want to make sure the career coach does what they promise, not take your money and leave you high and dry.  They should put you not only on the right track – but see you through to the finish line.

Our list of 5 ways to find the right career coach, will break down all the main things to look for in a career coach, and set you on your way to changing, and improving your life.

What Does a Career Coach Do?

A career coach works with people in all kinds of industries, positions, and stages of career.  

Career coaches focus on career research, gaining an understanding of the current job market, organizational processes, and complicated psychological doctrine to create a specific plan just for you.

Amongst many other things, they will help:

  • Optimize your resume
  • Provide cover letter writing tips
  • Train you for interviews
  • Improve your professional social media presence
  • Network
  • Manage your time

Where to Find a Career Coach

It’s easy enough to go online and search for “Career Coach Near Me.”  No doubt you’ll find hundreds, if not thousands of entries.  However, there are better ways to find a reputable professional.

1. Word of Mouth

Have any of your friends, co-workers, or family members ever used a career coach?  Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, and the advice will be coming from someone you trust, not just taking the word of someone who wants your money.

2. Check with a Local College

Colleges have trained professionals on-site to assist students with their career choices and future employment.  If you’re part of the alumni, these resources may be free of charge to you.  If you’re not a graduate, referrals may be provided.

3. Go Direct to the Board

Head to the National Board of Certified Counselors website.  You will find a list of fully vetted, licensed, and certified counselors in the US.

Best Career Advice

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How to Choose the Right Coach

Okay, now you know where to look, and you have a list of possible coaches.  

However, how does that help you find the right coach to suit you.

A career coach has to be a good fit.  They need to understand you, your goals, your personality, and what you’re looking to achieve.

Many types of career coaches specialize in different fields.  Some work with people in executive roles; others work with job seekers; others are more focused on transitioning.

To find the right coach, you need to check:

1. Experience

Look for a career coach who has been in the same boat as you at some point in their life.  Whether that’s changing careers, becoming his own boss, or going back to school.  They will be in a relatable position, which means they can share what they’ve learned from their experience, with you.

Don’t be afraid to ask how many one-on-one coaching hours they have completed, rather than asking how many years they’ve been a coach.  You’re looking for someone with strong coaching experience, not just someone who has the qualifications but not much one-on-one time.

2. Qualifications

Career coaches are professionally trained in their field, so you should expect certifications and degrees to prove their worth.

Look for coaches with a degree in counseling and one of the following credentials:

  • CCSP (Certified Career Services Provider),
  • CMCS (Certified Master of Career Services),
  • CCC (Certified Career Counselor).

3. Methodology

Questions.  Ask lots of questions.

How will they help you achieve your goals?  What structures will they put in place?

Knowing the career coach’s methods will give you an indication of the means the coach will use to help get you on track. If you’re not satisfied with their way of doing things or think they’re not suitable for you, move to the next coach on the list.

4. Self-Improvement

A supportive career coach will keep an open mind to new ideas and practices, stay up-to-date with new coaching methods, continually strive to provide better coaching for their clients, and agree to regular internal assessment and evaluation by their own company.  A good coach works on their own development via the valuable feedback provided by clients.

5. The Right Fit

Professional career coaches have embraced the technological age, and these days, many have their own blogs, vlogs, and podcasts.  You can see for yourself what their particular style is, how they think, and how they might approach a situation.

You may be looking for someone more serious and reserved, or someone who cheers you along the way.  By checking out their online content, you’ll get a great idea of who they are and if they can help you.  

Then, meet them in person, do you feel comfortable talking with them, or does it feel awkward and forced?  Your career coach is a person who will help you shape and improve your career, and you’ll be spending much time with them.  It’s critical that you feel relaxed and feel comfortable.

Virtual career coaching is possible if you’re unable to, or would prefer to communicate via video chat.

Similar to career coaching, life coaching is just as important but is more focused on achieving personal goals.

Life coaches are helpful if:

  • You want a better work-life balance
  • Want to improve your mental physical or spiritual mindset
  • You crave change, but don’t know how to go about it

A life coach will assist you in creating structure, support, and give you the tools to help you break through what’s stopping you from achieving results.

You’ve taken the first step toward change.  You’ve recognized you need it.  Now, you have the tools to find the right career coach, and you can put your plan into action.  

It won’t be easy – anything of importance never is.  However, once you achieve your goal, the blood, sweat, and tears will have been worth it.

Go out and find your career coach and take control of your career, and your life.

Written By
Bijan Kholghi is a career coach with a special psychological education in hypno-systemic coaching. He is the Founder of Coaching-Online.org. His teacher Dr. Gunther Schmidt is the founder of Milton Erickson Institute in Heidelberg (Germany), a direct student of Milton H. Erickson, and a leading figure in psychotherapy education in Europe.

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