5 Tips for Picking a Career Coach

Career Coach

You’ve been thinking about it for a while. You’ve heard others mention “their” coach. They say “they’ve grown from the experience”, “found clearer pathway”, “new answers” for all kinds of perplexing things. Sounds good, right?

Having a coach is more than a new kind of personal status symbol and the right coach might be someone to help you with the career dilemmas and choices you have in front of you…but how do you find the right one?

Selecting a coach is harder than looking online and finding the nearest address or 1-800 number. Anyone can call themselves a ‘coach’ and there are all kinds of coaches… weight loss coaches, happiness coaches, life coaches, wardrobe coaches, executive coaches, transition coaches, and generic career coaches. But how do you choose one?

There are several things to consider when selecting a coach:

  1. Fees– Coaching is a professional service. Who’s going to pay? Either you or your company will pay the bill. Is this a flat fee or hourly endeavor? How much will it be?
  1. Services– Coaching is largely a series of conversation between the coach and the client but there are many ways to support that conversation. Will there be interviews with others? What about assessments, reading lists, exercises? Will this be a face to face series of conversations or by phone?
  1. Experience– How long have they been coaching and how many clients does the coach currently have? What is their area of expertise? This really matters. A life coach and a career expert are very different in their experience and approach. Few people want the breakthrough experience of being among a coach’s first clients, or a client in a new space for the coach. Expertise and track record are important.
  1. Credibility– Coaches have different backgrounds and expertise. If you want to work on leadership issues at the executive level then it is critical to select a coach who mirrors the experience and expertise you are seeking. Do you have a positive connection with the coach? Does the conversation seem authentic; the examples  real?
  1. Outcomes – The goal of any coaching engagement is to have a successful outcome…it is NOT to keep on talking and to keep extending the engagement so that the coach and client might talk more. The first responsibility of the coach and the client is to define the goal. Make sure you and your coach define your goal for Coaching.

As an Executive Coach and a career expert, with a large coaching practice and coaches who work for me and with me around the globe, I’m often asked by others “how do I pick a Coach, Karyl?”

For Women in the world of work here’s my check list:

✓ Successful personally

✓ Successful track record as a coach

✓ Referral and reference base

✓ Clearly identifies what they specialize in and is a known expert in that space

✓ Coach and client compatibility

✓ Experienced in the business world

✓ A personal and positive understanding of corporate culture and mores

✓ A describable methodology beyond just holding meetings

✓ Personal experience in an environment and level similar to yours

✓ Recommended by a business associate or trusted advisor.

Selecting the right career coach can be the difference between reaching the executive suite and never shattering that glass ceiling. Prime Women belong at the top of corporations. Give yourself the edge you may need with a qualified career coach.


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