A career coach — someone hired to assist you in reaching a specific career goal — can be a valuable asset for professional development. But since they also involve paying a fee, you’ll want to be sure you’re getting the best return for your monetary investment. So what should you take into account when examining your options? Here are some tips on how to choose a career coach.
Understand your goals
Before hiring a career coach, the first step to take is deciding what you want to get out of it. Whether you’re looking to change fields, start a business, or advance in your current career — or even something more granular like building communication skills or improving your resume — knowing what your goals are will enable you to find the right person for the task. You may even find someone who particularly specializes in the thing you’re trying to achieve.
Consider the type of guidance you need
Are you a procrastinator who needs a firm hand to steer you along a timeline? Are you a more anxious person who’s looking for someone relaxed to help balance things out? Maybe there’s a certain daily schedule that they will have to fit into. Recognizing the most beneficial coaching style for your aims, your timetable, and your day-to-day life means you’re more likely to find a coach that will be able to provide what you need.
Set a budget
Unlike a more informal arrangement like mentorship, career coaches do come with a fee. When comparing your possible choices, take a look at your budget to figure out what your expenses are and what you will be able to afford. There may be an upper limit you’re willing to pay for the ideal career coach, and some options may be outside of that range. This will help you narrow things down in order to find the best match for the best price.
Check for personality fit
A good career coach will have strong interpersonal skills — and more specifically, their interpersonal skills will have to mesh well with your own. Over the course of the engagement, you’ll be confiding things to them and putting your trust in their judgment. So it’s important to find someone who you feel comfortable talking to and that you can both respect and get along with.
Research their track record
Finally, as you’re narrowing down your prospective coaches, you’ll want to research each one to learn more about their track records. See if they have any certifications, what their online presence is like, and what reviews (if any) have been written by previous clients. Before you invest in this relationship, make sure you’re confident in their capabilities and the outcomes they can produce.
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