Maybe you’re a generally trusting person and you’re not so worried that the career coach you ultimately hire is a charlatan promising to sell you a cure to whatever ails you.
There have been coaching scams out there, but for the most part, coaches are good people trying to help.
Still, when you make any kind of an investment, you want to know it’s a good one.
So you wonder, how do I know if this will work for me?
How can I be sure that this is the right coach for me?
And, ok, maybe you are wondering just a little – how can I know that this coach is for real?
Let’s explore each of these questions so that you can make an informed choice about whether to pursue career coaching for yourself and how to find a career coach.
Find A Career Coach: Will Career Coaching Work For Me?
You’re planning on leaving your terrible job to upgrade to something you like better, but you don’t know what that is yet or how to get it.
Or you like your job now, but you really want to get ahead in it in the next few years and you need help creating a roadmap to making that happen.
Maybe you want to start a business and you’re looking for someone to help you make the leap from your day job into entrepreneurship.
Whether it’s one of these situations or something similar, if you find a career coach it might be extremely helpful to you.
But you don’t want to start down a path with a coach only to realize that you didn’t have clear expectations of what you were trying to accomplish or what each of you was responsible to do.
Career coaching can “work” for you if you understand how it works and what it’s meant to do.
It can’t magically deliver you a career upgrade, and it can’t do it in three weeks, like some people hope for.
Believe me, if it could, people would be chasing me down like Tom Hanks was chasing Leonardo DiCaprio when he was running around the world in Catch Me if You Can.
But what can happen is several amazing things.
Three Amazing Things Career Coaching Will Do For You
There are several amazing things that will happen in coaching, but I’m going to give you three of the basics here. What’s amazing is that what can happen in coaching is really anything.
If you think for a minute what your biggest obstacles are in your life, like maybe that crummy job, a difficult relationship, or an extra 35 pounds, I guarantee you that coaching can help with any of those things.
What would life be like if those things were resolved?
Here’s how some of that magic happens. . .
Amazing Thing #1: Listening
First, someone will listen to you – it’s way more exciting than it sounds.
I know that may sound inconsequential, but think about how many times you actually have someone really listen without interrupting to tell you that story about how jerky their boss is too, and then going on to ask you what you think they should do about that invitation to their Great Aunt Martha’s party?
It’s not that often that you get someone who will really listen and keep the topic focused on you and what you want and need for long periods of time, committed to hashing out the details and figuring things out with you.
Amazing Thing #2: You’ll be asked great questions – and you’ll ask yourself some too.
The second thing that will happen is that you’ll be working with someone (if you get questions two and three right, below), that knows how to ask great questions.
There’s an art and a science to asking great questions. It’s about being able to understand what the other person is thinking and feeling.
It’s also about what they might be holding back and not saying, and understanding when to ask about that and when to leave that alone. The coach needs to know when asking contributes or detracts from the goal of the conversation.
It’s about thinking outside the box to ask things that the client hasn’t thought of or to ask things in a way they haven’t thought of them before so that they get more out of the conversation than they came with.
It’s also about not being afraid to look stupid. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a call with a client and I’ve started a question with “This might be a stupid question, but. . . ”
And I know full well that it might either be the stupidest question they’ve ever heard or the most brilliant that they’ve gotten in a while, because it leads us down a road that most people don’t dare to walk on.
It’s also about having an overall understanding of the person and what their nature is, what their goals are and what they need.
Putting all of this together, a great coach can ask you great questions so you can come out of a coaching session having had a breakthrough.
But the coach isn’t the only one asking all the great questions.
You’ll be asking yourself a lot of questions you never thought about before. It’s opening up these new ways of thinking, getting outside that box, that allows you to have the life that you want but don’t have yet.
Amazing Thing #3: You Create and Achieve Your Own Goals!
The third thing that will happen in good coaching is that you will create and achieve your own goals.
Coaching isn’t for lazy people who need a kick in the butt because they can’t do it themselves.
Yes, we all need a little bit of “accountability” to keep us on track, but coaching really is for people who want a change but for whatever reason (self-sabotage, psychological blocks, confidence, skills barrier, etc.) can’t get there on their own.
Would you say that professional athletes or actors are lazy because they need coaches? No. They are ready to take their game to the next level, they just need help.
That’s you too, if you’re really ready for coaching.
Working with a coach is not about getting career advice, life advice, or having someone give you the answers.
Yes, there may be times where a coach can give you information about career trends, how things work in the career space, insights about how to do things right, give you information, etc.
But if you need to know what you should do next, as in: “I hate my job and I want to be happier, but I don’t know if I should quit or if I should stick it out another few years?” or “Should I bother applying for this job or not?”
You’re not going to find an answer here.
What you will find is someone who will guide you to your answer.
What’s the difference?
My answer doesn’t mean anything to you.
I could tell you to quit tomorrow or stay forever, and it wouldn’t matter.
And I could tell you to apply or not apply, and that doesn’t matter either.
What matters more is getting some information and thinking and feeling and asking your way through the problem, and then getting the help you need to make a decision that sits right with you.
Because unless you want to carry me around in your pocket for the next 45 years or so, you’re going to have to learn to make decisions that feel good to you.
My goal is to help you learn how to go through this decision making process.
I want to provide you with the support and guidance you need right now when the pain of your situation is acute.
But I also want to give you the tools you need to be able to do it later when the pain is not so acute.
When the band-aid comes off and we’re not working together anymore, I want you to feel like you know how to make a decision that sits right, and to really, truly know what that feels like.
Now maybe you already know this, but in my experience we all need support in transition times. They are tough. And having a skills upgrade like learning how to make better decisions during transitions never hurt anyone!
How To Evaluate If Coaching Is Right For You
These are three ways to evaluate if coaching is going to work for you:
Do I need someone who can really listen?
Do I need someone who can ask insightful questions that help me get to my authentic answers?
Do I need someone who will help me achieve and create my own goals, not just tell me what to do?
If the answers are yes, then coaching is probably for you.
There are many more things that will happen in coaching, but if you don’t like what you’ve heard so far, then coaching may not be for you.
It really is about you getting expert help to make your own decisions.
Now, let’s move on to the next questions.
Find A Career Coach: How Can I Be Sure This Is The Right Coach For Me?
Some people are sure about things because they feel them, and others are sure because they have thought them through.
Which type are you? Thinker or feeler?
If you have to get a feel for someone, you should schedule a time to talk to the person you’re considering coaching with, and see if they pass your gut test.
Do you feel like working with that person is the right thing to do?
Do they put you at ease?
Do you feel comfortable talking with them?
Do you feel like they know the answers to the questions you asked them? Did they seem confident and competent?
Overall, did you get a green light or a red light when you checked in with yourself?
If you’re more the type that needs to think things through, ask yourself before you have a conversation with them, what are you looking for in a coach?
How can that person show you that when you work together the experience will be good and you will get what you came for?
Much of it is around clear communication of your needs.
Are you looking for a coach to “hold you accountable“?
Do you need someone who has great insight into what makes you tick or who can help you boost your performance?
Do you need a coach who has helped people create and build businesses?
Are you comfortable working virtually, or do you need to meet with your coach in person?
Whatever your needs are, make sure you’re clear about who your “right coach” is, so you can find her or him!
Find A Career Coach: How Do I Know This Coach Is For Real?
Once you find a career coach you’re interested in working with, a great thing to do is to Google them. It almost is second nature these days.
Also see if they have written articles for other publications and blogs. This kind of endorsement from other sources can be very helpful in determining credibility.
Now, I feel I need to give you fair warning.
I’ve never mentioned this before, but. . . short of changing my name, which I happen to be attached to, there’s not much I can do about what pops up when you Google me.
Who knew there’d be two of us? And why couldn’t she be a lawyer or something?
Let’s just say I haven’t made a career change from the adult film industry. . .If you do want to Google me, just add “career coach” on the end, or at least don’t do it in front of the children. 🙂
Even though my namesake is a bit distracting, you’ll see that I, like any coach that’s worth working with, has recommendations and usually an internet presence.
If you don’t feel like the information you’ve been able to gather online is enough, you can always ask for references.
When you speak with the coach, remember that you should ask questions about their coaching experience and how their process works.
You’ll want to feel comfortable about the process moving forward, because the person you’re working with is going to be someone that will be helping you achieve some big life goals!