Choosing a Career Coach

Whether this is your first time choosing a career coach, or you are looking to work with someone new, welcome. Choosing a career coach should be a thoughtful process, rather than a rush to the credit card. To help you cover your bases, regardless of who you choose to work with, here are some things to consider:

Check out the coach’s background & credentials. What training do they have? How does it impact their coaching? How many years of experience do they bring? Who are their clients?

Understand how their services work. Do they use assessments? Write your documents for you? How often do you meet? What can you expect from them? What do they expect from you?

Take advantage of initial consultations. You should be able to connect with your coach in advance of your first appointment to see if you are a good match. If you don’t feel comfortable with your coach, you can’t be honest with them or yourself and you’ll be wasting time and money. Find out if you like each other.

Check out their reputation. If you were referred to a coach, ask your contact about their experiences. You might also check out testimonial pages, social media like LinkedIn (recommendations & endorsements), YouTube, Twitter, and Google+ to see what others are saying before you reach out to start the process.

Since coaching is not yet a licensed profession, do your homework to make sure that you are going to have great returns on the financial, emotional and time investments that you make with your coach. Want to know how I stack up with these questions? Then read on!

Background & credentials: I have 8+ years’ experience in career development roles. I hold a PhD (2005), CDP (2011), and CRS (pending). My clients vary widely from young professionals entering their career to postdoctoral researchers and mid-level career changers. I have worked extensively with newcomers to Canada, but also with clients in the EU, Asia, the Middle East and the US on their career issues.

In terms of my coaching style, I have been described as honest, a straight shooter, and blunt. That’s not to mean that I lack empathy, but that if I see something that I know is problematic then I will raise the issue. I believe that my clients need to be equal participants in the relationship, so I ask a lot of questions and I listen for their meaning and the words they use (active listening) to get to the root of the situation.

How the services work: I don’t use assessments at this time because I am a career coach, not a counselor. I am happy to help clients explore potential career paths, if that is where they are, but the exploration would be action based and the client would be heavily involved in the process. I incorporate exercises and homework to help my clients learn about themselves, their abilities, and their career goals.

I don’t write resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles or other documents. If I write your resume for you, what happens in your next job search? You haven’t learned anything! That’s great for business, but a lousy coaching ethic. I would rather teach you how to write your own application materials so that you can take that skill with you for the rest of your life. (For clients with disabilities, we will work together as a team to produce your materials.)

We can meet as often as you want. I offer a discount for continuing sessions, so the frequency is ultimately up to you. Full details on services are available here. I offer both group and individual coaching sessions (meeting frequency for groups is posted for each program). Clients of both services have access to weekly email contact, and group clients also receive 5-minute laser calls to touch base between sessions as well as a private online board to connect with other group members for 1 month following a session.

My clients can expect me to be prepared for the expected, and open to the unexpected. I invest a lot of myself into my clients, and I will email clients a “Know Your Client” or KYC before our first appointment so that I have an idea about your background before our session. I research careers and resources in addition to writing my own (clients have access to a private resource area) because I want my clients to receive full value for their time, money and effort. From my clients, I expect that you will show up prepared and on time for the appointment, and that you will complete any “homework” before a follow up session. Of course, I also expect that we will follow all of the usual conventions as well (confidentiality, mutual respect…) and you can read all of the details in my Client Agreement.

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