People often have questions about what career coaching looks like and what a career coach can do for you. So, I thought it’d be helpful to share what career coaches should do and should NOT do. Hopefully this helps you as you think about hiring one to help you sift through your career troubles! Let me know if you have any questions!
A coach can help you figure out what you want to do.
The discovery and exploration of figuring out a client’s career is one of my favorite things to do. It’s exciting! It’s full of opportunity! It should get you pumped about this next stage of your career. A good coach should walk you through exercises, ask insightful questions, provide resources and give clarity around what step to take next. They should also be well-verse enough to suggest different career paths to research. Find a coach who can break down your confusion.
A coach can’t tell you what you should do with your life.
A career coach shouldn’t tell you what to do. Often times, I’ll have people come to me and ask, “Okay here’s my resume – what should I do with my life?” Ugh, I LOATHE that question. It’s the wrong question to ask because it completely negates the core of the issue: What do you want to do? So many people (perhaps you as well) have no idea what they want to do with their lives and have been trying to figure it out for years. What makes you think a coach who’s known you for 30 minutes can figure it out? It’s a process – let them guide you through it. And, if a coach is telling you need to go in a certain direction, ask for a refund.
A coach can help you craft your career story across multiple marketing materials.
More tangibly speaking, a career coach should help you craft your career story and then translate that to paper. Think: resume, cover letter, LinkedIn, etc. They will be able to ask the right questions to pull out the most impactful information that a recruiter or hiring manager would want to see. A solid career coach should also be able to help you interview better (which is really probably your issue, not your resume!) and help you tailor your answers to the job description and company.
A coach can’t guarantee you’ll find a job in X weeks.
Oh my gosh. Don’t even get me started. So I’ve seen a few coaches out there (because let’s face it, there really aren’t that many career coaches out there to begin with) that are selling they can get you a job in 4 weeks. Please don’t believe this lie. Don’t give them your money. Anyone that tells you they can guarantee you an interview or job is lying to you. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it can be a long, tedious process. And even the most qualified of candidates have a hard time getting in the door and making it to the end. If someone is telling you it’s easy and quick, avoid them like the plague. They just want your money. Slow and steady wins the race here friends.
(P.S. I will never sell on fast and easy. In fact I will always tell you this is going to be hard work and it may take some time to do it well.)
A coach can be your accountability partner and guide through a career change.
Your coach should be your biggest cheerleader. They should be the person that checks in on you and asks how things are going. They are to be your supporter, encourage and person who rallies behind you when the process just seems really hard. (Because it can be!) Find a coach who’s personality meshes with yours. Ultimately, a coach is there to keep you on track and make sure you quit procrastinating.
A coach can’t do the work for you.
This is a big one for me. Anytime you hire a career coach, it should be a collaborative process. You need to do some work as well to figure out what you want to do, to get your resume in tip top shape and prepare more effectively for an interview. The coach is there to guide, edit, boost and bolster along the way. They cannot be the person to do all the work for you. You need to have some ownership as well.
There you have it – some of the most common questions about hiring a career coach! Remember, don’t give someone your money until you’ve done your research!