How to Choose a Career Coach


Committing to the journey of navigating finding a career coach is an investment in time, money and yourself. You need to be sure to start off with the right map or guidebook. I learned how to navigate the career coach world using my background in social science as a compass and today I am going to share with some ideas for choosing a career coach as your guide:

How to Choose a Career Coach

1. Do your research

In today’s online world, it is easy to find resources on the internet but also easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of what’s out there. Try to use strategies such as crowdsourcing to narrow down the career coach field.
One well-known option is to do a search on Amazon for career books and then read the customer reviews. These are best if written by customers with a verified purchase of the book and who were not offered the book or product for free in exchange for an ‘honest review’. You can also leverage social media. For instance, follow people that interest you on Twitter, and see whose material those people ‘retweet’ or who Twitter recommends that you follow based on your current list.

2. Take advantage of one-stop shops to maximize your time

Check if your favorite career coaches offer weekly newsletters or digests through their websites. That way, you’ll be sure to never miss the most important or popular information they’ve shared. You can also opt to receive newsletters from websites that aggregate material across multiple sources. For example, The Daily Muse or Daily Muse Twitter is a user-friendly site with many quick, practical articles related to your career search. While the site is made by and for millennials, the advice is sharp and applicable no matter what career stage you’re in.

3. Take advantage of the free stuff

Most coaches offer great free resources on Twitter or their websites so that you can learn more about their methodology and point of view. While you may not have the money to pay for a series of consultations with a master coach, you can learn a lot from going through these materials. For example, Laura Garnett offers a free ebook, Maximize Your Joy At Work: 4 Steps to Having a Killer Career Now, if you sign up for her newsletter, “The Zone”. And just last week, Christie Mims of The Revolutionary Club tweeted about her free workbook:
Want free help to find your passion? VOILA! — Christie Mims (@RevolutionsClub) February 12, 2016

4. Know your learning style

Some people like to delve deeply into a step-by-step written guide while others prefer watching a series of videos or listening to podcasts. Whatever your style, there is most likely a career coaching resource out there for you. Of course, you can also dabble in all of the styles!
I really enjoyed sitting down with The Pathfinder by Nicholas Lore (Rockport Institute), a classic in the career development field, and working through the different exercises. I also love getting a quick shot of knowledge by watching a TED Talk or listening to one of the many great podcasts out there on my way to/from work (e.g., “Best Part of My Job” or “Best Work/Best Life” by Kathy and Mo).

5. Pick a coach who has a map

As coach Kathy Caprino writes on her blog and on LinkedIn Pulse, “An effective coach develops expertise in their craft and brings an effective “model for change” that’s been proven, vetted and researched over many thousands of individuals, outcomes and scenarios, and is designed to help the client see her life, her problems, and the way in which she is operating in the world, differently.
While your journey is unique, a coach should provide a map to highlight the highways and dead ends along the way.

6. Find a voice that resonates with you

When I was researching career coaches, I was drawn to female coaches who have an understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing working women today. I decided to take an online course by Classy Career Girl (@classycareer, AKA @AnnaRunyan) because it has a clear methodology and her journey as a working mom with a young child resonated with me.
As I also wrote about on my blog, Emilie Wapnick’s (@emiliewapnick) work and TEDx Talk on being a “multipotentialite” sounded off all sorts of bells of recognition in my brain.
There are many coaches out there today so you should be able to find one that can speak your career and life language.

7. Match your needs with your budget

While investing in yourself and your career is a worthwhile expense, you need to be realistic about what you can afford and what you feel comfortable spending. For some, a $250-$500 consultation with a career coach is what they would spend during a jaunt to the mall.
But for others that would make a serious dent in their budget (or contribute to their debt). Another reason I love The Daily Muse is that they showcase a series of career coaches who offer support at different price points, based on their level of experience. Browsing the list was how I was introduced to Anna Runyan’s work and since I didn’t have a specific question that could be explored during a 30-minute session, I instead chose Anna’s “Love Your Career Formula 2.0” class because I could benefit from her entire approach at a price that fit my budget.
I hope these tips have been helpful and that you’ll join me again, as I continue navigating the terrain of career development and coaching. Whether you’re a first-time traveler or a seasoned explorer, here’s to making it work and loving the journey!

Hi, I'm Anna!

I’ll help you create a career strategy and plan so you can finally have a job or business you love that supports the life you really want.

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