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The career coaching industry is like any profession: There are good career coaches, and there are bad career coaches. And that last group gives us all a bad name! This past year, I’ve heard far too many stories from desperate job seekers who were scammed by the underbelly of career coaching. The worst stories usually involved the job seeker spending thousands on services that were supposed to get them interviews for high-paying jobs – but nothing materialized. Please, if you are considering investing in some help in your job search this year, I beg you to do your homework!

Ask These Questions BEFORE You Buy!

Having been in career coaching for 10+ years and in the HR industry for many years before that, I can tell you if I was in the market for some career coaching, I’d be sure to ask the following:
  1. Explain the methodology you will use to coach me and give me an example of how you used this technique on someone in my situation?
  2. How accessible will you be to me beyond the time we book together? (i.e. Will I be able to e-mail you with questions, etc.?)
  3. I know you can’t guarantee me a job, but what can I expect from us working together?

1. Prove Your Experience

You see, good career coaches have coached so many people they have a clear methodology they use to get consistently good results. Think about it. Who would be able to share a stronger methodology? A surgeon with 700 surgeries under her belt, or a surgeon with seven? You’ll be able to tell immediately by the depth and detail the expert provides if they are accomplished in their field.  

2. Assure Me You’ll Support Me Through The Process

The worst kind of coach is one who is “one and done.” I used to be that type of coach. In fact, when I got certified, I was encouraged to build my coaching practice in that fashion. I hated it! I would have an amazing coaching call with a client and then send them off into the job search black hole all alone… unless they came back and paid for more. This bothered me greatly. I knew there had to be a way to build a process where clients engaged with me multiple times so I could ensure they worked through roadblocks and made progress. Good coaches know that coaching takes more than one session!

3. Manage My Expectations

I’d be shocked if you showed me a career coach who was guaranteeing you’d get hired. However, I do see lots of coaches who don’t do a good enough job of explaining the value they provide. It can be hard to convey the impact an intangible like providing a service can do for you. And yet, a good coach will have enough experience to be able to manage your expectations so you are satisfied with the results. “Under-promise and over-deliver” is the mantra of all the best coaches I know. If you are going to invest in career coaching this year, I hope you’ll follow my career advice above and ask the questions that will tell you whether or not the coach is right for you!

Your Next Step

School teaches you everything except how to get the job. You must invest time in learning the right way to job search. I just finished a new set of training videos - they're all about executing an easier job search in this economy. You can check them out here >>   Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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