Is it Time for a Coach?

By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Debra Wheatman

Have you thought about engaging a career or life coach? How do you know when you need one? How do you go about finding one? What can a career coach do for you? These are all good questions.

If you have found yourself looking for the next step in your career but are not sure how to get there, or you are interested in pursuing a new path a career coach might be just what you need. These are only two reasons to engage a coach – there are many others, not the least of which is to help motivate and inspire you, seek personal growth, develop self confidence, or launch a job search.

There are different types of coaches.Some help with career planning and management; some help with executive branding; some help with public presenting, and others help with attainment of personal goals or managing difficult issues. No matter what type of coach you need or think you need, the proper due diligence must be conducted prior to engaging a coach. Below are some tips that will help you identify and select the appropriate resource to meet your needs:

·Do some research online. There are many coaches available. Google the words ‘career coach’ and you will find a plethora of information, including websites of various types of coaches. Make a list of a few and place some calls.

·Ask Questions. When you speak to a coach, ask her about her style, how she works with clients. Get an understanding of the coach’s discipline and how she comes to understand and apply her knowledge to help her clients.

·Get References. Ask the coach if there is anyone that she has worked with in the recent past that would be willing to share information about the experience. Ask for testimonials. Check out the coach’s website and LinkedIn page. Try to learn as much as you can about the person before signing up for the services.

·Understand how it Works. Don’t just sign up for something without fully comprehending how the program works. Many coaches have packages of sessions. Gain a full understanding of what is offered and the timeline in which services will be delivered.

·Ask for an Outline. Based on a preliminary fact finding discussion, ask the coach to provide you with a quick outline of what you can expect to gain from the sessions. Many coaches have their clients do ‘homework’; much of the work will need to be completed by you to ensure success. It is important to understand how much time you will be investing in the homework for the sessions to yield results.

·Get Pricing. Don’t sign up for any services before you fully understand how the process works. Ask how long each coaching session will be. Is it via phone or in person? Does the coach work via single sessions, or only through a package deal? Are finances a big consideration? If so, ask the coach if group coaching is available at a discounted rate.

·Obtain Additional Support. Does the coaching include any additional support mechanisms like teleseminars or webinars? This is an added bonus that should be taken into consideration. Also ask the coach if he provides any written materials for you to use or reference as part of the program.

Going through these steps and conducting the appropriate level of research will ensure that you not only choose the right coach for your individual needs, but will also facilitate the establishment of a productive relationship that will help you reach your goals.

Debra Wheatman is an authorized DISC Administrator and Chief Career Officer, Connect to her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.