1. What types of clients does the career coach usually work with?
If you’re a recent college graduate, although it may be tempting to meet with an executive coach because you want to be an executive, it may not be the best advice for this point in your career. If you’re coming out of the military and entering the private sector, you should look for a coach who specializes in military-to-civilian or military-to-contractor transitions. Finding someone who “speaks your language” and has helped others in similar situations is key to developing a productive relationship with a career coach.
2. Does the career coach offer a free consultation?
A free consultation will help you get a better sense of your chemistry with a career coach. It’s not all about qualifications (though they’re certainly important, too!) – it’s also about finding someone who you feel comfortable talking to… After you have a consult, you should come away with some clear ideas on the types of things you would work on with the coach and an idea of that coach’s methodologies. Some coaches rely heavily on assessments and tests, while others focus more on building a rapport. Do you want a coach who thinks spirituality is an important part of your career path? Do you want a coach who is more of a listener than an advice-giver? Do you want a coach who is the same gender or age as you are? There are no “right” answers – it’s about finding a fit.
3. What are the coach’s credentials?
Career coaching is still an unregulated field – and having a certification is no guarantee of competence, but a committed career coach isn’t just winging it – this is a profession that requires a lot of study and practice. Having studied with a well-respected institution such as the Career Planning & Adult Development Network is a good sign that a coach has been exposed to well-accepted methodologies in the industry. An established career coach should have no problems telling you what her credentials are and where they are from. Again, different clients are looking for different things from their career coach – if your main concern is conducting a job search, finding someone with expertise in recruiting, resumes, and interviewing might be a good idea. If your main goal is to move up within your current place of employment, you may want to find someone who has a strong background in human resources and staff development.