11 Questions To
By Rob Sullivan, Author
There are a number of factors to consider before investing your time, money, and effort in hiring a career coach.
To save you time upfront, let's start with the first and most important question: "Do you even need a coach?"
After all, if the
answer is "No", there's no point in reading the rest of the article. If the
answer is "Yes", we'll look deeper at the other issues you'll want to
To begin, ask yourself the following questions:
If you answered "Yes" to even one question above, working with a career coach could help you streamline your efforts.
If you answered "Yes" to more than 3 questions, the right career coach could help you shave weeks or months off your search. When you think about what you expect to earn in a typical week, the opportunity cost of NOT working with a coach is probably a lot higher than the investment you'd make with even the most expensive coach.
Other Questions To Consider
To help you make the best decision about what makes sense for your situation, I've compiled a list of answers to the most common questions I get regarding career coaches.
career coach is a person who provides objective feedback to help job hunters
(and employees working toward advancement) approach the process more
efficiently and strategically.
good coach can add value to every part of the process including, but not
limited to, the self-assessment process, resume writing, cover letter
writing, networking, interviewing, negotiating, and career change. Some
people only require assistance from coaches in limited areas like
interviewing. Others need help across all areas.
The primary reason to hire a coach is to improve your chances to compete effectively for the positions that most interest you. The fact is, very few people enjoy—or are particularly adept at—marketing themselves. As a result, many people endure job searches that are longer than necessary.
good coach will work with you to set objectives upfront. From these,
you should work together to establish an action plan that makes sense.
Remember, there are no cookie-cutter solutions or plans. Everyone is
different. Beware of any coach who doesn’t take the time to tailor an
approach consistent with your background and objectives.
The best way to find a career coach is through word-of-mouth. Ask everyone you know if they know anyone who has ever worked with a coach. Once you find someone, take time to interview that person. Be sure to get answers to the following questions:
Most importantly, make sure you are comfortable with
the person. After all, you’ll be working closely together. The process can
actually be fun—enjoy it as much as possible!
right time to hire a career coach varies from person to person. Some people
don’t realize they need a career coach until they find themselves struggling
to get past initial interviews. Other people hire a coach the minute they
realize they aren’t getting results from their cover letters, resumes, or
networking. Still others know they need help from the initial stages of
doing a self-assessment and putting a resume together. In general, though,
it is far better to hire a career coach early in the process. The longer you
wait, the more likely the situation is to escalate into a stressful,
emotionally charged, or even desperate situation.
Not at all important. Organizations that offer “certifications” in different aspects of career development exist purely as a means to make their founders rich. The fact is, anyone can create an official-sounding “institute” and offer certifications on a variety of topics. More often than not, these organizations are not out to improve the quality of career coaching, resume writing, or any other area. If they were, hiring managers and recruiting professionals wouldn’t find themselves constantly wading through a sea of resumes to find the estimated 1% that are actually effective.
Incidentally, this 1% estimate has been confirmed time and again by
spontaneous surveys of HR professionals and hiring managers who have been in
my audience over the past few years. Judging from the thousands of resumes I
read as an executive headhunter, I personally think 1% is on the high side.
fees you pay a coach, like other job-search-related expenses, are tax
deductible in many areas. Check with your tax advisor to be sure.
Here again, there are no rules of thumb for what you should pay. Ideally,
you, the job hunter, should be able to look back and think, “That was a
terrific investment.” At the same time, the career coach should be able to
say, “I was fairly paid for my services.” To achieve this win-win scenario,
be open to the possibility of a value-based fee. While more and more people
are adopting this approach, the majority still charge hourly fees ranging
anywhere from $75 to $500 per hour. Whatever you do, avoid companies that
charge exorbitant fees upfront. More than a few times, I’ve heard about
people who paid $10,000, $20,000 or more with the “guarantee” that they’d
find a job. Unfortunately, not one of these people had anything to show for
coaches offer on-going programs. Is that a good idea?
How many sessions
does the average person need?
My goal is not to make you or anyone else dependent on me. My goal is to teach you what I know so you can apply the principles as needed. Given this, about 50% of my coaching clients do not require additional sessions. The initial two-hour session is enough.
Another 30-40% of my clients return for an additional session to focus on a particular area. Of these, most fall into two categories: people who want additional help with resumes and cover letters, and people who want to do mock interviews to get feedback on how they are presenting themselves.
The remaining 10-20% of my clients take advantage of
the various coaching packages to gain the benefit of ongoing feedback on all
aspects of their job search.
Let's say you decide not to work with a career coach. Where will that leave you? Will you get the job or promotion using your current strategy? Probably not.
Will you be kicking yourself for the rest of your life if you didn't try everything possible to get that job? Only you can answer that question.
I can't make the decision for you. It's 100% up to you. I can help you, but you've got to take the first step. If you get stuck or need private coaching, I've included my contact information and a link to additional information about my coaching below so you don't have to go through this alone. I've also included a free eBook to get you started. Just click the link below.
All the best,
Click here to find out about Rob's work as a career coach!