How To Choose The Best Career Coach

by | Career Growth, Finding A Job

A LinkedIn search for “best career coach” populates tens of thousands of results, and a Google search for the same search term populates millions. Working with a coach can improve your clarity, bolster your confidence, and change the trajectory of your career (and life), though trying to choose a career coach can quickly become overwhelming since there are so many options to pick from.

In this article, I share how to find the best career coach for your needs. I also answer common questions regarding the coaching process, including what a career coach does, how much career coaching costs, and ways to evaluate whether it’s worth the investment.

How Do I Choose A Good Career Coach?

Finding the right career coach takes time. Here’s what you can do to evaluate potential coaches:

1. Ask for recommendations from those you trust.

Collecting recommendations from trusted colleagues, mentors, and friends is a good place to start when trying to pick a career coach. If you’re active in Facebook groups or Slack channels, you can also use these groups to ask for recommendations for career coaches who may be a fit.

Note: You want to seek out a coach who is experienced in working with someone of your caliber, especially if you’re a senior manager or executive, since you will face unique challenges in your job search and career.

2. Look for coaches who are active in your industry.

You also want a coach who understands your industry, so consider seeking out career coaches who are active in your field. See who regularly publishes articles in relevant trade publications and who is a guest and speaks at industry conferences.

Here are a few examples of coaching and resume writing associations:

You will want to be sure to check the directory and ensure that the coach is an active member and in good standing with the organization.

3. Be mindful of top career coach lists and scams.

As I’ve shared previously with Forbes, you want to be mindful of “top career coach lists” you may find online, as many of these are simply marketers attempting to drive traffic to their websites. While I was proudly named a LinkedIn Top Voice for Job Search & Careers (the platform’s highest honor), I’ve also been added to lists created by competitors simply looking to leverage my online presence.

Speaking of which, you want to keep an eye out for online coaching scams. Because the coaching industry is currently unregulated, anyone can claim they’re a top career coach and advise you on your job search. You must do your research when looking for a coach.

4. Conduct your due diligence.

Finally, schedule consultations with several potential career coaches before selecting the best one for your needs and goals. Don’t hold back during your chemistry call either. Ask them any and all questions you may have about your prospective coach’s background, experience, education, certifications, coaching process and philosophy, and typical clients.

As part of your selection process, be sure to conduct research beyond the coach’s website:

  • Review their social media channels.
  • Check their LinkedIn profile to confirm the legitimacy of their client testimonials.
  • Confirm they don’t have any complaints against them filed with the Better Business Bureau.

What Does A Career Coach Do?

A career coach supports you in navigating your job search and career with additional clarity and confidence. They partner with you to identify your goals, develop a plan of action, and take meaningful steps toward them.

You might reach out to a career coach for help when you looking to:

  • Find a new job (internally or externally)
  • Grow or change in your career
  • Navigate a workplace challenge
  • Overcome imposter syndrome

Importantly, a coach will not choose your career path and find a job for you. You must be willing and ready to put in the time, energy, and effort if you want to see results. It’s your career, after all!

How Much Does A Career Coach Cost?

The cost to work with a career coach can vary dramatically, from free at your university’s career center to tens of thousands of dollars for a high-end practitioner. Most certified coaches who work full-time charge several hundred dollars per session.

As you evaluate the cost of career coaching services, you will want to factor in the coach’s education, advanced training, certification, location, niche, and typical client. For instance, a coach working with senior managers and executives (raises hand) is likely going to charge more than a coach working with students or recent graduates, since the value generated by the advice is much higher.

Is It Worth It To Hire A Career Coach?

Job seekers often want to hire a “reverse recruiter” to find a job for them. Although this sounds in theory, consider whether you really want to outsource your career and reputation to someone else. Probably not. While you ultimately must decide whether hiring a career coach is worth the investment, imagine what it would cost you to not work with one.

If you’re thinking of hiring a career coach, ask yourself:

  • What would your job search and career look like 3, 6, or 12 months from now if you didn’t take strategic and intentional action toward your goals?
  • What might your job search and career look like 3, 6, or 12 months from now if you did take strategic and intentional action toward your goals?
  • Can you do this on your own? Do you want to do this on your own?

Final Thoughts On Selecting The Best Career Coach

While a coach can bring clarity and confidence to your career, you don’t want to rush the process of finding one. Carve out enough time to speak with several practitioners, conduct your research and due diligence, and choose the best career coach for your needs and goals.

Important: You are welcome to contact me or schedule a consultation to discuss career coaching further. I will provide a referral to a trusted industry colleague if I’m not the best fit for you. I’m here for you! You’ve got this!

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

Dr. Kyle Elliott is the founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com. His expertise is in Silicon Valley and high-tech. As a result of working with Dr. Elliott, senior managers and executives have landed jobs at Meta, Amazon, Google, and nearly every other tech giant you can imagine.

A trusted career expert, Dr. Elliott’s words have been featured on Business Insider, CNBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fortune, and The New York Times, among dozens of other leading publications. He has been recognized as a Best Career & Interview Coach, Best Resume Writer for Silicon Valley/Tech Managers & Executives, and LinkedIn Top Voice (the platform’s highest honor).

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