Top Career Coaches: How To Find The Best Career Coach In A Sea Of Options

by | Career Growth, Finding A Job

Finding the best career coach for your needs can be an overwhelming process, and it doesn’t help that a Google search for “top career coaches” returns thousands of results.

As someone deeply passionate about educating top talent on the modern job market, I’ve written several articles, both for my job search blog and Forbes column, on how to vet these lists of “top career coaches” and how to choose the right one. Here is a sampling:

I’ve also appeared in many top career coach lists myself, including:

Important: While some websites produce lists to spotlight the best career coaches, others simply use them as marketing ploys to leverage the names and brands of those they feature in order to drive traffic to their own websites.

In this article, I summarize my top strategies for finding the right coach in a sea of options:

How To Find The Best Career Coach

1. Vet for deep industry experience.

For starters, you want to find a coach who is intimately familiar with your industry and has documented success supporting individuals of your caliber.

You might start by asking,What’s your experience with my specific industry?” This is particularly true if you work in a niche industry, as hiring processes can vary dramatically, and you want someone with deep experience in your area.

You’ll also want to ask, “What’s your history of success in supporting people at my current career stage? If you’re an executive, for instance, are the vast majority of their clients senior leaders?

Depending on the type of support you’re looking for from your coach, you’ll also want to ask, “What percentage of the work you do is focused on [your coaching goal]?” You’ll quickly learn that some coaches are better at big-picture career planning, others are better at tactical resume writing, and a few are exceptional at both.

Any reputable coach should be ready and willing to answer these questions during your initial call and address any follow-up questions that may arise.

[Read: What Is A Career Coach? (And How To Tell If You Need One)]

2. Review and legitimize success stories.

In the digital age, it’s no longer enough for a coach to claim success; they must also be able to back up their claims, so don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials.

The coach should be able to point you to the original review, as anyone can stick a purported success story and stock photo on their website and claim it was from a former client.

3. Understand their coaching methodology.

As you learn about the coach’s experience and history of success, you’ll also want to learn about their approach and methodology.

  • Where did they complete their coach training, and what advanced training they did they attain?
  • How do they stay on top of the latest job search, recruiting, and hiring trends and best practices?
  • What coaching assessments and inventories do they use?

Before your chemistry call, consider developing a list of questions that are important to you in finding the best career coach possible.

[Read: What Does A Career Coach Really Do?]

4. Verify coaching credentials.

Because anyone can claim they hold a coaching credential or are certified to administer an assessment, you’ll need to confirm the coach is active and in good standing.

Personally speaking, I hyperlink to my credentials, many industry memberships, and advanced training throughout my entire website.

Now, if the coach has been doing this for many years and has yet to pursue any formal training, reflect on why that might be and whether they’re truly committed to the craft.

5. Educate yourself on the various coaching business models.

There are many coaching business models out there. Depending on the price point and level of experience, you may be offered one-on-one coaching courses, group coaching, or courses, either run by the business owner themself or by one of their subcontractors.

Ask yourself if you want to work directly with the owner, or if you’re okay working with one of their subcontractors. If you’re not being paired directly with the business owner, you’ll want to again go through the process of verifying the subcontractors’ credentials, success stories, and coaching methodology.

6. Be wary of guarantees.

Some career coaches will offer enticing “guarantees,” such as a new job in 60 days, as part of their marketing.

You’ll want to proceed with extreme caution when reviewing these types of promises, particularly if you’re a senior manager or executive, as this is an unrealistic timeframe for someone at your level.

Plus, what happens if you don’t land a new job in the promised timeframe? You’ll want to read the fine print…

[Read: “How Long Does It Take To Find A New Job?” Answered]

7. Trust your gut.

Speaking of which, you want to listen to your intuition and trust your gut when speaking with prospective coaches.

If a coach promises something that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Please remember that you’re likely going to be getting incredibly vulnerable with this person and sharing a lot of personal information, so you need to trust them. Choosing a coach isn’t a decision to take lightly or rush.

How To Find The Best Career Coach 2

Final Thoughts On Finding The Best Career Coach

There are a lot of fabulous career coaches out there, and I want you to find the best one for you.

Importantly, I’ve always offered no-cost, no-obligation consultations to prospective clients who are looking to learn more about my services and see if we’re a mutual fit. Moreover, I never allow prospective clients to decide on the call that they’re ready to move forward with coaching, as I believe you must have time to reflect on our discussion. You should never feel rushed by a service provider.

Click here to schedule a consultation when you’re ready. If I’m not the best fit for your needs, I’ll provide you with a referral to a trusted industry colleague. 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, Harvard Business Review, 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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