How to find the right career coach for you

You know that you aren’t happy in your job and you want to find something else, but even figuring out where to start can be difficult. Most people can’t just up and quit their job (and I wouldn’t recommend it anyway), so you need to figure out a plan. Sure, you can talk to your friends for advice, but sometimes it helps to have someone with experience who can provide a little more guidance than your bestie.

Or maybe you’ve tried a bunch of different things and you’re feeling stuck.

Either way, that’s where a career coach comes in.

A career coach is basically a life coach who specializes in helping people with their careers. We’re not licensed therapists, though some of us have psychology backgrounds. A life coach can’t give medical advice and shouldn’t be telling you what to do — the job of a coach is to guide you to find the answers for yourself.

How to find a coach

I have found some of my favorite mentors and support people by asking others who they’d recommend. Ask your friends, Facebook groups, or even at your favorite yoga studio or gym. You can always do a good ol’ Google search, but you never know what’s going to come up there.

There are also plenty of coaches and resources on Instagram if you search #careercoach or #careercoaching.

What to look for in a coach

Above all else, you’ll want to find someone that you click with and that you can trust. In my opinion, the best way to do that is for the coach to offer a free session so that you can chat and get a sense of whether or not you’d be a good fit for each other.

But even before that, you can generally get a sense of a coach’s personality and vibe from their website. Read their about page, check out their services, read a couple testimonials — do you find yourself nodding your head yes or feeling ready to sign-up before you even talk to them? If so, that’s a good sign.

On the other hand, if you feel turned off or something isn’t sitting right, they’re not for you (and that’s totally okay). A coach should make it super clear who they work with and if that’s not you, that will narrow it down right way.

Other things to consider when looking for a career coach:

  • Price. Can you afford to work with them? Tip: It never hurts to ask about a payment plan, so don’t automatically count them out over money!
  • Availability. If they live in Europe and you live in the United States, is there a time that works for you both to have your sessions?
  • Support. Do they offer support in between sessions? Is that something you really need?
  • System. Does the coach have a system or process in place for working with clients? Is there a clear endpoint or goal at the end of your time together?

A perfect example of what I’m talking about is looking at my coaching practice vs. Laura Simms. Laura is a wonderful career coach and she has a much different vibe than I do, which means she will likely attract different clients. And then there is Michelle Ward, who was my career coach. All three of us are career coaches and all three of us have very different approaches that will likely resonate with different people.

If choosing a coach feels overwhelming, start with their websites. Poke around the blog and sign up for their newsletter. You’ll start to get a sense of their personality and the kinds of topics they cover. You’ll probably get some good nuggets of wisdom from there and then the decision will become more clear.

2 Responses
  1. Great point about signing up for newsletters, Abbie. I’ve gotten A TON out of the newsletters I subscribe to—and have definitely learned why I’m interested in certain coaches more than others. Also, a lot of coaches become more conversational in their newsletters, which is a great way to get a sense of what it would be like to talk with them live.

    1. Abbie

      Thanks Helen! I think it’s a super easy way to get to know someone’s vibe, so happy to hear it’s worked well for you 🙂

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