Are you thinking of getting help with your career change or job search? Here are 3 tips based on mistakes I’ve made or watched others make, both as a career coach/consultant and as a client of career coaches.
Tip #1: Get clear on what you need and what you can expect.
Job search takes time and energy. You can hire the greatest coach in the world, but if you work 80 hours a week you just don’t have time to do anything. You need time to network, make phone calls, get information together, rehearse for interviews and a whole lot more.
Often a career coach can speed up your job search. However, if you are an executive, you need more than few weeks to reach success. Changing to a whole new career will most likely take six months to three years. For instant results, invest in a magic wand, not a career coach.
Tip #2: Choose a coach who understands how the career game is played, not who has a wall full of diplomas.
Clients often are confused by titles: career coach? counselor? consultant?
A counselor often has passed courses in counseling and might be licensed in your state. In many states anyone can call himself or herself a counselor. A trained counselor often focuses on test-taking. A counselor with mental health training can be valuable if you have emotional issues associated with work.
Coaches typically are trained in a form of communication that involves dialogue and questions. In contrast, consultants are more likely to give direct advice. However, anyone can call himself or herself a coach or consultant.
If credentials are important to you, ask the prospective coach, “How will your training help you do a better job as you work with me to find a new career?”
My own irreverent view is that the coach’s credentials are less important than his or her knowledge of the real world. Can she read between the lines of a want ad? Can he help you interpret a bizarre interview response?
Tip #3: Free coaching is worth what you pay for it.
Occasionally a new coach will offer free coaching to build a client base. I did this myself but found it was not helpful to me or the client. Clients who seek free coaching tend to differ significantly from those who understand they have to pay.
Coaching from your family and friends may be helpful in terms of helping you assess your strengths. If your mom says, “You always were organized, even as a child,” file that away for future career choices. However, many successful people will lead you astray because they don’t realize the job market has changed and indeed the world has changed.
Never, ever seek career advice from a prospective employer or recruiter. They are not being paid to help you so they will experience a conflict of interest if they honestly want to do what’s best for you.
To learn more about my services, you can go here.
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