I’ve met all too many people who hired coaches and later regretted their decision. Too few career books offer solid tips about hiring a coach to work with you.
This advice also applies to business coaches, too!
(1) Be clear on what you want from the coach.
If you’re not clear, it’s a good idea to schedule one session just to assess where you are in the program. Sometimes a life coach will be helpful if you want to sort out emotional vs. career challenges.
Be aware that many (perhaps most) career coaches are neither qualified nor interested in dealing with non-career issues. A career coach usually can’t address the emotional aftermath of a tough divorce or your limitations due to a spouse’s forthcoming retirement or a child’s tantrums about moving to a new location.
It’s usually a good idea to work with a therapist on emotional issues before embarking on a career change.
(2) Try to get one paid session before committing to a larger program.
Many coaches will refuse to do this. However, it’s the best way to find out how the coaching will go. A “free” session typically focuses on logistics and “are we a good fit.”
You want to discover whether the coach is a good listener and whether she “gets” where you’re coming from. You want to get a sense of what will be required if you work together.
Give yourself at least a day or two after the session to see how you feel. Are you energized? Are you beginning to take action steps?
Or do you feel uncomfortable? Did you come away feeling you’re lacking in some way?
You won’t get a strong indication from a free session. The whole dynamic shifts when money changes hands.
(2) The biggest waste of money isn’t related to the cost or the competence of the coach, unless you chose a real dud.
In my experience, the biggest waste comes when people spend money to hire me but don’t follow through with action.
That’s one reason I recommend starting with a paid session. You’ll often get an “assignment” (if you like that word) or recommended action steps. If you find yourself resisting, you know that either (a) the coach is all wrong for you; (b) you’re not ready to make a move; or (c) you’ve got resistance issues beyond the scope of the coach.
Sometimes you want to take action, but you don’t have time.
When a client says, “I can talk to you only on evenings and weekends,” I have to wonder how that client will find time for informational interviews, let alone serious action steps further down the road.
If there’s no way to make time, you may have to save up your money and just take time off. If you’re working sixty hours a week, hopefully you’re being compensated appropriately. If not, definitely you need to explore new opportunities, with or without a career coach.
Check out the Mid-Life Career Change Guide: 21-Day Extreme Career Makeover.
Visit my career change website – http://MidlifeCareerStrategy.com
Visit my business website – http://CathyGoodwin.com