How To Find the Right Career Coach For You

career Jul 08, 2021
Standing out

Ok, so last week, I talked about needing a NEW definition of "career." If we redefine the idea of a career, we have to expand how we talk about a career coach

While I'm a certified senior professional career and executive coach, I actually consider myself to be a career strategist specifically focusing on high-achieving women at midlife who are looking for direction, to pivot, transition, or advance in their career. I'm also a certified personal and digital brand strategist and I bring my experience as an organizational development consultant, labor and employment attorney, and doctorate in human development and social psychology into my practice to help my clients have the life and career they desire and deserve.  

Because I bring so much experience, education, training, and certifications to the table for my clients, and due to the transformational nature of my work and outcomes, I don't often describe myself as a career coach and instead use career strategist.

What I actually do with my clients extends beyond the normal definition. When you typically think of a career coach, you think job search, resume writing, and interview prep, and while I do touch on these things, I do sooooo much more.

My way of being a career coach

I came to this work primarily through my own experience of finding meaningful work aligned to who I am and how I want to live and work in the world. Having served in a variety of leadership positions as a Human Resources Director, Director of Diversity and Professional Development, director of three graduate programs, and Associate Dean in multiple industries, I have a unique insight into various professions, organizations, and workplace policies and practices. I also have an extensive understanding of a variety of job functions through my work as a labor and employment attorney and through building job descriptions and compensation plans for organizations. 

However, as a social scientist studying human and personal development, psychology, identity development, and intersectionality, I know that doing meaningful work is more than a resume or job application. Overall, this means the way I define career informs the way I work with my clients on their careers.

While my experience and education separate me from most other career coaches, my approach and methodology also differentiate me from traditional career coaches. My practice is:

It's holistic: My clients frequently tell me that a session with me feels more like therapy than a career clarity session. In fact, a few have told me they get more from our sessions than they have from their therapy sessions. While I'm NOT a therapist, I don't look at my clients' careers in a vacuum. Instead, I believe your work should be aligned and integrated within your life. This requires me to help my clients see what they do in relation to their life, family, and long-term goals. 

It's educational: The traditional coaching rules ask that I not instruct but rather help you find the answer. While at the core of my work, I will help you discover your own path (after all, it's your path), I've found that most people are stuck in a traditional paradigm of work defined outside of themselves instead of by them. There's also a lack of awareness of how intersectionality, race, gender, power, and identity politics play a role in figuring out what you want to do and how you do it. As a former professor, I can't help but educate my clients on what will help them be better informed and equipped to design a career they love. Also, sometimes you need to guide folks in the right direction to avoid any land mines and pitfalls ahead.  

It's personal: I've worked in retail, fast-food, finance, transportation, government, union, legal, education, healthcare, religious, manufacturing, and executive search/recruiting industries. So, I've been there and done that. In fact, it's what inspired me to represent the rights of employees as an attorney. I've also had my own career crisis, quit jobs, been downsized, been let go, started a business, moved across the country and started over, been full-time, part-time, been a stay-at-home mom, divorced, a single mom, been the primary breadwinner and the co-financial supporter of my family. My experiences inform my work and uniquely positions me to support my clients with their real-world challenges. 

It's branding: Because I'm a certified personal brand specialist and certified image consultant, my clients get something many other career coaches can't offer...personal branding. Once your message is clear, you have to deliver it, both how you look and what you say. So when you work with me, we'll make sure you show up powerfully in person and the digital space. Since we conduct more business online than face-to-face these days, my clients receive this as a key benefit.

It's lovingly firm: Because I love my clients, I speak the truth with love. That means I'll be honest and promise to keep it real by pushing you when you need it, challenging you when you're clinging to your comfort zone, and encouraging you to embrace your power and significance. I will hold your vision and what's possible for you even when you can't see it and when it's you step into it and own it. I got you!

Ultimately, what I provide my clients is exactly what I wish I had when I was in the midst of my own career crisis. So, while I'm not a traditional career coach, you can call me that as long as you're clear on what I actually do.

Are you ready to hire a career coach? If the answer is yes, follow these tips to ensure you find the one that's right for you.

How to determine a good career coach?

Referrals are always a great way to find a great coach. I get most of my business through referrals. However, coaching as an industry is not highly regulated, so going through industry directories may or may not serve you. If you do find a coach you like, check their website for testimonials. If people are sharing the love, they're most likely someone you can trust.

How to pick the right career coach?

First, read through websites, posts on social media, and any blogs or articles they've written to see if you're aligned to their values and mission. Also, be sure they can help solve your problem or get the results you're seeking.

How to hire a career coach?

Once you've selected the right coach for you, you'll join their program and sign an agreement and pay either a deposit, payment in full, or, if you'll be working with the coach over time, agree to a payment plan. It's important to be prepared to invest in yourself if you're seeking a career coach because it's a commitment of time and energy for both you and your coach. 

If this is the type of comprehensive support, you need to gain career clarity, make a career pivot or transition, or advance your career, click the link below and apply to the Career Rebel Academy™ and receive an exclusive invite to my private training. 

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