Look for Good Fit and Experience
In Part II of my post, “How to Choose an ‘Emotional Pitstop’”, I discussed when a career coach might be the optimal choice to help you with a major career issue. But like me, you’ve probably seen a gazillion Web sites, books, etc. promoting “life coaches,” “executive coaches” and even “life career coaches” and it gets confusing. How do you know what to look for in a qualified career coach? What about licensing and/or certification?
To find out more, I talked to career coach and writer Julie Erickson, who identifies herself as a “career transformation coach.” In addition to coaching, Erickson writes extensively on career issues.
1. I’m not exactly sure if I know what a career coach does?
“With a career coach, you have an ally in the work world. It can be difficult to work alone – as a business owner, a leader of a company or division – anywhere you aren’t free to openly share your concerns, worries, difficult decisions, dreams and hopes. A coach is your sounding board and thought partner, someone who you trust to help you navigate through the work challenges you face every day.”
2. Should I look for someone with a good general knowledge-base or is it important that my coach understand my industry?
“Coaches keep up with the state of the art of management, leadership, team-building, human resources, organizational development and more. It can be helpful to work with a coach who knows your specific industry, but it’s not necessary because you are the ‘subject matter expert.’ A coach guides you to find the best solutions in your situation.”
3. How do I go about finding the right coach? What qualifications, professional certification, etc., should I look for?
“Check with the International Coach Federation (IFC), which certifies coaches who use their specific methodology. Certification is one indicator that a coach knows his or her business and has some experience coaching. To be certified, you must take exams, coach a certain number of hours, have a certified coach as a mentor, and submit both a coaching log and a tape of an actual coaching session that meets IFC standards.
4. How do I go about finding the coach who is the best fit for me?
“Get a referral from a current or past client. If a friend or colleague has worked with a coach, they are a great judge of the coach’s effectiveness. Once you get names of one or two coaches, it’s up to you to interview them and see which one is the right one for you. Most coaches will do a free consult to see if there is a good fit. If a coach will not do that, move on to one who will.”
This is a post by Nancy LaFever. You can read more from her at the Centre for Emotional Wellbeing blog.