Tina Turner sings “She Works Hard for the Money” and you do too! So it makes complete sense that you don’t want to hand your hard-earned dollars over to a service – whether it be a hairdresser, financial planner, interior designer or career coach – without confidence that you will get what you are paying for and love the result!
But how can you have comfort that handing money over to a career coach will be worth it?
Let’s start by looking at what career coaches actually do and then the case for why they may be worth your money. Lastly, we will look at how to choose the best career coach for you.
What Do Career Coaches Do?
The role of a career coach is to assist you to:
- Land that dream job/career;
- Identify a suitable career change for you and your skills and interests;
- Foster success at work;
- Resolve feelings of discontentment, frustration or anger about your current job;
- Work through conflict or confusion about your job;
- Understand yourself i.e. what you like, value, want and do well;
- Plan, develop and manage your career path;
- Identify work stressors and help you manage them;
- Navigate through office politics;
- Discuss issues that impact on your career and professional happiness.
You will note that a career coach doesn’t ‘get’ you any of these things (in the dot points), they can only ‘assist’ you. Ultimately, it is YOU who gets yourself where you want to be.
A career coach can give you advice, guidance, and information. They can ask you the appropriate questions so that you gain clarity about what you need to learn, know or do to move towards your own career goal/s. They can hold you accountable to your own commitments to yourself. They can give you feedback and input coming from a place of knowledge and experience. They can help you identify your success blockers and barriers and help you develop strategies to remove them so you have a clear path to success. Well a good career coach can anyway!
Guarantees And Fake Promises
Career coaches can’t come with a genuine guarantee. They can’t promise you that you will achieve your coaching goal/s because there are too many variables outside of their (and perhaps even your) control. There’s you, your history, your qualifications, your personality and your actual ‘coachability.” There is how realistic your goals are. Then there are external factors such as the general labour market and your industry/occupation. Similarly, career coaches can’t guarantee you success with a specific advertised job – even if you appear the ideal candidate. For all they know, an internal applicant may already have the job stitched up and the company only advertised to satisfy an internal recruitment policy somewhere!
In the same way as a doctor can’t guarantee wellness, or a therapist can’t guarantee optimum mental health, a career coach can’t guarantee to coach you to your career goal. They can be highly skilled and give it their all but they can’t make it absolute.
If any prospective career coach makes you a promise or a coaching goal guarantee run the other way. As adults we know it is impossible to make a genuine promise for something that we don’t have actual control over.
Unfortunately, however, not all career coaches are honest and act with integrity. The career coaching industry is unregulated. The quality of career coaching in Australia ranges from downright terrible through to downright awesome.
So Is Career Coaching Worth The Money?
So with the above in mind, here’s the case for why career coaches are actually worth the money!
1/. For most full-time employees, there are roughly 250 working days in an Australian calendar year. If we multiply 250 working days by the typical length of a career, that’s a whopping 13,000 working days over a lifetime. That’s far too many days to be doing something unfulfilling. It’s far too many days to be stuck in a job or career that you hate. A career coach can help you identify what you love so you can spend your time – your life – doing just that. As the American Express advertisement says ‘that’s priceless.’ Instead of hanging out for your annual trip to Bali where you can escape your life, spend that money on creating a life you actually want to live. Radical I know!
2/. If you are currently unemployed, a career coach can assist you to prepare and present better for your job search. They can work with you on job search strategies, targeting the hidden job market and improving your confidence/presentation. The sooner you are working, the sooner you have an income coming in. If your career coaching goal is to get you into work quicker, then the payback of coaching could be just that. It could only cost you the equivalent of your first few days pay.
3/. A great career coach works one-on-one with you. They are on your team; working with you on your agenda and goals. They hold a mirror up to you so you can see clearly what you want to do next and should do next. They help you get to where you want to be (wherever that is) through advice, coaching and counselling. They help you identify and remove barriers. They help you take charge, empower you and motivate you. They will give you feedback your friends and family will not.
4/. Career coaches can help you get out of a rut and see the way forward. They present new paths for you to explore and help you navigate through what you can and can’t try in the business world. What is the norm? What is the exception? What can you ask for and expect from your job? What can’t you? They can assist you craft your current job. They can help you through your mid-life career crisis.
5/. They have the tools, checklists, assessments, resources and skills and experience to assist you achieve your career coaching goals. They are highly trained individuals, in Let’s Talk Career’s case anyway, with degrees in human behaviour and over 10+ years experience in recruitment and human resource management. They have worked in the corporate world and understand what it takes to be successful.
As with all professionals you get what you pay for. You pay for their credentials, skills and experience. You pay for their expertise. Good quality career coaches don’t come cheap but they pay for themselves in the outcomes they achieve for, and with, their clients.
Lastly, due to the confidential nature of career coaching, you rarely hear career coaches singing their own praises regarding their clients’ real-life successes. You most certainly don’t hear the specifics. For example, you don’t hear about a person who sent their resume in for a role and heard nothing, then got an interview after working on their resume with a career coach and re-applying for the same re-advertised role. You don’t hear about the career coaching client who negotiated an extra $10K to his package at job offer time. You don’t hear about the career coaching client who couldn’t work out why their career wasn’t pumping at 40, and what behaviour change was needed to make that happen. Our examples are many (sorry, we can’t tell you more!). The ‘secret squirrel’ business of career coaching means that it’s difficult to know realistically what a career coach has done for others, let alone what they can do for you.
So having discussed the ‘watch outs’ and benefits of engaging a career coach, let’s take some time to outline what to look for in a great career coach.
What To Look For In A Great Career Coach?
The trick is to find a great career coach. If you do then they are absolutely worth the money!
To do this, we suggest you:
1/. Clearly articulate your career coaching goals.
What is it you want to achieve? What does success look like to you? Ask them outright what sorts of things your sessions would cover to assist you achieve your goal. Trust your intuition. Do they seem to know what they are talking about?
2/. Read their coaching bios.
Are they credentialed and experienced? Do they have satisfied customers? Ask for testimonials. Do they have a great toolkit of career coaching tools to help you get where you want to be? Without being unkind, it is unlikely that an ex-secretary who changed professions 6 months ago because she/he really likes helping people is going to help you understand your career barriers, or help you land that promotion. Kind-hearted and lovely though they might be!
3/. Ensure you have rapport
For successful coaching to occur, there must be rapport between the coach and the client. You need to feel that you can talk freely and honestly without judgement. You must find the coach’s input insightful and valuable. A coach you just don’t gel with won’t work as effectively as one you have a good connection with. Personality and rapport matters.
So are career coaches worth the money? We think so. With a career coach, people can take control of their own careers and lock in clear plans to get to where they want to go. They can learn the art of job search, career change and promotability. At Let’s Talk Career, we believe you only have one life. Spending your money wisely on creating one that you want is worth it.
Life’s too short to spend 13,000 days not doing what makes you happy most of the time!
If you are interested in discussing your situation, contact us today to book an appointment.
Let’s Talk Career has over 30 executive coaches and career coaches throughout Australia who can coach you through your interview preparation. Call us on 1800 284 255 to learn more.
We would be delighted for you to reproduce our articles, as long as they remain intact and contain the author’s details as follows: ‘Kris Reynolds is Managing Partner at Let’s Talk Career (www.letstalkcareer.com) in Australia. Kris can be contacted on 1800 284 255 or email@example.com