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  • Leslie Juvin-Acker

How To Spot A Real Career Coach

Are you worried about the future of your career? Don’t know what to do next? Think you need some help but don’t know how to choose a coach that is right for you? Consider these main factors in choosing a life or career coach:

1.CERTIFICATION AND EDUCATION There are no governing bodies or institutions that regulate the coaching profession. No licenses are required, either, meaning there are a lot of fakes and quacks posing as career coaches.  That is why you should investigate the educational background and/or professional training of your coach in question. Some coaches have bachelors, masters, or doctorates degrees in social sciences or in some kind of business field while others might have just a four-six week certificate from a company that provides coaching training, which are not always accredited.

Check out what school or training program your coach went to, ask about their field of study, and their investigate their motivations for pursuing coaching. A trustworthy coach will have no problems answering your questions and sharing information about their educational background.

2.PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AND REPUTATION Your career coach should be able to explain his or her professional experience to you and how they add up to serve you. Also, ask if you’re unsure about their reputation, ask to speak with his or her past or current colleagues to see how they are as a professional. Do they have a good reputation as a professional? Have they been known to exploit or use others? After all, you don’t to want take career advice from someone whose career isn’t particularly stellar!

3.TESTIMONIALS Check out your coach’s website. Do they have testimonials? Where do these professionals work? Can you easily find these people online or in the phone book? If not, don’t be afraid to ask if he/she can connect you with past clientele. Check out websites such as Yelp or facebook.

What are people saying about this professional and his/her body of work? Find out what their experience of working with this coach was like. What did they get from the experience or service? Don’t be afraid to reach out to past and current clients. Your career is important, so take the time ensure you’re making the right hiring decision.

4. SERVICES Your career coach will either provide career counseling services – such as working only on job searching skills and plans – or has a variety of services to offer such as career planning/counseling and coaching, resume services, and skills assessment.

Career counselors are likely to provide career assessment, resume building services, cover letter writing, and job seeking strategy advice. Career/Life coaches are likely to help you identify work performance/relationship problems, they will help you identify objectives for improving your life outside of work, and will help you create a better future as opposed to delving into your past to resolve psychological issues.

Ask what kind of services your career coach offers to determine if he or she can provide specific or well-balanced career coaching or training.

Avoid coaches who have a one-size-fits-all, conveyor belt system. A stellar coach will get to know you personally and professionally over the course of coaching and will work tirelessly with you to create customized plans and goals that you are confident in achieving. Fostering a learning process of self-study and creating measurable results are the basis of our work. An excellent coach will make no promises, but will stand by their work and dedication to your success.

5. ACCESSIBILITY Coaching can be done in person, over the phone, individually, or in groups. Some coaches prefer to work one on one for the purpose of creating a trusting, distraction free environment where clients can share their fears and hopes. Other coaches provide training and coaching in group settings to build teamwork and group understanding.

In today’s global economy, coaches are available to clients all over the globe. Give tele-coaching a shot to see if it’s right for you. Some clients prefer face to face. Some coaches can come directly to your office or you may have to visit their office. Ask how your coach in question is available for you.


Does your career coach: • Have a grandiose sense of self-importance? • Promises unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love? • Believes they are “special” and can only be understood by, or should associate with, people (or institutions) who are also “special” or of high status? • Believe successful people require excessive admiration? • Believes he/she and his/her clients must possess a sense of entitlement? • Believes in interpersonal exploitation? • Lacks empathy? • Encourages envy or believes others are envious of him/her and his/her clients? • Displays arrogant, proud behaviors or attitudes?

If so, you’ve successfully hired a career coach with narcissistic personality disorder! This trick question serves to demonstrate that a coach should dedicate his/her work towards your success and should be able to help you understand and develop your roles at work and in your personal life.

You should feel comfortable discussing work situations with your coach and to envision your ideal world without judgment. Your conversations should also flow freely without inhibition. The purpose of the coaching relationship is to establish trust and a cooperative spirit so you can begin working on what you desire to achieve with your career.

7. CONDUCT A CONSULTATION Use the first consultation to learn about a coach and his/her methods in addition to explaining why you seek coaching. Some coaches offer thirty minutes, others offer one hour. Use this time wisely and respectfully. Don’t just talk to one coach, either. Talk to at least three.

8. FEES A career coach can charge by the hour, by the package, or by the month. Higher fees don’t always mean better results. Evaluate all of the 7 aforementioned criteria when determining which coach fits within your price range. You should invest in your career, but you shouldn’t have to break your bank to do so. See if your career coach offers any types of payment plans, student discounts, and so on.


Leslie, Inc. offers solutions for finding happiness through one-on-one coaching, mindful leadership retreats, and digital products. If you’re ready to GET HAPPY, check out Leslie’s guide packs. For more tips on achieving your state of happiness, sign up for Leslie, Inc’s weekly newsletter.

#career #careerdevelopment

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