Ever used an executive coaching firm?
June 22, 2010 2:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm considering hiring an executive coaching firm to help with my job search. If you or someone you know has done this, I'd like to hear your thoughts. Also, other tips/tricks staying motivated thru an extended (year-plus) job search?

Search is now 14 months, position level is mid/senior mgmt. Firm seems to have a good reputation. Fee is substantial, program is three months of intensive structured search assistance -- positioning, networking, interviewing, some industry contacts, etc.

Having done this on my own for so long, I'm looking for a partner to help me regain the energy and I had for the first nine-12 months. I'm not going to name the firm but if you've done anything like this it would be great if you could share your experience. Also, any thoughts on keeping motivated over a long job search would be great.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Work & Money (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
When I was laid off the last time from , they (the new owners) provided excellent services through an executive-level coaching firm. The setting was different from what you are facing - there were roughly 2500 of us being laid off, so they had classes, job fairs, etc.
However, the one-on-one stuff I got from my job counselor was pure gold. He helped me re-write/polish/think about my resume and cover letters in ways I hadn't explored.
He also had a weekly Job Club, where a bunch of us who were his clients would come in and share stories with what we had done in the past week. (Mind you, we had each developed a specific strategy, which involved researching companies, finding target employers, etc.) That was extremely valuable, because it kept me honest about my efforts. I think that experience and being held 'accountable' to this group of my peers, and to my job counselor did as much as anything to keep me motivated. I did find a job in 7.5 months - so about half as long as you've been looking.
You might try meeting with other folks in your situation (as in the Job Club above) - we shared events, networked with one another and were generally cheer leaders for each other - but in a useful way.
The other value of the counselor was that he did keep my spirits up - I always walked out feeling better about myself and my prospects after meeting with him - a huge help when you're unemployed.
If you'd like more detail, me-mail me.
Best of luck!

posted by dbmcd at 4:45 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I used a coach in 1998, to interview with what was--though I wasn't entirely sure at the time--a friendly search committee for a replacement executive director. It was totally worthwhile.

The thing to remember is that coaching is not a way to mask your deficits, assuming you have them, it is a help to augmenting your strengths, and to avoiding common pitfalls.

While I am a big fan of coaches, I would add the caution that the firm you're considering can't get a job for you. It's up to you. I would also add that a three-month program seems more about making you feel better than about getting you a job.

Ultimately, if you get the job, it won't be because of coaching. It will be because you know how to emphasize what you're good at, and why.

If it matters, I'm on my third contract with this org.

Good luck to you.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 4:58 PM on June 22, 2010

I got a career coach as part of my package for being laid off. I guess I am a mid-level professional (early 30s, working in same industry for about 7 years) and was looking to shift industries and eventually the type of position I was in. I found it useful in terms of evaluating my strengths, being honest about my weaknesses, really strengthening my CV for the type of move I wanted to make (it was good to start with, but this made a lot of difference), and also setting out possible paths to the type of career I want. This is what I asked for - if I had wanted more help with directly finding work, it would have focussed more on that aspect.

I think whether it would be worthwhile for you may depend on why you think your search has been 14 months. Yes, I know all that stuff about x months per $10k of salary (well, no idea if it is true, but have read it).

Is it because in the geographic area you are considering, there just aren't that many jobs in your field at your level? If that's the case, it really may not help you if you do not want to broaden your search in terms of industry, lateral moves, or geography.

Is it because you are trying to do a career change (either industry, position or both)? It may help, because they will give you a good outsiders perspective on your experience and help you reshape it to your new career.

Is it because actually you are writing terrible applications and/or performing badly at interviews? Note that I think it is difficult for people to evaluate themselves on this, so at 14 months, at least some professional advice may be useful. Depends what your hit rate on getting interviews has been, and any feedback you have had.

My deal with the career coach was five sessions (about 1.5 hours each) and unlimited telephone advice until I got a job. I used four of the sessions, and while I am sure I could have found a way to use up the 5th, I didn't need it at that time. My career coach gave me enough starting points that I was really able to set off on my own, once he'd done a few exercises with me and given me a few different things to think about. After each session, I felt quite motivated and would look at some new aspects of my job search. I had the sessions a few weeks apart.

Maybe it would be worth considering a more limited package (if available - through them or someone else) to see what they can offer you in the key areas in which you need assistance.
posted by AnnaRat at 10:47 PM on June 22, 2010

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