Career coach: worth it?
April 28, 2016 10:45 AM   Subscribe

I have been struggling and stressing over finding a job. I've found a recruitment agency I like (it helps women in tech!) and they recommended a particular coach. I'm worried about my finances, since I've had a rough year, and I'm wondering: will paying for a job coach be worth it?

I'm not changing careers or anything, just trying to make my weird messy career to date make sense to anyone other than me.

I've been fortunate enough to be in a job where I've actually been able to ask more senior people in my field for help over the past year, and they've given me a ton of very concrete advice on my resume. But it still doesn't seem to be helping get HR people to look at my resume.

So what are your experiences with career coaches? (Knowing a little background about what you do will probably help clarify.) Are there any signs which indicate you should or shouldn't go with one?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm working with a life/career coach right now and it has been really awesome. She has made me think about things and examine my thinking in a way that I have never seemed to get to in therapy. I have always known that my issues are procrastination and perfectionism - the reason I decided to start working with a coach to begin with - but I feel like coaching is helping me understand not just where that comes from but how to address it in real time and keep it from impacting my work and doctorate goals.

However, I also understand that coaches are really hit or miss, so you could definitely get a bad one. I found mine because she had worked with my husband before, and he knew her because they are mutual acquaintances. So I really got lucky. Personally, since coaching is super expensive, I wouldn't do it unless I knew what I wanted out of the experience (and it sounds like you do) and I wasn't receiving a benefit from the very first session. As a matter of fact, my first session with my coach was free, and just that one hour was enough to convince me to sign up and pay. If you don't get that feeling, I wouldn't waste your money.
posted by chainsofreedom at 11:18 AM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm also a woman in tech (UK, comms, formerly a developer) and I went to a career coach and LOVED it. I was in a job that didn't really suit me and definitely had no progression - I really should have left a few years before, but was just holding on because I had no idea what I wanted. My coach helped me sort out what I really wanted, then helped me prep for the jobs that I was applying for, down to listening to my final presentation and giving tips. I think they are hit-and-miss -- mine came very highly recommended by a trusted friend, and I've in turn recommended her to other friends who have had similar success. I would definitely ask for references before getting started!
posted by ukdanae at 11:34 AM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

I am a coach, although not a career coach, and have been coached often as well. I just wanted to mention that if you are committed to the work it can really be worth it. If you are just wanting them to give you the answers, it won't be worth your money. It's a co-created process, so the more you put in, the more you will get back. Also, recommendations from people who know you will be helpful in getting a good match, which is highly important.
posted by Vaike at 2:36 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

I've been seeing a business/career coach for the last few months (I am also a woman in tech!) and it's been a huge boost to my work. He came highly recommended by several mentors in the industry. It's a lot of work, but even a few sessions have given me a clearer outlook on my job and on what I want to do next. You don't have to commit to weekly sessions; mine are once a month, with a few email check-ins in between.
posted by third word on a random page at 4:10 PM on April 28, 2016

I got enough out of my screening sessions for coaches that I ultimately did not need to engage their services. Screen the coach but do not feel obligated to retain her services.

Be clear that a coach is not a therapist or a recruiter. Be sure you have the right professional for the problem you are trying to solve.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:48 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm a man in tech, feeling a bit like a square peg looking at round holes - a few sessions with an Occupational Psychologist help me clarify what kind of job I'm suited for, and gave me the confidence to make the most of my strengths and minimise the requirements for skills where I'm weak, rather than trying to fix the weaknesses.

All good advice above, the two points worth emphasising are:

1 - Get references first, or screen them, or both. You're going to have to be open with this person, so you need to be get along with them.
2 - It's a co-created process, they don't have the answers, but will help you ask the right questions.
posted by DancingYear at 1:18 AM on April 29, 2016

« Older Conflicts abound with roommates, including a...   |   Slippers that wear like shoes. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.