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Boost Your Career: Hire a Coach

by Lisa Johnson / January 1st, 2022


Are you satisfied with your career? Do you believe that even though you're working hard, you're not at peak performance? Maybe it's time for a career coach—someone who can provide the tools, support, and structure you need to accomplish your career goals.

Coaches help clients clarify goals and develop steps to reach those goals. They won't tell you what to do or how to run your life. Instead, they'll help you improve your performance and enhance your quality of life. Coaches are trained to listen, observe, and customize their approach to individual client needs. They provide the client with the necessary support and structure needed to help realize their dreams. Thinking of hiring a coach? Here are some things you should know before taking the next step.

Who hires a coach?

According to Therese Kienast, CEO and founder of Radical Leadership, "Anyone can hire a coach, but the people who are most committed to success get the most out of coaching. These are the people who understand that by having a coach they will enhance their process and become more efficient." She adds that if the commitment and drive to change a person's life are present, they should consider hiring a coach to help make needed changes.

What they cost

Cost varies significantly depending on the coach's training and experience. Beginning coaches may charge around $100 per hour, while executive coaches may charge from $250 to $500 per hour. Only pay by the hour and stay clear of anyone who asks for a large upfront fee. Before hiring one, get references or talk to the coach’s former clients to ensure the coach is right for you.

Do coaches specialize?

There are coaches who specialize in just about anything you want. For example, if you are a human resources manager and want to communicate with your department more effectively, look for a coach with an HR background.

How to choose a coach

Before you begin your search, be clear about what you hope to gain from your experience. Most clients find coaches by referral, so ask around. Kienast suggests getting three referrals and then holding preliminary sessions with each coach. "Find out if the coach you're talking to has helped coach clients with similar goals to your own," recommends Kienast. Those are the coaches with the experience and knowledge you are looking for.

You can also search for coaches on International Coach Federation or Coach U. The bottom line: Be prepared to spend time interviewing. Ask if you can spend up to an hour with each person at no charge to get to know them better. Don't be afraid to turn a coach down if you don't think he or she is a good fit.

Be prepared to work

Working with a coach is like working with a personal trainer: You get plenty of advice, but ultimately the work falls on your shoulders. A coach can't do the work for you. Be prepared to do homework that will help you break your usual habits and move to the next level.

Remember a coach is there to listen, too

Not only are coaches there to help facilitate personal growth, they also can be a good sounding board. It can be a valuable role for a small business leader, or a person interested in making a career change. But that doesn't mean you should spend your coaching time whining, either. A coach is there to push you out of your comfort zone, urge you to take risks, and help propel you toward what you really want to accomplish.

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