How to Find a Career Coach for Women (+ 5 Important Questions to Ask)
Inside: Learn how to find a Career Coach for women who is the right fit for you and your career transition.
If you had asked me 15 years ago what first came to mind when you said “coach” I would say three things:
- Bill Belick, the New England Patriots
- Gino Auriema, UCONN basketball
- My Parents, East Bridgewater youth sports my entire childhood
I had never heard of a career coach, a life coach, or a health coach. Coaches for me were all about sports.
But there is both a long and a short history of coaching that transcends athletics and I’m SO glad it exists because now it’s what I do and how I make an impact on the world. Surprise 20-year-old me!
What is a Career Coach?
Maybe you’ve heard of a life coach or a health coach, but have you done much cocktail party conversing around the subject of a career coach?
I’m guessing probably not. So let’s do a little history lesson! (Little, I promise.)
Back in the early 1900s, career coaching started to gain traction with the work of Frank Parson. He introduced the concept in his book Choosing a Vocation which put forth a structured way to think about finding what job is right for you.
70 years later, Dick Bolles published What Color is Your Parachute? which is still a staple in the career coaching world. Bolles gave new language to this big idea of “what do I want to be when I grew up?” and started talking about a different method of job seeking.
Fast forward to today and the career coaching industry has grown significantly with associations and trainings that professionalize the field.
So there’s the history lesson, but how does career coaching compare to other types of coaching.
What’s the Difference Between a Career Coach and Life Coach or Executive Coach?
A career coach is trained in helping clients clarify their career visions, build job search strategies, craft their personal brands, and prepare for interviews and negotiations. Your career coach can work with you throughout many stages of your career transition or to work through one particular job search pain point.
An executive coach is more focused on the job you already have and helping you become better at THAT job by overcoming professional development hurdles and honing your skills.
A life coach helps clients make progress in a range of areas of their lives by working on mindset, goal setting, and offering accountability.
Keep in mind there are different types of career coaches as well. Some focus almost exclusively on job search strategy, others focus their work on resume writing.
For me, my career coaching practice centers on career visioning and execution with the ultimate goal of finding more joy and fulfillment at work. Goal setting and accountability are a big part of that process along with building confidence alongside an effective strategy.
How do I Find a Career Coach for Women?
I mentioned that career coaches have specialties and it can be helpful to think about your specific needs when looking for a coach.
Do you want a resume writer with extensive experience in the finance industry?
Do you want a career coach who can help you practice consulting case interviews?
Do you want a career coach for women who will help you look at work and life holistically?
As a career coach for women (hey, hey Millennials, Gen Xers, and moms – you’re my people!) many of my clients are looking for someone who fits the bill in that last example. They are parents, professionals, and multifaceted women with different interests and needs, and they want someone who gets that when working through their career questions.
If that sounds like you, you’ve found me right here! But there are some other ways to find a career coach for women too and important questions to ask.
First: Identify Potential Coaches
Let’s start with ways to find a pool of potential coaches you would want to work with.
Super simple – do a search for “career coach for women” or “career coach near me.” You’ll get a list to start from right away with that search.
Ask Your Network
You’re looking for the know, like, and trust factors when selecting a career coach, and who do you know, like, and trust better than your friends?
Ask people you respect if they know of a career coach they have worked with or they would recommend.
Join a Community
When looking for a career coach for women, think about who else would know someone who does that work and where they might be hanging out.
For example, Fairygodboss is a great platform for women professionals to seek out career advice and you can find career coaches there.
Local networks are great too. For example, Boston Business Women or Pepperlane both have fantastic Facebook groups to seek out advice or other professionals.
Questions to Ask When Looking for a Career Coach for Women
Now that you have a list of people to research or talk to, what should you be asking them and asking yourself?
Questions for the Career Coach
Definitely check up on your Career Coach’s experience and education before hopping on a consultation call or booking a program. But keep in mind you can easily do that on LinkedIn.
Save your consultation call time for questions like this:
(1) What problems do you help coaching clients solve?
Get a sense for the career coach’s focus area. Do the problems she helps clients solve resonate with you?
(2) Who are the clients you typically serve?
A coach’s website will likely have testimonials, so definitely check that out! But you can also ask directly.
Does this coach typically work with early career professionals, mid-career, or those planning for retirement? Do they have a specific industry focus or work with a certain group of people?
Most of my clients are women and moms and clients like to know that about me!
(3) What is your coaching process?
Is there any online learning? Is coaching in person or over Zoom? When does she typically have her coaching calls? Does she use a specific framework. These are great questions to ask so you have a comparison point.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Now that you’ve gotten off the phone or you’ve watched a coach’s webinar, ask yourself some questions.
(1) Am I comfortable with this person?
If you’re doing 1:1 coaching or group coaching, you really want to make sure that you’re working with a coach that you feel comfortable talking to.
Does it seem like they get you? Are there lived experiences you want to share with your coach? Do you like their communication style?
If there isn’t a match in regard to demeanor or style, then keep looking.
(2) What is my budget for coaching?
There is a wide range of financial investments to make in career coaching.
You could buy a book for $16, take a course for $500, or do 1:1 coaching for $3,000. And that’s just one example – there are a lot of options in between (and higher). With each option there are pros and cons, it’s really a matter of how you learn best and your specific needs.
Figure out what your budget is for coaching and check out the various options.
One thing I’ll say here though is keep in mind that career coaching is an investment in YOU.
By investing in coaching you are accelerating your career change and job search process which saves you time AND money. Plus, when you land a new job with a 20% raise because you invested in coaching? Well, that’s more than worth it.
YOU’RE worth it!
Ready to keep rolling?
Save your spot in my free training, How to Land a Fulfilling Job You Love Without Giving Up the Flexibility You Need, to get a real sense of what career coaching is all about.