How to Choose a Career Coach in 2019

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How to find a career coach in 2019

How to Choose a Career Coach in 2019

Are you looking for a job?  

You might be thinking – 

Do I need a career coach? 

How will I find a good career coach?

How can I evaluate the career coach?

Do I need a career coach?

The answer is yes, a good career coach will improve your job search. Whether you are a college student choosing a first job or internship. A professional feeling stuck or looking to pivot in your career. A person returning to the workforce. Ultimately, working with a career coach will help you.  

Finding a good job takes work and can be stressful. Everyday life can get in the way of your career transition. A good coach adds process and accountability to the search. Also, a coach can help college students get over the pressure to find the perfect job. For professionals in mid-career, it can be difficult to know where to start. Additionally you may be out of practice interviewing and networking. If you are returning to the workforce, you can benefit from support and expertise launching your job search.

How will I find a good career coach?

The coaching relationship is personal. Therefore, focus on the right fit for you and your unique situation.  

Start with research and create a list of possible coaches. The best place to start is to ask for recommendations. Some coaches are better than others. If a friend or trusted colleague has had a good experience that is a plus. Next, check with your college career development or alumni website, and industry associations for recommendations. Then look on LinkedIn or generally online.   

As you develop your list, read websites and blogs. Career transition information is available on-line, in periodicals and through college and industry sources. Once you have read a few articles you will have a feel for current trends and topics. Also, ideally you will find a coach who impresses you as a thought leader.  

After doing some research, consider your goals. What is your agenda? Are you looking for help in career planning and choosing a career path? Or, are you more interested in the basics of job search? Are you stuck looking for your first job? Have you recently lost your job and want support moving forward? Your situation and your goals will affect the decision.

Sometimes referrals and research will lead you to your top choice. Otherwise, at this point you should speak to the top 2 or 3 coaches on your list.  

How can I evaluate a career coach?

A good coach listens, reflects, and when appropriate – challenges. The coaching style will be apparent in your first conversation.

Consider the coach’s personality. Are you comfortable speaking with the coach? Is the coach actively listening to you. Look for indications that there is a commitment to your goals. Keep in mind, a good coach is unbiased with no outside or personal agenda. 

In the initial conversation you can ask for information about coaching process and philosophy. Next, ask about work experience and training. Has the coach worked with people in situations similar to yours? Exact experience may not be as important as training and philosophy, depending on your priorities.  

Certification – People enter the coaching profession through training, work experience or through a combination. There are institutions committed to advancing the coaching profession through coach training and industry research. Certification can help ensure that the coach has an academic, philosophical and ethical foundation to their coaching.  

You can ask if the coach is certified and from which program. A quick check on the programs will help you better understand the training and platform. For example, certification programs are offered through the ICF, Columbia Teachers College CCP program, and Georgetown University.   

Finally don’t forget a few smaller items. Understand timing and the coach’s availability to your schedule. Confirm that the conversations are confidential. Don’t forget to ask about cost!    


Your life is complicated and busy. The right coach can partner with you to create the space needed to take small regular steps toward success in your job search.

My Professor, and a great coach, Professor Terry Maltbia, describes a coach as someone who moves valuable people from where they are to where they want to be. Enjoy the opportunity for support and the extra value a coach will add to your job search

Contact us if you have more questions or would like to discuss your job search. We look forward to speaking with you! 

About the Author

Debbie Matson is a Career Coach, Recruiter and Founder of CareerAmplify. She has an MBA from Cornell University and is a certified Executive Coach trained at Columbia University Teachers College. Her passion is empowering students moving from academics to full-time employment, and helping people at all stages of their careers find the next great job.

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