Guide to Career Coaching | Why Should I Consider Working With A Coach?

At Fink Development, one of our core values is continuous learning and we bring that to every element of our work with clients.

We know that most people have never had the opportunity to work with a coach before and aren't really sure what to expect. We want to change that.

Our goal is to set you up for success to navigate your career journey, whether you decide to work with us or not. Although, we hope you do.

In this guide, you'll find helpful content to better understand your personal preferences, needs, and desires in selecting the right coach and coaching engagement for you. When you're ready to explore further with one of our coaches, we'll be here ready for you.

Why Is Coaching Important For My Career?

We generally believe, in short, life is just far too short to not love what you do. According to a Gallup survey, only 15% of people feel engaged by their work, despite spending 90,000 hours of our lifetime working. Those stats are utterly depressing, especially (from a Career Coach's perspective) when it really doesn't have to be that way. Hiring a coach can feel intimidating, costly, and risky, yet the cost of staying in a job you hate or not following a career path that would be truly fulfilling is far higher to your overall wellbeing and life happiness. Below, our goal, is to help you gain an understanding of the landscape of coaching and how it may be able to help you craft a career and a life you love, so you can look back and be proud of the intentional choices you made to love have you lived your live and spent your time. 

How do I know if I'm ready for coaching?

The clients who have the most successful outcomes in coaching are the ones who are already convinced about the value of coaching and are ready to make a time and financial investment in their career. If you're skeptical or hesitant about the goals you'll be able to achieve with a coach, or you're looking for a coach to "sell" you on what they can do for you and how "exactly" they can help, you're probably not ready. Here for Career Coach for Remote Jobs, Juliana Rabbi, on her thoughts of how to know when you're ready.

How long do coaching programs usually last?

Most coaches require a 3-4 month commitment. This is the length of time it takes to create meaningful outcomes, especially if you're trying to accomplish a large goal like (gain career clarity, navigate a career transition, or develop new career skills). It makes sense, right? Would you expect to become a better public speaker in 1-2 hours? Probably not. Career change, growth, and development all take time, and a coach will suggest the amount of time they believe it will take to reach the outcome they are promising from your work together. 

How often can I expect to meet with a coach?

Most coaches recommend a cadence of twice a month because it's an ideal amount of time to help clients stay accountable and move forward, while also giving them the time to put in the reflection and work in between sessions that drive meaningful insights. While many coaches work on a recommended twice a month schedule, depending on each unique situation, the client's preferences, and the work involved outside of the sessions, sometimes a different cadence would be recommended. For example, if a client is in the midst of an active job search with final interviews and negotiations taking place there may be a more frequent cadence and alternatively, if a client has already worked with a coach and finished their coaching package, but now wants regular checkins, they might meet once a month or once a quarter or ad hoc as needed. 

How do I know if I have a small or large problem to solve?

Start by thinking about your ultimate end goal. Then, consider how long you've already been trying to solve the problem on your own. For most career topics, it's more likely than not, that you have a medium to large-sized problem you're trying to solve. Let's look at career clarity, for example. Let's say you're trying to determine which direction to take your career and you've already been contemplating that question for 5 years without finding an answer. Can you expect to solve that problem in 1-2 hours, just because you hired a coach? While anything is possible, the answer here is probably not. Most coaching topics, unless the scope is incredibly narrow, take several sessions to work through.

What is the difference between coaching, consulting, advising, and counseling?

While each of these disciplines can look somewhat similar, there is nuance to each one. Coaching is generally a forward-looking practice, where you might examine where you are, where you're trying to go, and what's getting in your way from getting there. A coach will ask you powerful questions and help you find the answers that are already within you. It doesn't mean that they won't ever bring insights and suggestions to the table, but they will very likely not tell you what to do (at least a good certified coach wouldn't). Sometimes coaching blends into advising or consulting, for example with Career Coaching on more tangible topics like job searching. When you're working with a someone who wears both hats, you'll have a mix of powerful question asking, as well as suggestions of additional tools, strategies, and insights to help guide your process and keep you accountable. Counseling or therapy, on the other hand, is much more likely to be backward looking at what led you to where you are now. The topics might be deeply emotional and complex and require someone with a regulated training to address. 

How do I identify the "right" coach for me?

There's a difference between career strategists, career coaches, leadership coaches, executive coaches, life coaches, wellness coaches, etc. Many coaches specialize in one area, while others can span a few different areas. It's important to think through the topics that you really want to work on and then share those specific topics with your potential coach to see if this is the type of work they do. For example, a career strategist is probably not a great fit if you're looking to do a wholistic life assessment. Other factors to explore beyond the topic area are the coach's personality, their working structure, their pricing, their outcomes, their background, their certifications, and probably most importantly how do they make you feel? Do you leave the conversation feeling confident, hopeful, energized? If so, that's a good sign. Or, do you leave the conversation feeling pressured, unconvinced, or defensive? Probably not a good sign.

Should I look for a coach who's certified?

Because coaching is an unregulated industry, basically anyone can call themselves a coach and many people do! During the pandemic there were a plethora of coaches who saturated with market with no training, no experience, and no skills to be coaching others, and many people got burned by these experiences. While a certification, in itself, won't ensure you've found the right coach for you, it provides a baseline of certain skills and ethics that the coach must be proficient in. Coaching is a craft that incorporates a variety of disciplines, methods, and ethics. If you want someone who has been formally trained on these concepts, it can be helpful to work with someone who has gone through a coaching program and certification process.

What is my next best alternative to working with a coach?

There are many things you can do on your own, like journaling, meditation, seeking out advisors or mentors, reading books, researching on the internet, trial and error, etc. It's very possible you can do this work on your own, but it's also likely that it will be harder and take longer if you do. One thing to consider is the cost of waiting to hire a coach, in the weeks or months or years that you try to figure this out on your own, whether it's a tangible cost (like a salary increase, a promotion, a new job), or an intangible cost (like life satisfaction, happiness, motivation, confidence). Coaching has a cost, but so does not living your life and career on your own terms.

How much can I expect to pay for career coaching?

There is no doubt that coaching is an investment of time and money. On average, most experienced, certified coaches charge between $3,500-$7,500 for a 3-6 month coaching program. The more experienced the coach and the more value included in their program, the higher the cost will be.

What is a realistic price for coaching per hour?

While we would encourage you to think more about coaching from a return on investment perspective, versus "what am I getting per hr", here are some crude rules of thumb to help you understand the landscape of coach pricing. Someone's rate per hour may be based on their experience, the education level, their expertise, the value of the outcome of their coaching, the type of client they are serving for example. 

  • $100-$200 - Certified coaches with less than 2 years experience. (If someone is charging you less than $100/hr, question their level of experience, certification, expertise, and verified outcomes).
  • $200-$350 - Certified coaches with 2-3 years exp. or equivalent coaching hrs.
  • $350-$500 - Certified coaches with 3-5 years exp. or equivalent coaching hrs.
  • $500 and up - Certified coaches with 5+ years exp., high-level credentials, executive coaches, or experts in their field.

Can I just work with a coach for a few sessions, instead of a full coaching program?

You certainly can. This would only be recommended if you have a highly specific need and very clear expectations that have been agreed to with your coach. Ideally, you have already worked with a coach before. Also know, that some coaches will work with clients over just a few sessions, but many will not if they know it will not produce the outcome the client is looking for. Hear from our Collective coach, Katie Baird, Executive Coach and Leadership Advisor on how she thinks about one-off versus long coaching engagements.

How do I know if coaching is working?

One of our Collective coaches, Itir Keskiner, Executive, Life and Leadership Coach, suggests that coaching is working if you're looking at the same exact situation that you were in coming into coaching in a different light." You may be noticed different choices, insights, strengths, that are helping you navigate the challenge you're struggling with or the goal you're trying to achieve. You will likely be walking away from a session feeling motivated and excited about the action steps in front of you. A good coach will make you feel supported, seen, while also helping you stay accountable to what you want to achieve. 

What are the kind of outcomes I can expect when I'm working with a coach?

The outcome and roi of coaching is really going to be dependent on what your goal is, and how clear that goal is. As we've talked about before there is a plethora of coaches in the market on every topic you can imagine. At Fink Development, we focus on career coaching to all three area of the career journey (which we define as Clarity, Transition, and Development), which means that the majority of our outcome impact elements related to career, but also how your career might impact your life. Some clients may walk away with internal clarity or inner peace of their vision for their career or life, others may walk away with a very clearly defined target for their next career opportunity. Some individuals may want to focus on gaining confidence or combatting their inner critic. While others will want to work on developing new communication or leadership skills. The outcomes that we aim for, in our mission, are to help clients lean into their authenticity and their true desires so they can start living their live and career on their own terms, before it's too late. 

How long before I can expect results?

There are quite a few factors here. Including: what's the goal you're trying to achieve, how many blocks are getting in your way, how much time do you have to dedicate to the problem, how motivated are you to get results, how receptive are you to new approaches and feedback? Another important factor is thinking about how you define "results". Coaching is really powerful and sometimes a 10-min session can change your whole world. An insight that you did not have before is a result, and you may start to see that within minutes of a coaching call. However, if you're defining the result as only the final outcome you're looking for, like landing a new job, getting a promotion, gaining clarity, etc., the length of time will be longer (but it mostly depends on you). 

How to ensure you get the most out of coaching.

Just hiring a coach is not going to solve your problems, because coaching is an equal partnership between the client and the coach. That means that you need to show up and bring your A-game to your coaching engagement, as much as your coach is. And, furthermore, it will be up to you to do the work outside of sessions. While a coach can support you and help you stay accountable and committed to achieving your desired outcomes, you are really the star of the show. People who generally fail to get the outcome they are looking for are expecting the coach to do the work for them, or were not clear on what they wanted to get out of coaching to being with, or have changed their level of commitment along the way. Hear from one of our Collective coaches, Nicole Case, Career and Leadership Coach for corporate women leaders on take on getting the most out of coaching.  

In you're ready to get more out of your career, here are three ways that we can support you. 

1) Join Our Job Search Accelerator Membership. Our structured step-by-step process to clarify, attract, and land your ideal opportunities.

2) Get 1:1 Career and Executive coaching. Learn more and book a complimentary call.

3) Download our free career clarity guide. Download here.