Choosing a career coach is a very personal decision and it can be a difficult one. While there are no specific criteria that will help you to choose a coach, there are several things you can do to make sure you pick a coach that’s right for you.

Do your research

With thousands of career professionals in the UK alone, finding the right one can be daunting. What’s more, coaching is an unregulated profession. To make sure you’re getting the best advice, you must be vigilant in your search for a career coach. Make sure you check out their website, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other social media accounts to create a detailed picture of who the coach is: their background; areas of expertise; who they are connected with and how they work. Has the coach published any articles and are they useful? Are they having conversations on social media or simply broadcasting? What types of content are they sharing? Do they have any public recommendations? Do you like their style?

What have others said about them?

Look for testimonials. There should already be some displayed on the website and LinkedIn but feel free to go further and ask to speak with past clients. We ask our clients for permission to share their names and contact details with people who want to hear about their coaching journeys and they’re only too happy to oblige.

Get to know them

The best way to get to know a coach is to speak with them and gauge your chemistry. It’s common practice for coaches to offer a complimentary call so do take them up on this. You should have an opportunity to see if the coach is in alignment with your needs and that your personalities gel. Don’t be afraid to turn the tables and ask the coach some questions too. After your discussion, check in with how you feel. Are you feeling inspired and excited (albeit a little nervous perhaps) then that’s a good indication that the coach is the right fit and will support you to move beyond your comfort zone into your ideal role.

Want a second or third chat? Just ask -see if they go the extra mile for you! This is a perfectly reasonable request when you’re considering making such an important investment. Many coaches will be more than happy to have an ongoing dialogue so you can see what they have to offer (they also want to know that you’re going to be a good fit for working with them).

Do you like them?

Are you comfortable with the coach’s style and the energy they bring? It’s likely you respond better to certain communication styles and some coaches will provide feedback in a very direct and straight-talking manner while others will be more gentle. Consider what works best for you.

Is the coach wise, friendly and approachable? You should be seeing strong skills in relationship building and emotional intelligence, having felt listened to and understood. You should like the coach and have confidence in their abilities to help you land your next job. Do you trust the coach? Trust is important because throughout the coaching process you will be challenged, supported and share confidential information.

Qualifications, experience and results

The most important thing here is to find a coach that has experience working with many people at your level. The rest comes down to your own personal preference. Some people prefer their coach to have worked in the same sector; others will be particularly interested in their training. For some, none of this will matter as much as learning about all their success stories (you’ll often find this information through case studies and testimonials). What is most important to you?

Does their approach work for you?

With some coaches, you will work through a structured programme, while others are more flexible and will tailor coaching sessions to your individual needs. The coach should be able to walk you through their process and tell you where there are opportunities for flexibility or bolt-on options should you need them.

You’ll also want to consider your preference for face to face, skype, online or telephone coaching as this will narrow your choice. If you’re immediately drawn to face to face, it’s worth exploring skype too as it can offer a more convenient way of connecting meaningfully with a coach.

How much are you willing to invest in your career?

What price are you putting on your next job? It is important to have an idea of how much you can afford to invest in yourself. Executive coaching fees can vary wildly and you really have to look closely at what is on offer to make a wise decision. Don’t make assumptions based on fees; the more expensive coaches are not always better. In fact, this can sometimes mean a far less personal service or “conveyor belt coaching” as I’ve heard it called. At the other end of the scale, amongst the less experienced coaches, there are some very capable coaches charging smaller fees.

If you are interested in working with a career coach and you would like to find out more about personalised career coaching, have a discussion with one of our experienced career coaches. Contact us on  +44 (0) 203 384 4188 or email