12 keys to choosing the best career coach for you
Making the decision to improve your professional life through career coaching is only the first step. The big question now is, how do you choose the right career coach for you? If you can afford a personalised service such as the one offered by OrientaEuro – or if you are eligible for a governmental subsidy to access its services almost for free – you do not need to worry about this: OrientaEuro’s director will do the matching for you from among its 30 career coaches, based on a pre-questionnaire which you fill-in.
But, if you have no other choice than to tackle this decision by yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind and help you with your decision.
1. Anyone can call themselves a ‘coach’ as coaching is still not regulatedAt present, coaching is not regulated (at least not in Belgium; if you live in another country, it could differ) so anybody can call themselves a ‘coach’, regardless of their training and expertise. It’s important to do some research and find a career coach who adheres to a specific and clear “code of conduct” and/or who belongs to a career coaching centre that sets out clear standards, requirements, supervision stages, and quality evaluation, etc. This way you can assure that you are in good hands, and your investment (in money, time and energy) is going to pay off.
2. It may offer some peace of mind to go through a certified career coaching centreCoaches hired by a certified career coaching centre will have to respect standards and pass audits, as well as adhering to company policy. This should erase any doubts about the legitimacy of your coach. The coaching centre will be much more likely to be subject to controls if they are mandated by the public sector, and this means that they will usually work within a predefined contract, so you can take comfort in knowing that you will receive quality service and avoid risky investments. The centre will have a number of trained, qualified coaches, and they will choose one to work with you so that they are a great match for your particular needs. Your career coach will also benefit from being part of a team of coaches, as they will be able to share best practice, tools, and training platforms, and they will evaluate each other’s work through peer revision.
3. How much can you afford to invest?Career coaching is not just a financial investment – you don’t want to end up wasting your time or energy either! Nor do you want to to miss any opportunities.Therefore, it is important that you do some research into coaches who not only fit your budget (or better yet, if you are eligible, find coaching centres that are government-mandated and may have agreements in place for government subsidies), but who can also offer you a programme that is well-organised and agreed upon in advance so that you get the most out of your sessions.
4. What type of coaching are you looking for?Before choosing your career coach, it’s essential to take a step back and ask yourself, “what do I want to achieve from this?” Perhaps you’re looking for ways to advance in your field, start up your own business, or change career entirely. Be aware of your situation and look out for services that focus on your needs, whether you’re an entrepreneur, a jobseeker, or working towards a promotion. Make sure that they have a systematic approach, proven methods and a toolkit, as well as the capacity to personalise the experience and adapt effectively to your current situation, desired situation, expectations and circumstances. Having access to a wider network of fellow coaches on their team might also be an asset that would help them respond to unexpected changes in your need during the career coaching process.
5. A career coach needs training and experience – both in theory and in practice
Coaching shouldn’t be improvised. Your career coach needs to be confident in their practice from both theoretical training and hundreds of hours of practical coaching experience. Don’t be afraid to ask your coach about their coaching qualifications (or to ask a company about the qualifications of their coaches) – your coach should have nothing to hide! Alternatively, trust a certified career coaching centre that takes control of all this for you.
6. A professional coach should also be supervisedIt’s important that your career coach is confident and experienced, but that doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from monitoring and reevaluation. Your career coach should always strive to provide better coaching for their clients and want to keep themselves open to new ideas and practices. Reliable career coaches will always be happy to work with others and develop their skills through internal assessment and evaluation by their company.
7. A good career coach recognises the value of clients’ feedback and works to improve themselvesIn addition to following their company’s protocol, your coach should be motivated to self-assess and work on their skills in their own time. They should take into account any reviews or client feedback, and keep up to date with methods and tools that they find to be most effective in providing the most outstanding results for their client.
8. A results-oriented coach will work within the parameters of a predefined schemeAs with any service, when you choose a career coach you want to know upfront what you will get. Make sure your coach or coaching company is willing to work out a programme, including the length of your sessions, and more importantly, the number of sessions you will attend – a reputable career coach won’t keep you longer than is necessary to achieve the results that you want. It’s always better to establish some guidelines and goals with your coach before setting off. An experienced career coach will be able to estimate in a realistic way what will be worked on in each session and how many sessions will be needed to achieve the client’s goals.
9. Your career coach should be able to adapt to your needsIt’s essential to have a structured methodology when it comes to career coaching, but a good coach should also recognise that everyone achieves results in different ways. Striking a balance between a systematic approach, and the flexibility to adapt their style and methodology to meet your needs is key. Coaches achieve this through practical experience and training. In addition, they should be working within a context that gives them the tools and support necessary to adapt to your circumstances while still respecting guidelines. For example, they might be working within a network of peers, or through a certified career coaching centre which measures results and takes action when required.
10. A supportive coach will adhere to a code of ethicsGood coaching is focused on the support and improvement of the client’s well-being – your coach should be honest, empathetic, and listen to your concerns. They should be truly passionate about helping you and dedicated to your satisfaction rather than their commercial gain. Look out for coaches who willingly work within a code of conduct and have a good track record in caring for their clients.
11. Chemistry between a coach and their client is a must, but it’s not enoughBoth coach and client will have to be honest with each other. It should be an open, amicable relationship without judgement. But how do you avoid being misled by a career coach who is prioritising being friendly over challenging you to get out of your comfort zone and providing constructive feedback? Kindness is important, but make sure that your coach is consistently challenging you and pushing you out of your comfort zone to encourage you to reach your full potential. As an example, at OrientaEuro, when their career coaching process has come to an end, each client is asked about the quality of their coach in terms of how they balance being kind and being challenging. You can check that, and other key indicators here: our results.
12. You can’t become an expert in career coaching overnight – ask someone in the knowWith all of these things to consider, choosing a career coach may seem like an increasingly daunting task, but it really doesn’t have to be. Asking a specialist or going through a certified career coaching company eliminates the risk of being drawn in by superficial websites or ads and will ensure that you get the career coach who is best for you, and is approved by someone who really knows what they’re talking about. It’s always better to seek advice than to take risks in investing your time, money and energy.
Let us do all this for you!So, how do you apply all of this information to your search for a career coach? Take our advice and let someone else handle it for you. At OrientaEuro, we’ve been providing quality career coaching throughout Belgium since 2011, and have a dedicated administrative team to support both you and your coach every step of the way.
We have specialised programmes in place, so you can be sure you’ll find one that suits your needs, whether you’re a recent graduate, an entrepreneur, or established within a career. When you apply, you will be given a short questionnaire to complete about your professional background, requirements, and hopes for the process. Within a few days you’ll have a match from our team of 30+ dedicated coaches – who knew it could be so easy?
All of our coaches come from various professional backgrounds, are required to be certified by a recognised school for coaching or training (ACTP, ICF, EMCC etc.) and are mandated by government controls. They will guide you through your process within the framework of our systematic approach to career coaching. In addition, they will work with other coaches and our administrative staff to constantly improve their services, whilst having the freedom to adapt their methodology to meet your needs. All career coaching sessions are pre-planned with you, at the time, the place, and in the language that suits you best.
On top of that, our coaches are provided with the tools and support necessary to coach to the best of their ability, which allows them to use their talent and passion for coaching in the way that helps you most. Our coaches work within a Code of Conduct and we always take client evaluation into account: click here to check our results over the last 18 months and read testimonials from people like you.
Our quality management system is certified by the Belgian Quality Association. We are mandated by the Flemish government as a certified career coaching centre and accept ‘loopbaancheques’ (career vouchers), so you can benefit from government subsidies.
Read more about our Personalised Career Coaching process >>