How to find the right career coach

How to find the right career coach

If you’re in the midst of a career crisis or are ambitious to take the next step at work, then a mentor or career coach may be just what you’re looking for to help you achieve your career goals.

But finding the right kind of career coach can be a tricky task, particularly in such a crowded market, anyone can claim to be the mentor you’re searching for.

A good place to start is by asking yourself what you want a career coach, or a mentor, to support you to achieve. Is it to help you progress in your current career? Or to reinvent your work life altogether and pursue something new and exciting? You may be experiencing problems at work, or be out of work entirely, and need some guidance to weather the storm.

Whatever your reason, it’s worth doing some research and digging around by talking to a number of coaches to make sure you find the right one for you.

An effective coach will put you in the driving seat; they will listen carefully and ask questions rather than giving you information, as you go on a journey of discovery to look at where you are and where you want to be. They will have the experience to support you in finding the right direction.

They won’t necessarily tell you what to do – but they will effectively guide the way and give you the confidence to make the changes you want to.

A good career coach will help in one of three ways:

1. Managing your current role

It may be that you are happy with your chosen career path but want to move to the next level and therefore need some guidance about how to increase your profile and how to prepare well for any internal job opportunities.

Before deciding on a coach, check out what skills and capabilities they have to help you increase your profile and market yourself within your own organisation. If you need support with identifying a programme of study to enhance your CV, again ensure that your chosen coach has the right knowledge to be able to guide you on this.

2. Support with searching for a job

Looking for and applying for jobs can be a lonely and extensive task which requires motivation and some insight into where to look for jobs. Having someone to support you through this can make it more bearable. A good mentor will help you figure out what your strengths are and how to make you stand out from the crowd.

When checking out a suitable coach, remember to find out what experience they have in this area, what successes they have had in the past and how aware they are of networks that will help you to find out where the jobs you are looking for can be found. A good mentor will know people in the recruitment industry and even have prior knowledge about which companies are potentially hiring. 

3. Discover a new career

It can feel really demoralising and disheartening if you’ve fallen out of love with your job. But life is too short to stall doing something different if you’re really unhappy.  A career coach will support you to identify your strengths (and weaknesses) and how you can utilise them in the search for a new career.

If this is what you are looking for, you need to check out what their track record of helping people in this way is. What success stories do they have to share with you? Perhaps you could speak to some of their previous clients to see what kind of experience they had.

You also need to check out what kind of assessments they use – ideally, they should be using assessments recommended by the Chartered Psychological Society and the person administering should have BPS level A and B qualifications.

Don’t forget to ask any coach you do recruit about their Code of Ethics and that you are clear about what their services will cost.

Julie Gordon heads up the team at cHRysos HR Solutions, an organisation specialising in the delivery of HR and Leadership-related training, professional qualifications and apprenticeships, as well as HR and business consultancy services. With over 20 years’ experience in learning and development within the private and public sector, Julie’s key strengths are now in the management of the learning and development process and in work-based learning. As well as working in industry, Julie has held various academic teaching posts and has published journal papers in the field of learning and development. 

For further information call 01302 802128 or email

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cHRysos HR Solutions are a UK wide HR training and consultancy company offering CIPD accredited qualifications, Apprenticeships, Training and HR Services to SMEs. For more information about how cHRysos HR can help you or your teams successfully achieve further qualifications, contact us on or call 03300 562443.