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Are Career Coaches Worth It?

Coaching_options_web From CNN.Com – (CareerBuilder.com)
– In the current state of our economy, more than 15 million people are
unemployed. That’s 15 million people who are all looking for a little
help, whether it’s in the job search, writing a résumé, interview
advice, networking or even finding a new career path.

Many times, people who need job-search help enlist a professional. Career coaches and counselors are usually certified professionals who focus on career exploration or choice, changing career paths or helping you beef up your résumé and perfect your interview skills.

In the 2009 International Coaching Federation Global Coaching Client Study, 15 percent of coaching clients said career opportunities are the most important reason to enlist a coach, compared with business management (14 percent) and self-esteem or self-confidence (13 percent).

The study, which included input from more than 2,000 coaching clients in 64 countries, also cited more than 80 percent of respondents indicating a positive change in areas such as interpersonal skills, work performance and team effectiveness.

Costly counseling

While career coaches can definitely be a useful resource, good advice doesn’t vome cheap. In a 2007 study by the coaching federation, which focused on coaches rather than clients, the average fee for a career coaching session was $161 per hour. Depending on your financial situation and employment status, considering you’re likely to want more than one session, that’s a hefty investment.

Is it worth it?

It wasn’t for Nick Pitarys, owner of the Arizona Cheesecake Co. Pitarys says that he was extremely disappointed with his experience in hiring a career coach and that it was definitely not worth the money.

“After an $8,200 investment and the entire 12-month period, I had nothing to show for it,” he says. “My adviser — also the owner — had way too many clients to satisfy, and thus the effort she applied to me was less than substantial.”

But there are two sides to every story. Although some people think their investment in a career coach was a
waste of money, others think it was money well-spent.

Sixty-eight percent of individuals surveyed indicated that they had at least made back their initial investment in coaching in increased earnings from personal salaries or investments, or through increased savings through debt reduction, according to the coaching foundation study, which was conducted by Association Resource Centre and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

If you want to try enlisting a career coach, Miriam Reiss, a career coach, offers these five tips:

1. Choose wisely
“[Choosing] a career coach is not like buying a vase. For coaching decisions, you need live contact. Admire great Web sites and recognize that Web sites demonstrate writing, not coaching skills,” Reiss says.

2. Mass solutions won’t work
“Career transition is an individual journey. Beware of one-size-fits-all career programs and vehicles like group coaching.  These may sound good and fit your budget but ultimately leave you frustrated. There’s no substitute for the undivided time, attention and results you get from having individual coaching sessions.”

3. The difference is in the numbers
The difference between a good career coach and a great coach is about $100-$150 per month — a fraction of one monthly paycheck. “Unlike some professions, there’s not that much price differential between coaches with a few years of experience and senior coaches. A seasoned career coach can save you months of fruitless wandering.”

4. Look out for ‘fast’ promises
“No career coach, regardless of seasoning, can predict just how long your individual career process will take. Coaches know you don’t like this answer, but that’s the truth. Timing considerations include how
diligent you will be around fieldwork assignments, what careers you
wind up exploring and much more.”

5. Take advantage of sample sessions and don’t overshop
Some coaches offer a free, introductory session so you can get a feel for each other. “Decide how many coaches you want to talk to, and then pick your coach. Talking with too many coaches will confuse you, create inner commotion and impede the process.”

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