5 Coaches/Consultants in 5 Days: A Recap Pitch

LinkedIn, John Fugazzie

Hiring a career coach/consultant is a very serious decision, and must be done with great research and thought. In the spirit of helping job seekers, I am going to present five coaches in five days who are all nationally known and widely respected in their fields; each will give their advice on hiring a coach/consultant.

Today, I present my recap and thoughts on career coaches/consultants. While I do not consider myself a career coach, I am a job search educator, mentor and motivator of individuals in transition. I also provide consulting to various types of workforce organizations, college career departments and staff, and have functioned as an advisor to local and federal Departments of Labor and Workforce Investment Boards (WIB), and other non-profits who share my passion for helping job seekers get back to work.

The work I have been engaged in as a pro bono volunteer since 2011, establishing and leading Neighbors-helping-Neighbors USA, has put me at the epicenter of the job search world both nationally and internationally, with the opening in August of a Neighbors-helping-Neighbors Madrid Spain.

I am in the process of training the counselors who work for the foundation 1 Kilo De Ayuda at Universidad Francisco De Vitoria. Their issues are very similar, and Spain has an unemployment rate of over 25 percent. If we added up all the unemployed, contractors and underemployed, our real rate would be quite a bit higher than 6.3 percent.

I have accumulated incredible information that I want to share with the millions of job seekers, the underemployed and anyone looking to enhance or grow their career.

My personal job search activities during my 40-year career have taught me a lot about the market and the job search process and how it has evolved. There is an extremely large number of individuals who are providing career and job search services. Some (like the ones profiled this week) are excellent, and some are not providing any value.

In some cases, coaches are giving advice that can be harmful to your success or increase the time it will take you to land back on your feet.

The message I deliver to all the job seekers I come in contact with is that job searches have changed dramatically. If you have not been engaged in a job search for several years, you will be startled by how much has changed in the number of available jobs, the salaries and the amount of effort it takes to get rehired.

We are not just in a down period of an economy that will recover on its own -- we are experiencing a paradigm shift in business, and the job market has changed forever. If you are not aware of how these changes impact your career and job search campaigns and need to adapt your strategies, techniques and approach to looking for work, you will find it difficult to land the job you want and deserve.

In the past, where there were plenty of jobs available, the effort required to land a position was nothing in comparison to what it is today. You have to be a smart job hunter, and networking, personal branding and how you are seen on social media like LinkedIn are critical to your success.

As the market has changed, I've spent significant time talking to coaches and consultants across the country, and there is a lot of variety in their current market knowledge.

The number of coaches is overwhelming, making it very difficult for a job seeker who has never hired a career coach to know what direction to take.

I want to point out my views on some of the things you need to be aware of when hiring coaches:

- Some coaches promote their business by referencing "over 25 or 35 years in coaching," or making some similar statement. But do they know the market conditions and skills needed for today's job search? Or are they giving your father's career advice?

- "I am a certified coach." The question is who has certified them, and is the certification current and proof that the coach is up to date? There are many places that will certify you for a fee.

- I have seen claims like, "Use our system and land a job in 90 days, or your money back," and, "I have a 100% success rate with my clients." I guess truth in advertising laws do not cover the internet or the coaching industry.

- Having a book published does not always translate into a successful coaching practice. With self-publishing, anyone can write a book today.

- Over-promotion of their coaching business signals they may not be doing well and have large numbers of clients. Successful coaches get a large part of their business from personal referrals of job seekers who have used them and were happy with the results and the process.

In short, you must do your homework in selecting and hiring a coach, just as you would to be successful in landing the job you desire.

My hope is that the four coaches I presented this week have provided a better understanding of the complexity of hiring a coach, and given you the ability to own this process and find a proper fit with a coach who helps you get back to work or improves your career progression.

I want to thank Al Smith, Abby Kohut, J.T.O'Donnell, MayBeth Sigler, and Laurie Petersen for helping me present this week of coaches. Hopefully it's helped many of you toward getting the jobs you desire and deserve.

Monday - Al Smith
Tuesday - Abby Kohut
Wednesday - J.T. O'Donnell
Thursday - MaryBeth Sigler
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