Updated: Apr 16
There will be a crossroad somewhere in your working life.
It can be as simple as quitting your job to start a new business or to accept the offer to relocate into a new country to work.
But to make the choice, to take a leap of faith into the uncertainty can be daunting for many.
This can be a new Profession such as an Engineer to a Nurse.
“I like helping people but how can I turn this into a career reality?” “What are the things I should be aware to avoid any costly mistakes?” “I have an interest in this Profession. Will this be sustainable and rewarding for me?”
This is where a Career Coach helps.
The Career Coach’s objective is to offer the visibility after understanding you, to lay out a broad map that indicates options and gets you empowered to make better informed career decisions.
The Career Coach is also able to help transform your resumes into marketable instruments that offer higher response rates.
This includes interview role-plays to get you well polished.
For job offers, the Career Coach will steer you towards job opportunities such as relevant positions in LinkedIn or specific roles in My Careers Future Singapore.
So, what are the 4 factors that you should consider to choose a well qualified Career Coach?
The Right Chemistry
It’s important to get the right fit in the beginning.
This can be done through an initial consultation through phone, video chat or face-to-face.
Have an open chat first. Is the Career Coach being attentive to you?
The Career Coach must be able to steer the conversation seamlessly that you feel comfortable in sharing more work-based information.
You should be free and not afraid to express unbiased thoughts about your current stage and future vision of a successful career.
What are the red-flags to watch out?
The Coach should not give his/her own perspective and expects you to buy into it.
For example, the Coach recommends you to a Nursing career thereafter without further investigation because you look gentle, soft-spoken and has a heart for people.
A great Career Coach should be independent and curious to understand more about your background.
Most importantly - not to constantly jump in and interrupt your train of thoughts.
The Coach should be a good Listener and know a time to step in to make the conversation productive for you.
The tone of voice, the reassuring way of eye contact and learning posture towards you do play a part.
I know of an aspiring Career Coach (her former job is to teach in school) who just looks at another in the eyes with an intimidating look. She seems to be like a headmistress of a school. When she speaks, people are just completely afraid of her. That's simply because she stares at them real hard.
A good rule of thumb is – after 20 minutes, if you feel that the Coach is not professionally putting your interests at stake, you are free to walk away.
For instance, you have a dilemma in choosing the next occupation and the Coach immediately starts to talk about how you should go for this well-paying job – you will know the alignment is completely mismatched.
The Coach is just doing a "cut and paste" placement, filtering pay as the screening criterion.
In short, the connection between both parties should be mutually acceptable.
The Coach must also maintain a high level of client confidentiality and should emphasis this key point in the beginning.
There are a number of credentials to look out for.
One of the most respected certification in the coaching world is ICF – International Coaching Federation.
If a Coach comes to you, highlighting ICF - make sure you get the license number.
Here are two organizations that offer career coaching credentialing framework:
(a) WSG - Workforce Singapore
(b) NCDA - National Career Development Association
For Singapore practice:
WSG offers CAP (Certified Career Advisor) or CCP (Certified Career Practitioner). There is a complete credentialing pathway for the local Career Coaches.
For worldwide recognition and Singapore practice:
NCDA offers CCSP (Certified Career Services Professional) and many other pathways.
There is also the GCDF (Global Career Development Facilitator) program, developed by CCE (Centre for Credentialing & Education) and NCDA.
What does this means to you?
If any of the Career Coaches possess any of the certification above, chances are they have been well trained and assessed.
You may also chance upon other credentials such as JCTC (Job & Career Transition Coach) or other relevant certification.
A key point to note – don’t get too overwhelmed by the numerous certification checks.
It can be another layer of assurance but not the ultimate tester.
Question to ask yourself is - can the Career Coach truly help me?
This brings us to the third point.
Walk the Talk
Real World Experiences.
Getting to know the Coach’s background is essential.
Go to their LinkedIn profile to get an overall understanding of their past corporate background. The depth and breadth of a Coach’s portfolio adds value during the 1-1 sessions.
Is the Career Coach an Educator?
How deep is the Career Coach analytical abilities? For example, how is the shift of the future employment landscape affect job opportunities for mid career professionals?
It's hard to decipher at first glance. But you know the type of specific questions to ask for.
There isn't a textbook answer here.
The trick is to get a sense if this person is well qualified, knowledgeable and knows where to refer should there be any additional resources needed.
Find out his past experiences in dealing with career matters.
It's not possible for the Career Coach to be an expert in all industries.
Neither should you find a Career Coach that only specializes in your industry unless this is really needed.
Get one who has diverse exposure across their roles.
The more experiences the Coach has from the client cases, the more he/she is able to digress things, able to sharply analyze and guide you.
Worldly Knowledge & Labor Trends
A good Career Coach should have a broad sense of the evolving changes across the workforce, especially transformation across several job roles that could be displaced.
Trends are important too.
The Career Coach should be able to briefly explain about the statistics and employment data, available government support and funding, as well as learning and development opportunities to upskill.
For example, if you are making a new career switch and will like to get employment after picking up the skills, the PCP program by WSG is helpful.
Additionally, it's not just Singapore only.
If your career is in the arts and music scene - where would your future career advancement be? Where would the opportunities reside?
A brilliant Certified Career Coach will know how to get you understand the moving parts, diagnose your career challenges, use tools if required and work together with you to produce a robust plan that yield superior results.