Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Do I need A Career Coach, Career Counsellor or a Head-hunter?

If you are like many people these days who are in career transition and up against big career choices, the distinctions between a 'career coach', a 'career counsellor', and a 'head-hunter' may come in handy. By definition, a ‘coach’ is someone who instructs others in the fundamentals of a given activity while a ‘counsellor’ primarily listens to the problem and then gives advice on how the problem can be addressed. Both coaches and counsellors direct strategy to achieve desired results. A ‘head-hunter’ is an individual that can help you find a placement in your area of expertise.

When choosing to work with a counsellor or a coach, consider asking the following:
  1. Does this person have the appropriate educational background and/or experience with which to assess your situation?
  2. What time-frame should you expect in order to resolve your issue?
  3. How accessible are they? Can you call anytime or do you need an appointment?
  4. Are they able to help you create a résumé that will be read and meets the demands of a rapidly changing marketplace?
  5. How much do they charge?

Neither head-hunters nor career counsellors will typically look at the broad view of your life, including how well the careers you have in mind may align with your values and the other priorities in your life. A head-hunter in particular usually has little concern with whether a job is a good fit for you, or whether you would enjoy it. The head-hunter’s incentives are lined up with getting a fee for the placement, period.

With all of this being said, the most important thing in choosing a career counsellor, career coach or head-hunter, is that you feel chemistry and feel good about the person’s ability to support you in your job search or career transition. Never be afraid to interview more than one career coach, career counsellor, or head hunter to see which is best for you. Be sure to tell them about yourself, what you like and don't like about about work and any other relevant details about your situation. At the end of the call, ask yourself, "Do I feel empowered and confident in this person?" Know that you don’t need to hire the first person you speak with. Speaking to a handful of career coaches and career counsellors will only take a couple hours of your time and can pay off greatly if you find the right relationship to guide you to making the best career choices for you.