Whether you have years of experience or are new to tech, a career coach can be a game changer. Read on to find out how a coach can help you reach your professional goals, how to find - and afford! - a coach, and the unique advantages of group career coaching.
Why You Need A Career Coach
Tech is known as one of the fastest changing industries around. So it’s no wonder if you struggle to keep up with trends, master all the new skills you need, and deal with the challenges of working in tech, both day-to-day and long term. But you don’t have to do it alone!
A career coach specializing in tech can give you all kinds of personalized support to help you be successful.
Learning and Development: A coach can evaluate your current skill set and find areas for where you can improve so you can get ahead in your work. They can also can give you advice on new skills that could be worth adding and how to build them.
Goal Setting: You can use a coach to help you define objectives for your career and create a plan to achieve them. This can be short-term goals like getting a new certification or a long-term goal like moving into a leadership role.
Problem Solving: A career coach can look at your challenges objectively and work with you on strategies to overcome them. Whether you are facing confidence issues, need to improve your communication skills, or are looking for a new role, coaching can get you over the hurdles you’re facing.
Networking: A strong network is a foundation that supports you through every stage of your career. A coach can give you guidance on effective networking strategies as well as help you develop your professional brand through, for example, optimizing your LinkedIn profile, creating an impactful resume, and refining your elevator pitch.
How To Find A Career Coach
Of course you’ll want to do all you can to choose a person you feel confident and comfortable working with as a coach.
1. Know what you need
Try to define as clearly as you can what you’re hoping to get out of coaching. You don't have to know exactly what you need (coaching can help you navigate ambiguity, after all!) but it's important to reflect a bit before starting a coaching engagement.
Being clear on what you want help with, and what kind of help you want (accountability, structure, resources, etc.) will go a long way in help you find someone whose expertise and working style matches your needs.
2. Start your search
After you have a sense of what you're looking for in a coach, you can use this criteria to refine your search.
Here are a few places to look:
- online searches
- recommendations from industry friends, colleagues, or professional groups
- LinkedIn or specific platforms or companies that offer coaching
- conferences or events that coaches attend
If you're a Tech Ladies Pro Member, you can also access a vetted list of our favorite coaches. Just ask in Slack!
3. Do your research
Make sure to ask about a coach's experience and credentials when researching your options.There are a number of certification programs out there, and plenty of coaches out there with non-traditional backgrounds, but there are also plenty of people claiming to be "coaches" without any real expertise.
Often, the best way to find your ideal fit is to schedule an introductory call. You can also ask to talk to, or read reviews from, current or past clients.
4. Commit to the process
Coaches don't have a magic wand to fix your career woes, but they can be a valuable source of support and expertise as you navigate ambiguity in your career, face challenges at work, or work towards specific goals.
Coaching is an investment of time and money so make sure you're willing to invest both before commiting to a coaching engagement!
How To Afford A Career Coach
The cost of career coaching varies based on factors like the coach's experience, location, specialization, support provided, length of coaching, etc. But, in general, you can expect to pay $75 to $200 per hour for one-on-one sessions. Coaches with extensive expertise in specific areas may charge as much as $300-$500 per hour.
You can ask a coach if they offer payment plans, package deals, or discounted fees for long-term coaching. If you can be open about your budget, they might be able to come up with a customized rate based on your situation. Or you can consider other ways to make coaching affordable for you - and maybe get even more benefits from it!
Depending on what you’re looking to get out of career coaching, you might want to consider asking your employer to pay for it. It could already be covered by your benefits package, under a learning stipend or professional development, for example.
In any case, both you and the company can gain from you having a coach. Below are a few you can share with your boss!
- Increased Productivity — Coaches can help you develop tools to navigate things that might otherwise harm your productivity—like a loss of motivation, ambiguity around your career goals, or even interpersonal issues on your team. When you have tools to deal with these situations, you’re sure to work more effectively, which means better on-the-job performance from you and hopefully better results for the company.
- Higher Satisfaction and Retention — When your employer pays for coaching, they are making an investment in your career so you can feel better about working for the company and hopefully want to stay there longer. This means reduced costs for the company because they don’t need to find, hire, and train new employees.
- Stronger Leadership — Career coaching can be especially impactful for women transitioning to or already working as managers. And having competent and committed leaders often has a “trickle-down” effect of improving the work and satisfaction of people reporting to that person. So, it’s a win-win for you and for your employer again!
Group coaching is often a more affordable option than 1:1 coaching—and it can be just as effective!
Group coaching sessions are usually held with a small number of people who have similar backgrounds, interests, challenges, or goals in their careers. And the benefits you can get from it beyond individual sessions include:
- Cost Effectiveness — Group coaching is always lower priced than individual coaching. Whether you or your company is paying for your sessions, this can make it much more feasible, especially if you’re looking for high-quality coaching on a budget.
- Extended Support — Because you’ll be with other people in similar situations, you can get more support from them as well as your coach. These varying perspectives can be super helpful, which is one of the reasons we include group coaching in Tech Ladies Pro Membership.
- Diverse Points of View — Each person in group coaching brings their individual experiences and perspectives with them. This can help you discover new ways of thinking and help you find different (and often better) solutions than you would on your own.
- Networking Opportunities — When you share with others in group coaching, you can quickly develop strong connections that go beyond the sessions. These can be people you turn to outside of coaching now and in the future. You can even network and collaborate in the future!
At Tech Ladies, we believe in the power of group coaching. We’ve seen over and over how our Tech Ladies Pro members learn and grow in the sessions we offer them with our certified career coaches every week. It's a powerful addition to our weekly events and private Slack because they can start to put the things they're learning into practice, and get real-time support and feedback in the process.
Staying competitive and balanced in tech is rarely an easy task. But, thanks to career coaches, you don’t have to try to do it alone! Coaching is an extremely effective way to navigate the challenges you face daily, as well as to reach your short and long-term career goals. And, if you choose Tech Ladies Pro membership, you’ll experience all this (and much more!) for an affordable price and in a friendly and supportive community of women also building their careers in tech.