22 Questions to Ask a Career Coach

This list of questions to ask a career coach will ensure you find the perfect person to help skyrocket your professional development.

Having worked with hundreds of clients, I fully understand the importance of screening to see if your career coach is a good fit. 

A good match – where the coach is in a great position to help the client meet their goals – is in the best interests of both parties.  

That’s why I used my years of coaching experience to create this list of queries for you. 

Questions To Ask A Career Coach
Source: pixabay.com (RobinHiggins)

The list begins with the basic questions that’ll ensure you understand the fundamentals of your coach’s program, then dives into deeper inquiries to help you suss out whether their coaching style is suitable for you. 

So, let’s dive in!

1. What Are The Main Benefits of Your Career Coaching? 

This is a good opening question to help you learn what type of goals your career coach is used to helping people work towards. Ideally, they mention some of the measurable results they have helped previous clients achieve.

2. How Can You Help Me?

It’s important that you and your coach are on the same wavelength when it comes to your desired outcome. Are you in the middle of a job search or looking to progress with your current employer? Perhaps you’re looking for remote work or for a role within certain companies. Make sure to clearly explain your current career situation and where you’d like to be in the future, then question how your coach can help you get there.  

3. How Will You Know If I’m The Right Client For You? 

The best career coaches can afford to be selective with their clients – and will question whether you meet their standards. They don’t want to waste the time of someone who they can’t help. Desperate coaches who are short of work may accept anyone as a client. That’s why you should ask your coach why they think you’re a good match.     

4. How Many Clients Have You Worked With In My Field?

A coach who has previously worked with professionals in your field will be able to give more detailed advice to help you get ahead. If your coach has previously helped someone else achieve your goals, you can feel more comfortable in their ability to do the same for you.   

5. Can I See Some Testimonials From Your Past Clients? 

An experienced and successful coach should have no qualms about showing you testimonials from satisfied clients. 

6. How Much Do You Charge?

Make sure there is no confusion surrounding the cost of their coaching services. This is a good time to inquire about payment plans or discounts for longer partnerships. Most top-tier coaches ask for a full upfront payment, but some are happy for you to pay per session. 

7. Where Do The Coaching Sessions Take Place? 

Some coaches engage in face-to-face coaching, while others only offer remote sessions via video call apps like Skype or Zoom. Remote coaching may be more convenient, but many clients find it more effective to share the same room as their mentor. Make sure you’ll be able to communicate through a medium that suits you best. 

8. How Much Time Do I Need to Dedicate to The Coaching Programme? 

While some coaches offer ad hoc sessions, many will insist you pay for multiple appointments upfront. This is often in the client’s best interests, as it creates the leverage needed for them to keep pushing forward over a longer period. You’re unlikely to see lasting results after only one or two sessions, after all.  

You may be given the flexibility to decide how often to schedule coaching sessions, but your coach will have their own ideas about what is most effective. 

career coach passion
source: shutterstock.com

9. How Will You Help Me Define Success For Myself?

A lot of people approach a career coach with a clear idea of what success means for them. Others just know they’re unhappy in their current role. Either way, one of your coach’s first jobs will be to help you define your own goals. It’s worth enquiring how they will assist with this. 

10. How Will We Be Tracking My Progress?

Some coaches are extremely target-centered and will be consistently on your back, ensuring your remain on track to reach your goals. Others measure progress based on their clients’ satisfaction.   

11. How Can I Be a Great Client? 

As previously mentioned, it’s in both of your best interests that you work well together. So, you should take the time to explore your coach’s expectations of you – and what you will need to do in order to get the most out of their coaching. 

12. What Are Your Credentials?

Enquire about your coach’s qualifications, but also pry into what experience they have in your niche. Would you take business advice from someone who has never launched a successful business themselves? Would you want assistance in your job search from someone with no specialist knowledge of positions in your industry?   

13. What is Your Coaching Process?

Any career coach worth their salt will have a structured process to efficiently push you towards your desired outcome. They should have no problem explaining how this works and why it’s effective. 

14. How Will You Provide Constructive Criticism?

Many high-level professionals seek career coaching because they’re surrounded by ‘yes men’. The last thing you need is for your career coach to be another one. 

Sure, it feels nice having someone explain how awesome you are, but this does little to fuel your progress. 

As such, it’s worth making it clear that you’re after a mentor who will be brutally honest about your strengths and weaknesses.  

Questions to Ask a Career Coach

15. How Will You Handle Telling Me I’m Wrong?

There will almost definitely be occasions where you disagree with your coach. It’s worth addressing this now and getting an idea of how that situation is likely to play out. 

16. What Are Your Techniques For Pushing Clients Out Of Their Comfort Zone?

A key benefit of career coaching is having someone to motivate and inspire you to progress towards your goals. This will inevitably involve taking the occasional uncomfortable step. Maybe it involves being bolder in your job search. Perhaps you need to be more assertive in your current role. Either way, a successful coach will be highly skilled at helping people make these bold moves.

17. Will You Recommend Career Paths That I May Have Not Considered? 

How To Choose The Right Career Coach

Many professionals looking for new careers are too narrow-minded when it comes to their job search. So, question whether your coach will be able to recommend a wide range of positions to you. 

18. How Will You Explore The Transferable Skills That I May Not Have Identified? 

Career coaches are fantastic at pointing out their clients’ blind spots. This doesn’t just help them avoid mistakes in their current job. It also helps them see new career paths that they may not have otherwise considered. If you’re open to the idea of a new trajectory in your career, question how your coach can help you find this. 

19. What Are Your Core Life Values?

You’ll feel more comfortable working with a coach who appreciates the same things in life as you, so ask them to share their views on this. Do they value honesty? Integrity? Career freedom? Happiness? Legacy? Success at all costs? 

20. Have You Been Through Career Coaching Yourself? 

If they worked with a coach before, question how it personally impacted their career. If they’ve had a positive experience from being coached, they’re arguably in a better position to create this experience for other people. 

21. What Have Been The Biggest Achievements and Setbacks in Your Own Life?

Ask your coach to share some of their own success stories. This is a great question to give you a deeper insight into their life experience. In order to be successful in your career and life, you’re probably going to need to jump some sizeable hurdles. Ideally, in this situation, you’d be working with a coach who has overcome some hefty obstacles themselves. These coaches will be able to relate to your career setbacks and be in a strong position to help you out of a sticky situation. 

22. Can You Help Me Manage My Personal And Professional Life?

Some coaches like to keep their advice ‘strictly professional’. Others understand how personal issues can have a huge impact on your career. Perhaps you want someone who can assist with issues such as work/life balance or helping a partner be more understanding about your workload. If so, question whether your coach is able to provide tips on solving these problems. 

Are You Ready to Start Your Search For a Career Coach? 

With these questions to hand, you’re ready for a constructive interview with your career coach. When it ends, you’ll be in no doubt as to whether they are a good fit for you.

Are you ready to take the next step, and learn what I can offer with my career coaching services? 

If the answer is YES, let’s start a conversation.

Click here to enquire about my career coaching >>

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About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.