It's always a good idea to obtain professional guidance with regards to your career; but the question is, how should you go about finding a good career coach, especially one within your own city? Here are some steps that could help:
- Ask your peers and mentors for references. In other words, it's good to work on a word-of-mouth basis, especially if this word of mouth comes from within the industry. Opt to approach a colleague that you admire, or a boss you look up to in particular, and ask them for references and contact numbers of career coaches or career experts that they know or have heard about; preferably, of course, one that has an office within your city. Also, it's a smart move to let your friends and family members know about your intent to find a good career coach. The more pairs of eyes that help you look for a good career coach, the better for you. Networking is key.
- Keep an eye out for career seminars. Always be on the lookout for advertisements regarding seminars on career development; you usually find such advertisements posted around busy areas of your town or neighborhood, promoted at community centers, or even posted on office bulletin boards. Usually the key people holding these career seminars are certified career coaches themselves. Once you get to attend one of these seminars, approach the seminar point person and inquire about whether you could consult him, on a person-to-person basis, regarding your exact situation.
- Surf the Net. Information is so abundant on the net, you just have to know how to look for the coach that you need. Try keying in "career coach (city name)" and hopefully you'd be able to obtain names and contact numbers. If there doesn't seem to be one for your exact city, try putting down a nearby city name. Also, if you're not able to pull up the credentials of the career coaches right away, you could opt to list the names and then google them one by one yourself, to see their qualifications.
By the way, how can you know how effective a career coach is, just by using the Internet? Make sure that you take note of their previous work (for example, their published material, the seminars they have conducted), their education (is it related in any way to career counseling?), their affiliations (are they a member of an accredited career counseling association? Are they connected to reputable educational or professional institutions?) and the testimony of their clients. Just remember, the point is you have to double check that the career coach you're planning on contacting has established himself in the field enough that you could reasonably trust him with guiding you in your career path.
- Ask help from your Human Resources Department. Most likely the HR department at your office would know of effective career coaches near your place of work; after all, it's to your company's advantage if you get a boost to your career. If you're a university student who wants to obtain career coaching early on, inquire at your school's Guidance Office. Remember, just be resourceful and ask help from relevant departments or people around you. Chances are, they'd only be too happy to point you in the right direction; it's their job, after all.
Good luck on your search!