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Need a career push?

What’s the next step in your career? Do you want to develop your hidden talents? Sometimes a coach can help guide you in a new direction, but make sure you hire one with the proper education so that you get your money’s worth.

During recent years coaching has grown significantly. Professional coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal change. An individual or team might choose to work with a coach for many reasons. These could be a desire to accelerate results, get help with clarifying decisions, discuss the next step in your work or personal life or identify your core strengths. In short, coaching helps individuals and companies focus on what matters most in life and business.

A certified coach has to have completed training approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF), the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) or an equivalent kind of coaching organization. The program normally involves 60 to 80 hours of theoretical training and continuous meetings with clients.
“Within ICF we also work with eleven core competencies that are the foundation for the ICF Credentialing process examination and we set important ethics rules that each coach has to relate to,” says Inger Eriksson at ICF Sweden.


Inger Eriksson. Photo: Jini Sofia Lee

Debated job coach

Coaching has been a debated area recently in Sweden. The government allocated several billion Swedish crowns to provide around 273 000 job-seekers at the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) with job coaches. The drive received criticism from many directions. One objection was that the investment would not be of any help since there were not enough jobs on the market anyway. According to a report from IFAU, the Institute for Education and Labour Market and Education Policy, the project helped some groups but in total has proven to have had limited effects on the transition towards a new job. The report also showed that those who participated in job coaching got more help and were more content than other job-seekers. According to Inger Eriksson, the term ’job coach’ is not something commonly used within the world of coaching , but is rather something solely connected to the Swedish Public Employment Service.

“As long as the coach knows what he or she is doing, ICF doesn’t have any opinion on using a job coach. The problem with the drive that was performed by the Swedish Public Employment Service was that these coaches were not required to be trained or certified. In fact, coach isn’t a protected title, so anyone can call themselves a coach,” she says.

Another criticism regarding the job coaches that were part of the big coaching initiative was that the focus was more on results, ratings and demonstrating figures to show more people getting new jobs.
“In general, coaching is pretty straightforward about setting up goals and personal development. But it all depends on what the client wants. As a coach, I don’t have any agenda of my own. My client decides which direction we should take. This is a big difference compared to a large procured and created position where the mission is focused on getting the client a new job.”

Before you hire

Before getting help from a coach, Inger Eriksson recommends considering a few important aspects.
“Since it can cost quite a lot to hire a coach, I would advise meeting with a couple of coaches before you decide. Book a meeting or talk to the person by phone. Some coaches offer a trial session, where you have the opportunity to sit down and talk and get a feel for whether this is the right person for you. If you have no previous knowledge or experience about coaching it could be difficult to make a comparison between different coaches. My best advice is then to go with your gut feeling.”

Most importantly, Inger Eriksson highlights the significance of choosing a coach that has training and certification from ICF or a similar organization.

What to think about

When looking to hire a coach, keep the following in mind:
* Learn about coaching.
* Know your objectives for working with a coach.
* Interview three coaches before you decide on one. Ask each about his or her experience, qualifications and skills. Also ask for at least two references.
* Ask questions such as: how many years of experience do you have, how many people have you coached, what is your philosophy about coaching etc.
* Remember, coaching is an important relationship. Make sure a connection exists between you and the coach you choose.

Source: International Coach Federation