15 Signs you’re ready to hire a career coach (and 3 signs you’re not)



Steve Perkins

Career Transition, Coaching

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Career coaching is becoming increasingly popular, as more people find themselves in a new world of work where things are more ambiguous and harder to navigate alone. Job expectations are less defined than in the past, change is more frequent, and opportunity for career fulfillment has increased.

Many people are turning to career coaching as an investment in thought-partnership, and a reliable tool to navigate these new work-life challenges with clarity and success. But how do you know if you’re ready for coaching? 

Below are 15 signs that coaching might be the right next step for you, but first, listed are a few signs that coaching is not right for you.

Signs You’re Not Ready For Coaching:

1. You don’t have time to invest in the process

For coaching to work, you have to spend at least one or two hours per week. However, part of the value of coaching is the fact that it creates space on your calendar and holds you to taking the steps that you’re usually too busy to take.

2. Unwilling to learn

Coaching is all about curiosity. You will experience new awareness and action, so it really doesn’t work if you’re unwilling to learn and grow. End of story.

3. You just want a set of predefined answers

The unique thing about coaching is that it’s all about exploring and creating new awarenesses and habits. A course or advisor is better for you if you’re looking for predefined answers.

Now that we’ve clarified the signs that you’re not ready for coaching, here are 15 signs that you are ready for coaching!

Signs You Are Ready for Coaching

1. You’re waiting until you have all your stuff together…

You’re not supposed to have it all together! And you don’t need to wait – let’s be honest, it would probably be a while anyway.

The reality is, this is why you’re stuck and why coaching will help. Half of coaching is just creating the space to think and move forward, so it gets you over the hump!

2. You’re feeling stuck in work or life, but don’t know what you want to do

It’s very normal for adults to not know what they want to be “when they grow up.”

The reality is, it’s hard to see yourself clearly, so it helps to have a process and coaching to step back and see yourself outside of your current role or how people have defined you.

This is why I designed the Career Sweetspot process, which gets away from hypothetical pondering, and defines the strengths, passions, and personality that make you uniquely you. Then, it gives you the steps for how to translate it all into a career.

3. You’re unhappy at work, dreading Mondays. You want a change but don’t know where to start or what your options are.

It could be a number of things.

Maybe it’s the culture or the wrong fit.

Maybe you don’t fit a typical box on the org chart and need to create your own path.

Maybe it’s hard to find direction because you’re interested in many things.

Or maybe you’ve just always done the next thing that made the most sense, and now you’re wondering “How did I get here? Is this what I’m meant to do?”

Regardless of your situation, the way career-path works has changed, so you need to understand your sweet spot and then let others help guide you toward the right opportunities.

4. You’re experiencing burnout, overwhelm, or disengagement

There are some steps you can take to start shifting things, but it’s hard to be motivated on your own. Coaching will create the space to take these steps.

Not sure if you’re experiencing burnout? Check out this post from coach Dana Lin.

5. You have a dream and you want to go after it

Let’s make it happen! Coaching is the perfect place to bring your dream to life, so you maximize your potential while also taking care of the practical needs at hand!

6. You know what to do, but need structure and accountability to make it happen

Coaching is all about getting from where you are to where you want to be.

It works because it’s customized to your personality and circumstances, and because there’s another person holding you to your action steps consistently over time.

If you keep getting sidetracked with daily life, coaching will force you to make the time for the steps you want to take, so you chose your goals over what’s just easy in the moment.

7. You’ve been thinking about a change for a while, but unsure or scared to stray from the known path

When you’ve been thinking about it for a while, it’s usually a good sign that it’s time.

It can be scary to step out of what’s known, but everyone who does is glad they did. If you don’t, you’ll always wonder “what if?” Besides, many times the worst case is that you just go back to what you did before!

People are inspired by peers who go after what they want and give it a try, so you’ll help them too. You can do it!

8. You’re feeling imposter syndrome and lack confidence

Everyone has unique abilities and value to offer the world.

If you’re doubting yourself, coaching will build your confidence and clarify your skills and how to use them. If you’re afraid of what coaching might reveal, it probably means there are great things to discover on the other side.

Don’t jump to conclusions – give it a chance and see! You’ll be glad you did.

9. You think it’s too late for you, or you’re stuck in this role/industry

It’s just plain not true. End of story.

At Greenhouse Coaching, we’ve worked with hundreds of people in the later parts of their career, including retirees! And if you’ve just been in a particular role for a while, you have transferable skills and experience that are valuable in many other arenas.

10. You haven’t had to job-search in long time and don’t know what’s relevant

Or maybe you’ve been out of the workforce and not sure how to get back in. Either way, you’ll be fine if you start with defining your skills and your goal, so you have confidence that shows in conversations.

There are 7 key tools for the job-search that we walk through step-by-step in the Greenhouse Method Coaching Membership, and you can do them yourself or with a coach.

11. Need a new job but overwhelmed and unfocused in job-search, and you’re not getting traction

You might be tempted to start with updating your resume, because it’s the obvious part. But the trick is flipping the script.

The vast majority of jobs are landed through conversations. It’s an important tool, but you want to start with outlining a simple Personal Brand Statement that will make your conversations successful as you work through the other six steps of job-search.

It’s all organized for you in the Greenhouse Method Coaching Membership, so you know what to focus on, how to talk about yourself, and you can land your ideal job in less time.

12. You started a new job and want to start well

The first 90 days are an opportunity to get off to a great start, but there are lots of things going on to distract your attention. Coaching brings focus and follow-through in a critical time like this.

13. You want to build a business but not sure what it is or where to focus first

Coaching is the perfect way to clarify what your business should be, but there are also 3 key steps to launch and grow from there.

The risk, especially for creative or service-based businesses, is to focus on what you do and the benefit it brings. However, people primarily pay to fix problems and need to know that it will work.

Thus, you need to identify the problem you solve, the process you use to do it, and have a simple business plan to keep it organized and profitable.

14. You want to get focused on your goals but you’re feeling scattered and disorganized

You might just need some new rhythms and a renovation to your calendar. Many productivity systems and tools just add to the overwhelm, so you try but quickly revert back to old habits. The trick is a simple, repeatable approach to focus on what matters most, with coaching to make it stick. This is one of the flagship things we do at Greenhouse Coaching!

15. You want to grow as a people-leader and create strong team culture

Most leaders never learned the basics because they were promoted for being great at other skills.

The reality is, leading has an entirely different set of skills – communication and listening, building trust, strategic planning, casting vision, inspiring ownership, giving direction and delegation, developing people, meeting preparation, difficult conversations, establishing team norms.

This is why coaching is so important – it’s a place to work on all the things that matter most but were never given to you before!

There are other signs you might be ready to hire a career coach, but these are common ones we see at Greenhouse Coaching. If any of these signs resonate with you and you want to give coaching a try, check out the Greenhouse Method Coaching Membership.

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