All over the internet you’ll come across people – and I am one of them – who will prompt you to enlist the services of a professional Job Coach. Whether you pay this person, they provide their services for free, or they are paid through another source, you really should take advantage of their expertise.
So let’s talk about exactly what that Job Coach can do for you. Knowing the benefits of having one after all, will provide you with the information you’ll need to decide whether or not this is a person who can help you or not.
First and foremost, a good Job Coach will need to speak with you and find out your skills, interests, positive and negative past experiences, education, training needs and certifications. A good Job Coach will also probe into why you’ve left jobs in the past, why you are currently unemployed, what you’ve been doing to stay relevant, ask about employment and character references, and look into your job maintenance skills specifically. After all, getting a job is one thing, keeping it is another.
This person needs to discuss with you pretty early on the topic of receiving feedback and whether you are open to listening, reflecting on the feedback and considering making changes. Because if you only want to pay someone to tell you things you want to hear and refuse to hear anything that might suggest you’ve got some changes to make, this person isn’t for you; get a dog instead. Dogs think every owner is the perfect person just the way they are.
Everything related to employment is on the table with a good job coach. This includes: your attitude, clothing, non-verbal communication, technical and job-specific upgrading, interview skills, work ethic, professionalism, your commitment, communication and interpersonal skills, listening and speaking skills, writing and vocabulary skills.
A good Job Coach takes the time to show you what someone successful in your field acts like and looks like, and then holds a mirror up for you and says, “So, what do we need to change so you become that successful person?” Far from just trying to make every successful worker identical to every other person, the Job Coach has to work with whatever you present with. Building on whatever you present with, the Job Coach has to understand what it is you want, the kind of progressive acceleration you may wish to realize, and your definition of success. You may only want a relationship that gets you an entry-level position and then terminate your relationship. You may want to retain their help for the first six months of the job until you pass probation. Up to you.
And of course when I say it’s up to you, the Job Coach may or may not have restrictions on their involvement with you too. If they work for a company, they may only be able to work with you up to a certain point and then have to terminate the relationship. This could mean when you get hired, or for a year whether you get hired or not for example. If they are self-employed, they may stay helping you until you stop paying!
A Job Coach is someone you can contact when you’ve got an issue at work and need to get the external, non-partisan advice of someone on how to best handle the problem. Maybe it’s a problem with a Supervisor, a change from what you expected the job to be, a transportation problem getting to work because of a shift change, or you’re not getting paid consistently and are thinking of quitting. Before making a knee-jerk decision, the Job Coach might be worth contacting and laying things out for them so you get some advice. A huge problem for you might be something relatively easy to address and you could not only keep the job you want, but handle it professionally to following their suggestion.
If you’ve got anxiety issues over certain questions that you just know you’ll face in an interview, a good Job Coach can help you prepare solid answers for these, and then grill you in a mock interview so when it’s asked in a real interview, you’re composed and confident in your reply. And those crazy questions that are just plain stupid and an insult to your dignity? Well, the good Job Coach can explain why companies ask those questions, what they are getting at, and how best to frame a response that answers the question and sets you apart.
So how much does a Job Coach cost? Well, the smug answer is to ask you this: “How long have you been out of work and how much income have you lost during that time trying to get a job without a Job Coach?” Seriously though, it varies. It depends on whether the person is self-employed and this is their source of income, or perhaps they work for a government agency and their services are free for you to access. It also can vary depending upon the length of time you need them, what you are asking of them and what they can deliver.
A poor question to ask is, “How much do you charge and what do you do?” A good question to ask is, “I know I need help preparing for upcoming interviews, and I’d like to get along better with my co-workers. Can you help me in these areas and what do you charge for your services?”