Nathan Bransford, Author

Thursday, June 29, 2017

7 things to consider before hiring a career coach

Nathan here! So much is required of authors these days, everything from writing the darn thing to making sure your book is being marketed to managing your social media presence. To be a successful author in this landscape, you have to have an entrepreneurial mindset, which doesn't always come perfectly naturally to creative types.

My friend Justine Clay is a successful career coach who specializes in helping creatives organize their businesses so they can thrive. I asked her if she could please write a post on how authors might benefit from the services of a career coach and what they should keep in mind. And here it is! Enjoy!

Do you remember the good old days when all you needed for a successful writing career was a ton of great ideas, a typewriter, lots of solitude, and a great agent?

Is it any wonder there are more struggling writers than stars?

As a former-agent myself (though I represented advertising creatives, rather than literary ones), I learned that a good agent is a fantastic string to have in ones bow.  But luckily, agents are no longer the only route to building a successful and meaningful career.

My belief that everyone (yes even creatives!) can learn how to successfully position, market and profit from their creative talent is one reasons why, I left behind my 15+ year career in creative representation to become a business coach for creatives. The thrill I get from re-framing the myth that creatives aren’t good at business, and teaching artists of all stripes how to build a successful and meaningful career, far outweighs any kick I got out of seeing a campaign I produced on a billboard.

If you’re not of a mind to put your career on hold until you find the perfect agent, or you’re simply looking to take control of your creative career, business coaching might be a great way to reach that goal.

Now, when it comes to coaches, you can’t swing a cat without hitting one, so here are a few guidelines on what coaching is, what it isn’t, and the 7 things you need to consider before hiring someone.

Coaching is...
The practice of helping people develop the skills, habits and routines they need to realize their mission, vision and goals.  It’s about building a better future, starting now.

Coaching isn’t...
Therapy, which tends to focus on how your past affects your now. It’s also not a guaranteed formula for a specific outcome such as building a six-figure business in six months.

Coaching is perfect for…
Someone looking to learn the skills and mindset they need to continually grow and fulfill their potential.

Coaching might not be right for….
Someone looking for a silver-bullet, or someone to do it for them. Coaching requires you to challenge your assumptions, be OK with being uncomfortable, and do the work.  If that’s not where you’re at right now (and that’s OK), save your money for now.

Still thinking about it?  Here are 7 things you consider before hiring a coach

1) Get specific about the outcome you want

Are you looking make more money, become a household name, or improve your process and output? Coaches run the gamut from marketing expertise, money & abundance work, to straight-up business skills and finding one who is aligned with your goals will have a huge impact on your results.

2) Know your learning style

Do you just want the facts, supported by concrete actions you can take, or do you need to talk about your emotions and feel heard?  A good coach adapts their style to meet the learning style of their client, but the relationship will be a lot more fruitful if their teaching style is aligned with your learning style.

3) Do your homework. 

A personal referral is a great way to narrow down the field. Ask around and see if anyone in your network has worked with a coach. Don’t stop there; ask them why they felt they needed a coach, what tangible results they got, and the three main changes they’ve experienced as a result.

4) Beware of the hype

This is a big one for me.  No one can guarantee their formula can make you 6 figures in 6 months (or whatever the claim is).  If a coach is aggressively poking at your pain points and goosing up your vulnerability in their marketing, that might be a red flag.  Do your due diligence before making emotionally-driven decisions.

5) Look for a process with structure and flexibility   

It’s easier to buy into a process that has built in milestones and tangible outcomes.  That said, you should ask how flexible the process is. You are unique and a good coach will meet you where you are (not where they think you should be), and draw upon their arsenal of experience and resources, to help you move forward, rather than force you down a path just because it worked for them.

6) Interview coaches before you sign up 

To ensure you get the best out of your experience, it’s important that you have a genuine rapport with the coach, as well as feel confident about their experience, expertise and results. To help prospective clients figure out if I might be a good fit for them, I direct them to a FAQ page on my website before we jump of a free 30-minute call where we talk about their business sin more depth.  A good coach will be invested in making sure they are the perfect fit with you before you sign up with them.

7) Check out their client testimonials 

Client testimonials are a great way to see what other people have got out of their experience. Look for testimonials that go beyond “Lisa’s awesome!” and speak to the specific results clients have got from the process. You should also feel to ask for a couple of client references so you can speak to someone in person about their experience.

If the idea of gaining clarity around what you want, devising a plan to help you get there, and having the accountability to keep you on-track with consistent action, I’d love to chat and see if I can help. Go ahead and click here to book your free assessment call where we will talk about your career, you can ask questions, and we’ll discuss solutions.

I look forward to helping you take the next step towards your goals.

Justine Clay is a speaker and business coach for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers. Through a series of clear, actionable steps, Justine will teach you how to you identify what makes you stand out from the crowd, create a marketing message that resonates with your ideal clients, and build a successful and fulfilling creative business or career. Sign up for Justine’s free guide: How to Find High-Quality Clients and Get Paid What You’re Worth and start making monumental changes in your creative business or career today.


JOHN T. SHEA said...

“...writing the damn thing...” Well, I COULD hire a ghostwriter, to add to the lawyer, accountant, agent, editor, publicists, and career coach etc. But then I might need a hitman to bump off the ghostwriter if he or she talks. And a criminal lawyer if I get caught. This could get expensive!

But seriously, thanks to Justine Clay and Nathan for this. Creativity and entrepreneurship can be complementary for some, but certainly not all, or all of the time.

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