On the twenty-ninth entry of The Link Up with Latesha, our incredible host Latesha Byrd, founder and CEO of Byrd Career Consulting, shares some tips with us on what we should be looking for when we choose our career coach, questions that we should ask as we’re making this decision and more. Remember, hiring a career coach is an investment, so make sure you perform your due diligence throughout the process by following the five pieces of advice Latesha offers in the show!
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Latesha: Hello, hello. Welcome to another episode of The Link Up with Latesha. How y’all doing? How y’all doing out there? It is July, and we are halfway through 2020. It’s like I feel like we’re in 2025, but I do feel like I’ve aged about 10 years in, you know, these six months of 2020, but really excited to dive into today’s episode. As you all know, I am a career coach. I’ve been doing this for several years at this point, and my company’s served over 1,000 professionals in a variety of industries, but my passion is doing 1-on-1 career coaching. I love it so much. My clients inspire me. They’re so ambitious, and they want the best for themselves, for their lives, for their careers, and it truly is an honor to be able to coach them and to be able to help my clients really achieve these newfound levels of success and fulfillment and happiness in their career. I just wrapped up enrolling some new clients for Q3, and I had a client tell me today, “You are my person. I already know, in the first few minutes of us speaking, that you are my coach,” and that really meant a lot, a lot. You know, one thing that I’ve been really thinking about over the last few weeks as we’ve been in this, you know, quarantine or, you know, staying at home and social distancing, is I’ve got a lot more time to 1. really focus on healing and focus on deep learning and to hopefully–and I hope that you all are doing this, but stretching yourself mentally and spiritually and all of these things, and I was thinking, I said, “Man, I have actually had a coach literally for five years straight.” So I started my career in 2013, I got my first coach in 2015, I quit corporate in 2018, and now I’ve been full-time on my own running my company for two and a half years full-time, and I’ve never not had a coach. All coaches need coaches, you know? That’s a fact. And I wanted to talk today about what to look for when you’re choosing a coach. You know, there’s a lot of folks out here who will say, “Oh, I can coach you.” You know, I think coach has definitely became an overused, you know, flashy term and job title, but it’s so much more than that, and there are some coaches out here that have other people not believing in coaching, and I’m telling you, if you get connected to the right coach, oh, your life will change. It really will change. So I wanted to share with you all just some tips on what you should be looking for when you choose your coach, questions that you should ask as you’re making this decision. It’s an investment, and you do want to make sure that you are being coached by someone that you trust, someone that you respect, someone that’s going to push you and challenge you and support you and believe in you and all of these things. So before we get into it, just a few updates on my end. If you are connected with me on social, please follow me on Twitter. That is where you can find me all day long. I give a lot of career tips, but sometimes I talk about natural hair, or I talk about what’s going on in music, but a lot of my content is really around changing the way we see our work, our careers, and how we show up in life in general, and yeah, if you follow me, then you know we just enrolled hundreds of new members in the Career Chasers Members Club. It is an online community for women of color that are seeking community and support and accountability as they seek to achieve their career goals. So man, we enrolled over three hundred and–what, 370 new members? Currently we’re at 473 members, and I am so honored to be working with each and every one of these ladies. Each month we have a new theme. July’s theme is salary negotiation, and we have our first live webinar this Monday coming up. So if you want more information about that, please connect with me. It’s great for the networking. It’s great for this community of women, because a lot of us feel isolated at work, you know, and we feel lonely, and we don’t know who we can talk to or who we can seek out for counsel or just to be there for us, and when I check in the Facebook group, man, it’s just so inspiring. Like, I lowkey be, like, crying a little bit. I’m not even going to lie to y’all. Because, you know, the ladies in there are asking, like, “Hey, who can be a referral for me at this company?” or “Let’s make sure we connect on LinkedIn,” and someone else is in there saying, “Hey, I have an interview coming up. Do you have any tips?” So there’s just so much love and support being shown and given in this community, and I’m really, really honored to have grown this membership to almost 500 people. It’s amazing. I wanted to launch this community because I can only work with a small number of people with 1-on-1 coaching, and so this community is a movement. Like, we are just getting started. I’m talking we’re gonna have merch, we’re going to have seminars and conferences and, you know, when outside opens back up maybe some meet-ups, you know? Maybe, like, 2022. [laughs] For real. But, you know, there will be meet-ups and books, and man, y’all stay tuned. Let me just say that, okay? Y’all stay tuned. I’m going to grow this membership to 1,000 members by 2021, I kid you not, and this is a strong tribe of women, and we are out here getting it. So more to come on that, and let me just go ahead and get back into today’s topic. So my first coach, he is amazing. His name is Peter, and we actually just recently reconnected last week, and he has always believed in me. I’ve never had someone like him believe in me that much. It was what I needed. I didn’t realize at the time how much I needed him because I didn’t really have the confidence that I thought that I had when it came to launching a business or growing in my career, and he really helped to instill this in me from very early on. So let me tell y’all how I actually met Peter. So I was at a conference in Vegas in 2015–and this actually might have been 2014 at the time. So I was late to a session. [laughs] If you know me, like, time is not on my side. I have no concept of time, that’s what Badu said, and I’m sticking by that. So anyways, I’m like 5 minutes late to this session, and if you’ve been to a conference, then you know ain’t nobody sitting in the first row. It’s like being late to church. You’ve gotta go sit in the first row because ain’t no other seats available. So I did my little walk of shame and I went and sat on the first row, and the topic was about setting career goals, and so we had to share with the person beside us–so I ended up walking to the first row, ’cause those were the only open seats, and I sat beside Peter. Didn’t know anything about him. I said, “Hm, he’s, you know, cool.” I [?], and a part of the activity was to share our career goals. We had to take 30 seconds and just share with the person beside us who we are, what we wanted to do with our lives, et cetera, and so I did that, and he shared his goals with me, and I could tell, like, it was like a light switch. He kind of looked like, “Hm, okay.” So we ended up connecting after the session and talked more, and he was like, “Yeah, I’m a coach. I would love to help you,” because I had just had the idea of starting Byrd Career Consulting, and so he was like, “I’m gonna help you. Like, let’s connect,” and I’m like, “Okay, cool,” and so he was my coach for about two and a half–two and a half years? Two years. I mean, really from the start, like, before I even had a website, before I even had my first paid client, he was there from the beginning. So I–oh, my gosh, I would not be where I am without Peter and all of the coaches that I’ve worked with. Like I said, I’ve had one since 2015, and it’s shaped how I navigate my career, how I navigate business. I was able to move very
strategically early on in my career because of my coaches, because of the coaches that I’ve had, and I’m a huge advocate of it. So I have five things that I want you all to really look for when it comes to hiring your coach. #1 is how and why did they get into coaching, okay? The how and the why. Again, there’s a lot of folks out here online saying, “I’m a coach, I’m a coach, and I coach, and–” Do you? For real? Like, okay, why? Why did you do it? Why did you start it? And pay attention to what they’re telling you, you know? If they’re telling you, “I knew I could make some good money doing it,” right? Listen to the reasons of why they got into it and how they got into it. Ask them about the mission. “What is your mission behind your business?” Okay? Like, “What is your mission?” I think every coach should have a very clear mission, and that mission should say who do they help, how do they help them, and what are the results. And ask them also what their vision is. “What is your vision for your company? What is your vision for your clients?” And the last important thing here on #1 is their values. So my coaching values are the three Cs, and that is Clarity, Confidence, and Control. When I break those down for my clients, they’re like, “That’s exactly what I need,” right? So you really want to understand just the foundation that your coach has set for their business, and you want to make sure that there’s alignment there. You want to make sure that there is clear alignment between their values and also your values, and if they say, “Well, I’m passionate about this,” passion is great, but no, no, no, what is your coaching actually rooted in? So that’s the first thing that you want to look for. The second one here is background. “What is your background? And what are your specialities?” So coaches have different things. Like, I focus on career coaching. Even if you break down career coaching, it could be a lot of different things. So I focus on, like I said, Clarity, Confidence, and Control, really from A to Z, from helping you figure out what you want to do in your career, what you actually bring to the table, what is alignment between who you want to become and the things that you want to do, alignment between that and then also the opportunities that are out there for you, and then once you figure that out–that’s that Clarity–then we’ll set a plan and strategy in place to help you get there, right? And then there’s that Confidence piece, helping them build up their confidence to know that they actually deserve it, to know how to elaborate and communicate what they bring to the table. And the last C is control, where that’s really focused on job search strategy, networking, having goals. So that’s that job search strategy. Then there are the tangible things that go within that. So we’ll look at the resume, LinkedIn, interview coaching, you know? Salary negotiation. Some of my clients are prepping for promotions at their company. They don’t want to leave, but they’re like, “Okay, I still want to make more money.” Yeah, I mean, hey, more money. “I want to make more money. I want more influence at my company. I want more visibility. I want to create a bigger impact from that IC, individual contributor, to a leadership role.” So, again, I am kind of well-versed in all of these areas, but then you also have coaches who do life coaching. You have coaches that do, I don’t know, relationship coaching, those that focus on, you know, mindset coaching. So you do have to understand first, like, what do you actually need, what type of result are you looking to get out of working with a coach, and ask yourself are you willing to put in that work? But still, ask them what their specialities are, and then ask them about their background. Me personally, my background is in recruiting, so I understand what it actually looks like to go from getting a job, from applying, to interviewing, to landing, to negotiating. Why? Because I’ve done that in my corporate career. The third one here is results, results and transformation. I’ve actually done this, you know? I know that there’s a lot of coaches out here that will say, “I can coach you how to get six figures,” but, like, again, that goes back to the values. Like, what is that actually rooted in? And two, have you actually done this for yourself? I’ve had a lot of success in my corporate career, and those experiences along with coaching shape me, and now I have conversations with people every single day about their experiences. So I have a lot of knowledge and background, but I still have clear results and a clear transformation that I can speak to that my clients get from working with me. Don’t be afraid to ask that coach, “What are the results? Tell me the clear results. What is the transformation? What does that look like? What differences do you see in your clients from when they first started working with you to when they are done working with you?” The next thing, #4, is what is their coaching style. Is it guided? Like, guided coaching, or is it more, like, free-form coaching, less structured? There’s pros and cons to both. So some coaches, they like to meet you where you are. That’s my coaching style. For Q3 moving forward it’s going to be more guided so I can scale, but with that being said, some coaches will say, “Okay, Week 1 we’re doing this, Week 2 we’re doing this, Week 3,” you know, and so forth, but for me and some other coaches, they’re like, “No, you tell me your problem, you tell me the solution that you are looking to get, and then we’ll figure out a plan together,” right? So you have to figure out what works best for you. If you’re the type where you really like someone to tell you exactly what from week to week to week is going to look like, then that might work for you, but understand that there may not be a lot of flexibility, like, if you want to work on something outside of those specific areas that they focus on. And #5 is access and communication. What does that look like? Do you have access to your coach outside of the coaching sessions? You know, are they able to support you before you have the next session? How much communication do you like to have? Most of my coaches I can text, you know, I can–I’m very respectful of others’ time, so I won’t call them at any time. Like, I just don’t think that’s respectful, but if we–so one of my business coaches, as I was opening up enrollment in the membership club, you know, she’s really good at project management and marketing and email campaigns and those types of things, and so we hopped on the call really quickly to really talk through my email campaign, and she was very supportive, and so some coaches are like, “You don’t have access to me. You can’t talk to me in-between sessions.” So, you know, understand that that might be something of importance to you. I like for my clients to email me or, you know, I take notes and follow up with them and, you know, we can kind of go back and forth via comments and Google Docs and that works for us too. So those are my five things. First is how and why did they get started – mission, vision, values, #2, what is their background – can they relate to what you are going through? #3 is the results and transformation. #4 is what is the structure of their program – is it guided or is it more free? And #5 is access and communication. I’ll end it with this – your coach should support you every step of the way. They should encourage you. They should believe in you. They should be your biggest cheerleader. It should not be a [haze?] process, like, “You gotta do it this way,” and what I’ve learned in even being certified in coaching is that it is not about me. It is about my client, and it’s about helping them get to a decision on their own, but making sure that I’m asking the right questions and pulling out things that they may not even see in themselves that will help them to #1, own this process, to have full accountability for themselves and also to feel encouraged and empowered every step of the way. Your coach should be one of your biggest cheerleaders. So I hope this was helpful. Another question that I get a lot is certifications and stuff, like, does that matter. I am certified in life and career coaching, but I also have coaches that are not certified, and I’m just going to say this – there are people out here with degrees that are in jobs and they have no clue what they’re doing, right? So if you really connect with your coach, if they speak to the transformation and results and they have that, you know, proven case studies, if they’re able to answer the questions that I’ve shared with you all today, I’m going to encourage you to go for it, you know? It’s kind of like, you know, working with a therapist. Try one coach, do a session or two, [and] if it doesn’t work out try another. Like, you’ve got to find the right person for you, but you don’t want to give up here. So I hope that is encouraging to you all, and I hope that you find the right coach. If this was helpful, then let me know, and I will talk to you all later. Peace.