How Do You Know A Career Coach
Is The Real Deal?

There have never been more career coaches in the history of the world than there are now.

Back in the 1600’s, when there were maybe four or five jobs in all of society, no one needed much help picking one, learning it, and doing it.

Today’s global economy, with near-infinite choices, could not be more different. 

With it now being common to not only change jobs, but change industries multiple times, it’s natural to seek input on big career moves. (Which, after all, can have some pretty life-changing implications.)

This has created an explosion in the number of people claiming they can propel you to higher professional heights.

So many, in fact, that you might feel confused about how you can tell if a career coach is worth following.

Here’s my take.

First, it starts with taking complete and total ownership of your career.

Kadima’s philosophy is, “You own your career, we accelerate it.”

No matter how much advice another may offer, your career is fundamentally yours. 

You make the call. You live with the results. And you decide when it’s time for something to change.

If –– like so many –– you are looking for a coach to think for you. Or take you by the hand while issuing one patronizing instruction after the next. Until somehow, magically, a job offer appears like a gift from God…

Then you are in the wrong mindset to benefit from even the best coaching available.

I contend that those individuals who accelerate their careers succeed because of themselves, first and foremost. And only secondarily because of a coach’s input. 

This is why, before I accept someone into Kadima’s Career Accelerator Program, they have to apply. 

The path I take people on is rigorous. It demands more of them than they are used to giving.

It challenges their beliefs about how companies really hire.

Most people, candidly, aren’t cut out for it. 

Not because there’s anything wrong with them, or because they aren’t capable in theory.

It’s just that the level of drive someone has to have, to willingly do what my system asks, is very high. 

Not to mention the resilience to withstand rejections and setbacks in the job search. Basically, I’m talking about people with a growth mindset. A big one.

These tend to be people who are perhaps a bit more experienced. Those who have watched co-workers get promoted over them (despite being at least as good, if not better than they were.) 

Or those who, for whatever reason, are simply fed up with not being where they feel they could or should be. This fed-up-ness is essential. It is the base-level requirement for accelerating your career, with or without a coach.

“Okay, okay” you might say.

“I get it. Let’s assume I’m fired up and motivated. How do I, as that serious and ready person, pick a coach whose advice is actually valid?”

A fair question that I will answer the way Justin Welsh discussed who to take business advice from.

As you read further, remember as always that what you decide to do really doesn’t affect ME.

Would I love to help accelerate your career? Sure, absolutely –– but I admit and acknowledge that I am not “everyone’s” career coach. 

With that in mind simply consider my responses as food for thought in your job search.

Below are Justin’s questions, with my answers from a career coaching perspective.

Question #1: Does this person actually do what they say?

I see a lot of career experts on LinkedIn giving dubious advice that I’m not convinced they even followed.

I can’t prove it on a case-by-case basis, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that lots of experts (in career coaching and other fields) tell people to do one thing, while they themselves did something totally different. 

I teach The GROWTH Framework. I used it to get leadership roles at American Express, Google, Facebook, and Salesforce. It was the backbone of my rise from Manager → Director → VP → Global Department Head making $500,000 per year.

It’s how I grew my network, got raise after raise, and opened doors I didn’t even know existed.

When you join our online course, The GROWTH Framework is what I show you. When you do coaching with me, The GROWTH Framework is what I deconstruct and customize at a higher level.

Hell, I myself turned down a half-million-dollar offer from Amazon just a few weeks before writing this post. An offer that came from past actions that I took within The GROWTH Framework.

It’s not the only way to do a job search, but it’s what I teach, and it’s certainly what I did.

Question #2: Does this person operate in a way that aligns with my values?

This one is a little more subjective, but no less important in my opinion.

Does the way that the coach speaks, behaves, and conducts themselves fit your sensibilities?

While I am a pretty logical person, I have to admit that there are certain people who I simply connect with more than others. 

Those who, for reasons I cannot necessarily explain, I am much more likely to listen to and take seriously when they share advice. 

As you explore the landscape of career coaches, be aware of whose words truly resonate with you. 

You will probably find yourself more motivated to act on the advice of those coaches, as opposed to one who may be smart and qualified, but whose values you don’t share.

Our main value is to treat people RIGHT and get shit done:

  • We treat everyone with Respect
  • We always act with Integrity
  • We behave Genuinely
  • We Humbly appreciate our privilege

We work hard to build and retain Trust

By “get shit done”, we mean getting people great jobs quickly, confidently, and profitably. 

We also give scholarships to those with financial hardship or underprivileged backgrounds.

Question #3: Can this person prove, without a doubt, that they are having success?

Nothing touchy-feely about Justin’s third question, which is as clear cut as could be.

Bottom line: is the career coach you are checking out actually guiding clients to success?

Kadima coaching clients, on average, increase their annual compensation by $96,300 after working with us (as of September 2022.) 

They’ve gone on to get job offers from Google, Amazon, Facebook (Meta), Spotify, Salesforce, Microsoft, PayPal, and many more household name tech firms.

If the coach you are considering is not able to furnish success stories from their work, that’s a pretty obvious red flag.

Justin, when talking about who to take business advice from, said that if you cannot answer a resounding, “Hell Yes!” to each of these, then consider taking advice from someone else.

I maintain the same exact stance on choosing a career coach.