How to Find a Career Coach
Our VIP Lunch & Learn With Executive Career Coach, Ann Mehl
Ann Mehl is a top-ranked executive coach and career strategist based in New York City. She coaches, speaks, and writes about how to navigate the changing world of work.
After years of experience in executive recruitment, Ann founded her own company, Ann Mehl Enterprises, LLC. Since launching in 2005, Ann has advised and coached men and women from all walks of life. In fact, Ann has clocked over 10,000 hours of one-on-one coaching.
On Friday, June 22nd, Ann sat down with a small group of PowerToFly VIPs and provided valuable information about career coaches and how they help others. Would you like access to exclusive chats with successful women like Ann? If yes, then click here to become a PowerToFly VIP and join our community of women here to empower one another.
Q: What exactly is a coach? How do I know if I need one?
Ann Mehl: Coaches help healthy people get healthier, and a career coach should do just that. A career coach should be a partner throughout your career journey, and advocate for whatever goals you're looking to reach. There are all different kinds of coaches, from life coaches, executive coaches, to mindfulness coaches. Similar to a therapist, we're bearing witness to someone's situation, such as the story and journey they've had to date. We're listening for all those details and moving forward from there - setting goals and holding people accountable for those forward moving actions.
If you're feeling stuck (that's a great word for wanting a coach—if you're "stuck" on something), then it's probably time to find a coach, or if you're feeling a lack of support. If you don't have a full network or a platform like PowerToFly a coach could be a valuable supporter or cheerleader for you.
Q: What does the first coaching session look like? Do you use any personality tests prior to your first session?
AM: Even before the first session, I do a free consultation where I'll try to figure out what's at play, why does this person need a coach at this very moment, and I'll share a little about me and my background so we can both determine if we'll be a good fit together. At the first session I'll have my client fill out an intake form, which is a series of questions helping me to benchmark the goals we're going to achieve throughout our sessions, as well as establish guardrails to achieving those goals.
I'm a huge fan of the HBDI (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument) assessment. I think it's really useful to help individuals find out how their brains are hard-wired and how it applies to how they communicate. I may not launch a session with this, but many times I do assign this test as homework, and as something we can debrief with at a later session.
Q: What's the difference between a coach and a mentor?
AM: When I think of a mentor, I think of someone almost like a family member who puts you in touch with a friend of theirs who has, for example, just done well in business. Generally speaking, that person can be a great mentor, meaning the conversation is free, and it's overall broad guidance around best practices. That kind of exchange is also open-ended. So, I think of it as sort of a "call a friend"—someone you can call into for advice. The coaching relationship is slightly different because, first, you pay for it, so there's a frame and structure around it. There is also often a time frame, too—so you agree to a number of sessions or arch of time. And then I'd say that the coach is often specialized. They may not be a generalist overall, in say, business, but they might have a niche that relates to the thing that you're trying to solve for. For example, if it's a life issue, you might find a life coach who specializes in health and wellness. If it's an executive coach, and you're trying to build a business, then they might have that niche. So, I think that's a slight differentiator than a person who's a general mentor.
Q: Should I be looking for a coach in the same field as me?
AM: I do get these question a lot, like "Do you get the world that I've lived in?" or "Have you worked with VCs?" People want to know if a coach understands their field as well as they do because if not, then that person doesn't want to waste an hour catching up the coach on what they do. There is a part of me that says, similar to the type of training that we get as coaches, we are looking for the thing behind the thing. And so, what's the presenting data isn't always the problem, if there is even a problem. And therefore, some of it is just is surface information - it doesn't matter if we're talking fashion industry, tech software company or financial company. That being said, I can appreciate that you save a lot of time when you work with someone who understands lots of parts of the business or the ecosystem that you're in. So, I would say the answer to this question is if you can, whether they've worked with other people in your similar role or field, or if they've done the job you have right now, then Bingo! That's beautiful. But, if not, I would say just be careful not to hold it against the person because if they're very insightful, very studied, with credentials, and years of experience, you might be surprised that they can reach in and understand some of the nuances of what you're trying to figure out even though they've had a different journey.
Q: Are coaches available to people with a limited budget?
AM: There are a wide array of coaches available in today's day and age, from virtual to in-person coaching. If you're concerned that you won't be able to have a long-term relationship with someone because you can't afford it, then check out the schools that give coaching certificates. For example, Columbia, the Hudson Institute of Coaching, and New York University would all have recent coaching grads with individuals looking to launch their practice and are eager to start working with people. They may not have the highest rates in town, but they would probably do great work with you and are definitely excited to build their clientele!
The Women at Work Podcast Shares Actionable Advice on Money, Working in a Male-Dominated Industry, and Finding a Sponsor
Recently I've noticed a bit of a trend (anecdotal evidence alert!) 🚨— I hear more and more folks asking for actionable advice.
For the boss you loved, the coworker you hated, and everyone in between
Two things are inevitable when someone leaves your team at work: there will be an abundance of sweet treats (I'm partial to those giant cookie cakes from the mall) and there will be a card passed around for everyone to scrawl the professional version of sweet nothings in. Depending on the "importance" of the person, you may get the bonus activities of farewell gifts and/or an all-team champagne toast.
If you are a New York based tech professional and you'd like to attend this event, please email your name and LinkedIn URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you are a software engineer, fitness enthusiast or both, you won't want to miss PowerToFly's evening of product demos and networking with the women tech leaders and allies at Peloton.
Founded in 2012, Peloton brought top talent together in its Silicon Alley headquarters to create a new concept in fitness. In their words, "We loved cycling but had a hard time finding a workout that consistently fit our schedules, and our at-home workouts never felt quite up to par. So, we set out to create a world-class indoor cycling studio experience on your time, and in the comfort of your own home."
This event is your chance to hear directly from the women tech leaders and allies who make their revolutionary products like the Peloton Bike, Peloton Tread and Peloton App possible. We'll be devoting a large portion of the event to taking your questions and I know the Peloton team wants to hear from you!
The unique evening will take place on Wednesday, February 12th from 6pm to 8:30pm at 125 W 25th Street.
These Researchers Argue It Could Lead to Traditionally Female Jobs Becoming More Valued
Studies have found that as women take over male-dominated fields, the pay drops. So what happens when men start joining female-dominated fields?
There's a lot more to building an inclusive company than just hiring more people from diverse backgrounds. So, how can you build an inclusive culture that will help you attract and retain a diverse group of employees?