Mel Savage Executive Coaching
The Highly Valued Leader Podcast - CAREER Planning

Episode 23 – Why + How to Hire a Career Coach

Created By
Episode 23 - Why + How to Hire a Career Coach

Thinking about hiring a career coach but unsure about the ins and outs? This episode dives into the whys, whens, and hows of bringing a career coach on board.

Traditionally seen as a lifeline in moments of a career crisis, hiring a coach is a crucial step for untangling dilemmas, but it’s not just for tough times.

In conversation with fellow career coach Ann Sutton, we dissect the reasons you might need a coach, what a coaching relationship entails, how to pick the right fit and the array of coaching options available.

Whether it’s private sessions or more accessible group programs, this episode is your roadmap to confidently securing a career coach who’s all about shaping the career you crave.

If you’re looking for a specific freebie or tool mentioned in this podcast, you can visit to access additional free training tools designed to help you become a highly valued leader.

Read the Transcript

Disclaimer: Some of the content and information mentioned in this episode might no longer be applicable. This includes references to specific links, courses, or programs. As a result, all the links mentioned will now redirect you to our current website. There, you’ll find up-to-date information, resources, and exciting new content to support your journey. We appreciate your understanding and unwavering support.

Hello, my friends. How are you? I hope everyone is doing great. 

Today, I’m talking about Career Coaching, hence, the title of this podcast. The reason I wanted to talk about career coaching today is not because it’s what I do. Although it’s great to talk about what you do, it’s more about helping people understand what it’s for. One of the things I’ve really noticed, as I have been doing a lot of career coaching, is that not everyone knows what really is the true purpose of a career coach and how they can help you. 

I’ll tell you what, even in my corporate life, I didn’t really give a lot of thought to coaching, in general, and how it could help me, what I could use it for, and where I needed it in my life or in my career. It just wasn’t something that we talked about openly. Whether that was with colleagues, with HR, or whatever. It just wasn’t something that was talked about. 

If it was talked about, which was very rarely, it was talked about in the context of, Something is wrong with this person or something is wrong and this person’s career, they need coaching. It was like with a stigma, like in a bad way. It wasn’t like, Oh no, she’s recognizing that there’s opportunity. She needs to grow somewhere. It was more like, Something’s wrong with her or him or whatever, they need to get some coaching. So I had this stigma attached to it. 

So today, I want to talk openly about what career coaching is, and what it can do with you and clear up any myths that are out there. I have a great guest that’s joining me today to do that. Her name is Anne Sutton. She is someone who has been coaching for a long time as a career coach. She had a corporate career, she’s got her MBA in business, and she went through the same path that so many of us have gone through in terms of having a career and then not knowing what she wanted to do. 

She also, like me, ended up becoming a career coach and we’ve connected. We’ve been in a lot of the same groups, mostly entrepreneurial groups, learning how to grow our businesses online. I’ve just connected with Anne, and I think she’s a fantastic lady so I invited her to join me today just to have this conversation. It’s a long conversation, it’s about an hour. So I don’t really want to get too much preamble going here. 

I’ll just say that a lot of the time, people think that career coaches are just there to help you get a job, or just help you sort out your resume or your LinkedIn profile. But career coaching can be so much more than that. It can help you achieve your career goals. It can help you learn to think effectively, manage your mindset, show up on the job ready and focused, be a great leader, manage relationships, and improve performance. 

Yes, some career coaches also help you build your network, your resume, your LinkedIn, and so on and so forth. The other thing is career coaching is not only for problems, meaning, a career coach is not just for reactive situations, it can be for proactive situations as well. I know one of the challenges that people have is career coaching can be a luxury in terms of investment. There is, sometimes depending on the coach, a significant investment involved in one-on-one coaching. 

So we’re going to talk today about different kinds of coaching. Because coaching is really evolving and there are lots of ways out there to get consistent coaching on an ongoing basis that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It could cost as much as a gym membership or less on a monthly basis. We’re going to talk all about that today. Looking forward to doing that, it’s a pretty rich conversation. Let’s get to today’s topic, which is all about why and how to hire a career coach with my guest and my friend, Anne Sutton.

Mel Savage: Hey, and thank you. Thank you for joining me today. I’m so excited to have you here.

Anne Sutton: Thanks for inviting me.

Mel Savage: You know what, we career coaches, need to stick together. There are such great career coaches, I’ve been so lucky to meet so many. And I just love talking to you so thank you for joining me on the podcast today.

Anne Sutton: You’re very welcome. I think it’s so important when you mentioned career coaches sticking together. The reason I got into career coaching was because there are so many people who hate what they do. I just was so appalled. Honestly, that’s such a waste. Go to work, have fun, contribute, add value. In some ways, I’m glad there are a lot of us because there are so many people who are so disappointed with where they are. 

Mel Savage: I know. I was one of those people for a long time, which was my impetus for getting into this, and I worked with so many of those people that I was like, there’s got to be a better way. I always talk about that too, which is, that your life deserves a career you love. 

Because people think there is this Chinese wall or some impenetrable wall between their work life and the rest of their lives and one doesn’t spill into the other. But that’s not true. We know that’s not true. If you’re not happy in your career, you’re not making the most of the rest of your life either. 

Anne Sutton: Exactly. It’s too draining. It’s not giving you any energy. For me, a lot of the philosophy in my practice is about how can we make it easy and fun. Some people think work shouldn’t be fun. I think it should be because it gives you energy and you see more opportunities. I just think that life’s too short, let’s make it amazing.

Mel Savage: I agree. You know what’s interesting as I get more and more into this world and talk to people, it’s really people in our age bracket, maybe 40 plus, where we grew up on the idea that it’s okay for work to be miserable. We got to put our big girl pants on now, go to work, and be an adult. This is what it means to be an adult, you have to live in a job or go to Earth. Sacrifice a bit of your life and your happiness for a job to pay the bills.

Anne Sutton: Yes. I’m just going to endure. 

Mel Savage: Right. And we’re not that way. When I talk to ‘young people’, which everyone seems to call millennials now, if you’re under 30, you’re a millennial, which I don’t think is right. But anyway, these young people, don’t buy into that philosophy. They’re like, No. I’m going to make all my life and if I working in this job, I better be working for me emotionally, values wise, whatever, or I’m going to leave it. I love that attitude. What I’m not sure about is, is that universal attitude that they share, or is it just because they’re in their 20s? 

When I was in my 20s, and I didn’t have a mortgage, I didn’t have kids, or I didn’t have responsibilities, I was like that feeling the same way. But once you have a mortgage and you have settled in and you’re taking care of people other than yourself, your mindset shifts. I don’t know yet if these young people are going to carry that attitude into their next life stage, or if it’s just going to be the way things are changing. 

Anne Sutton: I think it’s hard. I remember in my 20s because you’re changing, there is a lot of experimenting. I started this job, but once you get into it, you realize there are elements of this that I really don’t like and you’re making a change. And until you take the job, you don’t always know there are nuances to it, where you realize, oh my, this is not fit for me. 

I think then, as you find success, and you get older, maybe into your 30s, the challenge is, once you find success, or even if that success makes you unhappy, but you’re getting a paycheck, you get stuck in that lane, where you’re less willing to take a risk and change jobs, or potentially even learn a different skill because you’re so good at the skill you’ve already developed. There’s a lot more fear, I think, as you get older, whether it’s because of the obligations you have, or simply because you’ve gotten good at something, and you don’t want to move out of that lane a little bit.

Mel Savage: That’s right. The other thing that I didn’t consider, but it makes such sense is your social standing. Yes, there are financial obligations, there are people depending on you, and there’s your own self-worth, which is around what I can do and what I can do well. But there’s this sense of social standing like, I am who I am because of what I do. 

Anne Sutton: Yes. I think a big part of what we do as coaches is help people have the confidence to, in some ways, disconnect from that social standing, and go, wait a minute, that’s all great. But in some ways, it’s almost like golden handcuffs where you are so proud of that title, or that position in the company, and you’re not happy, but you don’t want to look for anything else. 

There’s that fear of, what if I can’t be that successful in another company? Or, how long is it going to take for me to get an equivalent position somewhere else? I’m continually amazed at how a big part of career coaching has to do with mindset and helping people get over their fears, be open to opportunities, and really see the world differently and move forward.

Mel Savage: That’s a great point. I think that’s something we should cover because where does career coaching really help you? We’re going to go a bit backward here because we’ll talk a little bit today about, what career coaching is when you need it, and all that kind of stuff. But since you just talked about it, I was talking to someone yesterday about the idea that we know, Tony Robbins always says this, Mindset is 80% of success. 

All that busy work that you’re doing, strategies your writing, tasks you’re ticking off your to-do list, whatever, or the other 20%, which includes your support network. From a coaching standpoint, and tell me what you think about this, I find that there are two key mindset areas when people are really trying to figure out what they’re doing. One is opening their minds to just, okay, I can do something different. I can change my situation by just opening that box, that can of worms to a certain extent. 

And the other piece of it is, once they’ve opened their minds, and they built their plans, and they decided what they want to do, then it’s going out and doing it. Actually taking the action. That’s when the mind kicks back and goes, holy smokes, this is so scary. That’s when they freeze up.

Anne Sutton: Yes. It’s so interesting because when we were talking about, who’s ready for coaching, two of the big things that I look for are, are you open to trying different approaches? You don’t have to be comfortable trying different approaches because as a coach, that’s my role to help you be comfortable and to help you develop the skills to get good at whatever it is, whether it’s networking or reviewing your resume, whatever it happens to be. But you need to be open to trying new things and different approaches. 

Then the second piece, which you hit on, which I think is absolutely key is, that you do need to be willing to take action. As I say, you don’t need to be comfortable, but you need to stretch. You need to get out of your comfort zone and do things differently. We’ve talked briefly about how difficult networking is for people. But it’s like any other skill. It’s like riding a bike. You just have to get out, you have to start doing it, and you have to accept and be open to that. 

Yes, it’s going to be a bit uncomfortable but I can help as a coach. I can help you with that and give you some tools to make it less uncomfortable. But you’ve still got to be open and willing to take action.

Mel Savage: It’s a great point. But the whole idea around discomfort that you’re talking about is, that a coach can really help you just get comfortable with the idea that I’m going to be a little uncomfortable. Where is your range of taking risks or doing a picking action while you’re feeling discomfort? Because that’s really the key, especially at the beginning, it’s gauging your own level of ability to move forward while feeling discomfort. 

And that may be a very small move at the beginning stages, which is okay, as long as you’re moving forward. As you get more and more used to it, it’s like going to the gym, I can only lift 10 pounds, and then it’s 12 pounds, and then it’s 15 pounds, your muscle starts to improve with your level of ability to move forward while feeling discomfort.

Anne Sutton: Exactly. My motto is, forward is forward. When we talk about reaching out and starting networking, because that’s the first thing that makes people really uncomfortable, it doesn’t have to be a lot of people. I think that when you look at LinkedIn, it can be very overwhelming because you see people with 500 connections. You don’t need to be talking to 30 people a week. It’s about quality. It’s about building relationships and building a new community. But you do have to be willing. I think that’s the other piece. 

If you’re ready for coaching, you have to be willing to share with your coach that you are uncomfortable. These are the kinds of thoughts that are running through your head around networking. So that together, we can work on those and help get you past those, in coaching language, limiting beliefs that are holding you stuck as we were talking about being open to try new things and taking action.

Mel Savage: That’s a really great segue. Let’s talk a little bit about, how I know that it might be time for me to suss out finding a career coach. What would you recommend to someone? How do they know that maybe they need that kind of help versus just getting a mentor or talking to their best bud?

Anne Sutton: Right. I think, in my experience, my clients are feeling lost about what to do next and not sure what to say. Because on the outside, they may look very well put together and very focused. I remember in my case, saying to somebody in HR that was a colleague of mine, I don’t know what to do next. She was like, Are you kidding? You’re one of the most focused people I know. 

The difference between what she saw, and what I was feeling was so great that I just became completely stuck because I didn’t know what to even ask people to get information that might move me forward. So I think when we look at how you find a coach, it’s are you feeling stuck and lost about either what to do next, or how to get to the next step. And you’ve either exhausted your own tools, or you’re exhausted simply by looking for new tools. It’s a great opportunity to have someone who can help you be efficient with your time and move forward in a smart way.

Mel Savage: I think that’s really a great indicator of when you might need a coach. I would say, I want to take that one step further and see what you think about this. There are people who have been stuck for a while, who are, Okay, I’m feeling it’s a bit too painful now. I feel the pain, I feel the crisis, I need to do something, I need a coach. And a lot of people wait until they get to that point, to reach out and find a coach. I don’t know if it’s my own perceived idea about it in the corporate world or not. 

But there’s a stigma around career coaching, almost like in the old days around therapy,  which was, is there something wrong with you that you need to go see a coach, or you can’t handle your own career, that you need to go see a coach or something. I would say, you don’t necessarily need to wait until you’re feeling at your wit’s end to go and find a coach. 

To me, it can be a proactive thing, like I have this career plan, I’m going to go get whatever goal I’m going after. And I know that to get to that goal, I need to be able to build an influencer network. I know that I need to be able to leverage my friends to support me and my boss, or a mentor, and I could have a career coach as part of that network. I can make it a proactive thing versus I’m so stuck in a reactive thing. Do you know what I mean?

Anne Sutton: Yes, I do. I think people are starting to come to the point where, and certainly, as you point out, corporate clients really need to consider this, is that pro athletes have a coach. It’s not because, as you say, they’re lost or stuck, it just makes it more efficient for their time. They know they’re doing the right thing. We are all so busy, and the pressure to deliver is so high. Wouldn’t you work with a coach who can help you be the most efficient and effective with your time? 

I remember getting a trainer for exercising. And it wasn’t because I was stuck, that’s because I hated it. I don’t want to be forever at the gym messing around with the weird weights. I want someone who’s just going to take me through the steps, get me through the process, and get me where I want to be as quickly and efficiently as possible. That’s the beauty of coaching.

Mel Savage: I would say, too, like what you said before about the sports coach, I’m a big tennis fan. If anyone knows or follows me, I love tennis. I don’t actually play it but I love to watch it. I’m sure this is true for any athlete, but I’m always amazed, especially on a tennis court where they can be on this court for three hours all alone and they’re all amazing tennis players. They’ve all trained their entire lives. So what really makes a difference when you’re on the court that long is what’s going on in your head? How you manage your mindset. 

Managing mindset, it’s not something again, that you tick off your list. Okay, I feel great about myself. Done. It’s something that you have to manage ongoing because stuff comes up all the time. When an athlete gets a coach, a mindset coach, it’s about someone who’s helping them work through all those negative thoughts, all the things that are holding them back, and the people who are really great at managing their mindset are the ones that really become the amazing athletes. They’re the Roger Federer, the Rafael Nadal and the Serena Williams of the world.

Anne Sutton: Exactly. It’s a good point. I would say the other piece that that mindset gives you and the ability of a coach to insert the enthusiasm and get you through those blocks so that you hold on to your goal as you move forward is that the whole idea of accountability and continuing on your path because a lot of people start, and then they get distracted. They’ve got a report to do or they’ve got a big project. They might really commit to looking for something amazing for a month. And then they stopped for three months because life happens. 

I think with a coach, as we were talking about the idea of forward is forward, baby steps. No matter how big the lead fields, a coach can really help you break it down into manageable steps so that those three months are not a gap where nothing is happening, continually doing something and your coach is helping you with mindset elements to pull you forward, and be moving in ways that you can. You not only keep moving and keep your network engaged, but you feel you’re moving, you feel you’re in control, you don’t feel like, Oh my god, it’s been three months. Now I’m back at it again.

Mel Savage: It’s like when you go on a diet and you gain the 10 pounds back and then you’re starting over. You don’t have to. You can continuously make small steps and the right choices. I think that’s a really, really great point. 

Let’s summarize a little bit. When do you know you need a career coach? When you’re a little stuck and you don’t know where to turn. When you know that you have goals that you need to reach, and you want to be proactive about getting to them consistently, you can use a career coach as well. Or, when you have what you just said, accountability. But also, it’s helping you get past those limiting beliefs that life gets in the way. The reason why life gets in the way is because we let life get in the way. 

It’s a coach that can help you continuously take those steps forward, as you said, even though there are all these other things coming at you.

Anne Sutton: Exactly. And hone your skills. I love the expression that your best thinking got you where you are. Engage a coach so that we can help you take your thinking to the next level. That’s what athletes do. As you say, you get a mindset coach to take your thinking to the next level, or you get a coach that helps you with your skills to take your skills to the next level. Why not?

Mel Savage: Career coaches are basically life coaches who focus on the career world. We’re all mindset coaches. It’s just our expertise is helping a certain kind of person, some are small businesses, large businesses, executive suites, or whatever types of focus. All coaches are, as should be, essentially, life coaches in a specific field. Even if you’re just a dating coach, someone who’s helping you deal with grief or some change in your life. Any coach you find should be helping you with your mindset.

Anne Sutton: Absolutely. I think that you raise a really important point there, Mel about finding a coach that specializes, in our case, in career because while mindset is foundational and plays a role, I think regardless of what coach you’re doing, you’re going to help clients maintain their focus and their positivity. 

But when we look at career coaches, our specialization is understanding best practices when it comes to resumes, best practices when it comes to networking, or LinkedIn, or interviewing or networking. There is so much information out there that you want to pick a coach that specializes in an area. 

Particularly, if you’re looking at developing your career, you want to look for a career coach because there’s so much information just in our area when we’re work and best practices that you want to look for someone who is tracking all of those best practices and can help you specifically with where you want to go professionally. 

As you say, there’s going to be mindset pieces, there’s going to be that element of, as you say, life happens but life always happens. But overlaid with that is the whole specialization around what you need to be doing from a career perspective.

Mel Savage: Absolutely. So once again, it’s a really good segue to get into how you find the right coach for you. So first of all, understanding what you need help with and looking for a coach that specializes in that is a starting place. And you can do that just by Googling. The other thing I suggest, too, is to follow a few different people for a while, read their stuff, listen to their stuff, see how they help people, and see who fits with your personality.

Anne Sutton: Exactly. You want someone who can relate to your situation, understands your goals, and has similar values to When we talked about the importance of being open and vulnerable, you also want someone who you feel you can share that with, and whom you feel comfortable working with and sharing. In my practice, I really try to land on making it easy and fun for people. And some people do not like that whole idea of work needing to be fun. They don’t buy into that at all. 

In that case, I might not be the best career coach for you. You want someone who has shared values and that you look forward to talking to every week, every two weeks, or monthly, whatever it is. I really want my clients to want to share with me and look forward to working with me. I don’t want them coming to a session with me going, Oh my God, I haven’t done my homework. I’m like the school mom all of a sudden. It really has to be someone, as you say, who gets you and who you feel comfortable working with. 

I also say someone who listens and asks insightful questions, who instills confidence. You want to feel they’re someone who has a plan and approach that again, helps your confidence but also, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You can see how this person will help you meet your goals in the most efficient way. 

Mel Savage: Yes, absolutely. I would say, there are so many great things about what you just said. First of all, that’s why I was making notes to play back and get some more feedback from you. When you find a coach, a coach is 100% on your side, which is something that you really can’t say about anybody. It’s something that you’re paying for. We’ll get to paying for it in a second and different options that are out there. 

If you’re looking for a good coach, any coach should be able to give you a free initial consult of some kind. A strategy session, a complimentary session, whatever they’re calling it so that you can gauge whether you like that coach, get feel for yourself a feeling of safety and the fit to your point. Whether it’s, wanting a coach that makes it easy and fun, and welcoming to have, some people want their butts kicked.

Anne Sutton: Exactly. Some people want a stricter approach. For example, I have a client who said she wanted to work with me because she loved my sense of humor. But some people do not like my sense of humor.

Mel Savage: That’s right. People want a drill sergeant. Some people want someone who’s going to give them the hard truth and not be fast or whatever. There are coaches out there for everyone and you got to start somewhere with someone. So have that initial consult, suss them out as much as they’re sussing you out, and make sure that you’re finding someone where not only do you feel safe, meaning from judgment. Your coach is going to give you the straight goods, but how are they giving it to you in a way that motivates you? So being comfortable in whatever environment is important. 

The other thing you said about having a plan and approach, I think is really important, too because a lot of coaches today have a process that we try to help people with certain things. But at the end of the day, coaching is all about the client’s needs. You’re either going to buy into a coach because they have a process that they take you through and you want to go through that process and not change anything or do you want to coach that has a process, but it’s open to customizing it for you? Or do you want a coach who has absolutely no process and is willing just to go with the flow with you? 

There are all different kinds of ways and as a potential client, you need to decide what you’re looking for, and what’s going to work for you.

Anne Sutton: Right. I think given where you’re at and that’s why to your point, Mel, a free session, a free consult is so important because you get a chance to decide, not only if there is a fit with the coach’s personality and approach, but is there a fit with how they want to work with you. Maybe you’re in a place where a more open approach is best. Maybe you’re the person who prefers more structure. 

As an example, I was learning piano a few years ago. The first teacher I had was very open and was always looking for songs and everything, and I just found her approach really unorganized. It didn’t work for me. So I changed teachers to someone who said, Here’s the book we’re going to work through. Here’s what we’re going to do. So that I could very clearly see the progression of what I was doing and what my skills were. That’s a personal preference. Some people might be more open, some people don’t. That’s why that pre-consult is so important.

Mel Savage: I think in today’s day and age, people are really lucky because you can follow. You can either read someone’s blog, follow their podcast, find them on YouTube, or read an article they wrote for somebody somewhere. There are a lot of coaches that speak. Find their stuff, see if they fit, and you can do the research to suss them out of it. Even if it’s before the consult or whatever, just send them a note and ask them some questions. Get the coach that works for you. 

It used to be you had to go one-on-one to someone’s office to get coaching. Not anymore. You can do it from your couch at home, you can do it from your office over lunch. It can be as convenient as you want it to be. You and I are talking over Zoom right now. That’s how I coach my clients, over Zoom.

Anne Sutton: That’s something to think about, too. If the coach works mostly over Zoom, and you’re very person-to-person, and you’d rather have a local coach that you go to their office or you always do your sessions over coffee or something instead of Zoom. If you don’t like the virtual approach, that’s a really important consideration.

Mel Savage: Absolutely. You have to figure out how that works for you. It’s okay if you test things out. Most coaches will say, that if it’s not working for you, there’s usually some way out of it. That’s discussed up front and that’s one of the questions you should find out about as well.

Anne Sutton: When I do consult with clients, it’s not my role to sell them to me. It’s my role to help them make a decision that works for them. Whether it’s working for me, or it’s working for you or someone else, it’s about what is going to be the best fit for you. Because we both share that objective of what is best fit. I want you to move forward and be delighted with working with me. Do you want to move forward and be delighted? So we share that objective. The purpose of that, when I do consults, is to find out, am I the best person to get you from A to B.

Mel Savage: That’s really going to be key. When we’re talking about paying for someone to your career, I know you work with Christie Mims, who’s a coach for coaches and she helps people build their coaching business. She talks about some of the barriers that people have, generally speaking to paying for a coach that they have to get through. And I agree with you. When you’re speaking to your coach in your consult session, it should feel natural. It should feel already like they’re on your side and they’re not trying to hard sell you. 

That being said, there are some consistent excuses. I want to call them excuses, barriers, or challenges that potential clients have when they start going, This is real now. It’s starting to feel real. And their minds kick in and like, Oh, but I’m not sure I want to invest the money in this, or I’m not sure I have the time or I’m not sure my spouse is going to want me to do this. Those barriers kick in. So the coach might help you work through some of those right there in that session.

Anne Sutton: Absolutely. Because I think it’s very challenging sometimes for people to invest in themselves. For a long time, I think it’s changing now. But for a long time, people expected the company to pay for professional development, as opposed to, and you’ve alluded to it, being more proactive and saying, I need to take control of my career and my skill development. I have a responsibility here to invest. And just as you invest in an education, whether it’s college or university, or a variety of certifications, you need to continue to invest in growing your skill set, and getting where you want to be. 

One of my questions with clients is, When was the last time you invested in yourself? It’s that old analogy of, I’m not giving you a fish, I’m teaching you how to fish. The skills that you get from working with a career coach, you are always going to apply them. 

I remember when I first worked with one years ago when I was not sure what I wanted to do and was a bit stuck. It changed my whole perspective on how I looked for work, and how I presented myself, and it helped me see why I kept landing in jobs where I wasn’t the best fit. Through working with that person, I’ve landed the best job ever. It’s getting through that block of, Look, I’m worth it. It’s an investment in me. My other question to people will be, If you don’t work with a  coach, what are you going to do? How is it working for you so far? It’s back to that point of your best thinking got you here. Let’s get you to the next level. 

Mel Savage: Exactly. Even as an entrepreneur, I struggle a lot with the DIY mentality, meaning, I can figure out I can do anything, I can learn anything, I can fix my own website, I can write my own copy, I can figure out how to run my own podcast, I can do everything. I struggle with that all the time because if you really want to be a successful entrepreneur, you do have to outsource some of these things or get the support that you need. I’m a coach, I can coach my own mindset. Yes, but you still need support. 

Every coach should have a coach so that you get the support that you need. Even though you might be able to figure it out yourself, it’s going to take you a lot longer. You’re going to make a lot of other missteps, and you may not end up in the absolute best place for you when you don’t have a strong support network. In this case, we’re talking about a career coach. 

Anne Sutton: Absolutely. It’s also that saying that, You are a function of the people you surround yourself with. So why wouldn’t you have a coach as part of your team to move you forward? A lot of times, people don’t even see their strengths, because they’re just so innate, that they think everyone can do something that they do, In my case, I’m a very solid writer. I thought everybody could write and I had to realize, no, they really can’t do that, but I didn’t and then I didn’t value it. Because it was so easy for me, I didn’t think it was important. 

So helping clients see what you’ve got going there is a tremendous strength. Let’s build on it. You want to surround yourself with people who can do that for you.

Mel Savage: Absolutely. Let’s talk a little bit about payment and what it looks like. Acceptable cost ranges for coaches or career coaches and maybe even a little bit about different modalities. It’s not just about one-on-one coaching all the time. Let’s start with one-on-one coaching. What does it look like? What can you expect?

Anne Sutton: I think that there’s a range of prices for one-on-one coaching. How I sell my services is in a package. So there are a number of sessions that we do. They can be, in my case, six or nine. Sessions are, in my case, every two weeks. It varies a little bit, depending on the client. I think the beauty of one-on-one coaching is that there is that ability to customize depending on the client’s pace, and where they’re at. 

I really take the approach of it very much what you said was, that this is someone who is absolutely in your corner. I want my clients to feel that I am absolutely in your corner. If you want to meet weekly, we will do that. If you want to meet every two weeks, we will do that. My goal is simply to make sure you are moving forward and taking focused action. So that’s it when it comes to one-on-one. It works in that that way. I have a plan but there is a level of customization depending on where the client is at.

Mel Savage: That’s where I see a lot with one-on-one packages and mine is eight sessions. There’s usually a number of sessions and a package around a goal. Yeah. Depending on the person that you’re talking to, you can tweak it to make it work for them and what they need. Price-wise, I see coaches anywhere from $100 an hour or $2,000 for a package to $25,000 for a package. It really depends on the coach, what you’re looking for, how quickly you want to get to your goal, and obviously, their reputation, skill set, and experience.

Anne Sutton: Yes, absolutely. I’ve seen people who work on very expensive packages just for resume writing and developing your LinkedIn profile. In my case, I cover that as part of my program, mainly because of what you alluded to around mindset and really understanding the person. I’ve had clients come to me where they will have a resume that really looks great. But they’ll say to me, It’s not me, it doesn’t reflect me, it doesn’t pick up. 

I had a great client who is a software developer and her resume looks great. But she’s more of a Renaissance person. She loves research and development. And the resume didn’t pick up that color, that context of her personality, or needs. So it really depends on, as you say, the experience, what you’re looking for, and even what your budget is. There are some people I would love to coach but I’m in a place and a level of experience where I’m not the best fit and I don’t want them feeling completely stretched out of their minds working with me.

Mel Savage: You can always find the right fit for you for a one-on-one coach. There’s always going to be. That’s the other beautiful part of technology now, you can go anywhere in the world and find a coach that makes sense for you. The key thing is the connection and being able to move forward. There are lots of ways to do that. Another modality that is out there, you can think about group coaching. Some coaches have group coaching programs for certain things like, let’s build your LinkedIn profile, let’s build your resume, or things like that or workshops. 

The key with those kinds of things like group coaching, is you’re going to still get the traditional coaching approach, but it’s not going to be all about you, it’s going to be about the group. The benefit I find with group coaching, too is sometimes, someone else in the group is talking about something they’re struggling with, and that their struggle or their solutions or how they handled something actually gives you the solutions that you need in a more indirect way.

Anne Sutton: Yes. And I think you feel you’re not alone. You’re part of a community. I think with one-on-one coaching, there’s the opportunity to customize a little more. With group coaching, it’s a more set program, a little more recept format, which you want to think about. You want to think about just the group coaching including, potentially, Q&A sessions, where you’ve got some opportunity to ask a specific question. Because some group coaching is very structured. We don’t necessarily get Q&A sessions to ask specifically things that are holding you back or that you’re finding challenging.

Mel Savage: Right. So understanding that there’s less flexibility, it’s less customizable, it’s less all about you. But the benefits are, that it’s usually more affordable, and there are other people in the community. So you have to find that right fit. It’s not for me to say, personally, but if I’m going to deal with a big mental block, having that one-on-one attention might be more beneficial. But sometimes there are great coaches out there who have really strong group programs, and that can help as well. It really just depends on the person and the coach’s ability and what the potential client needs.

Anne Sutton: Absolutely. I think you made a great point earlier, Mel, about experiment. When I was looking for what to do next early in my career, I was so stuck because I thought I had to make the right decision. Do your homework. If a group program seems to fit better for your budget, give it a go, and discover what works or what doesn’t work for you. If you feel the idea of a group program is uncomfortable for you, do one-on-one coaching. Invest in yourself, invest in a package. 

You can even talk to the coach about what happens after the program. Is there ongoing support? Often, coaches will have a one-on-one program followed by some kind of monthly membership program or some kind of ongoing booster session, where once a month, we check in over a period of time. Because now you’ve got the foundation, now we want to keep you moving forward.

Mel Savage: There are all different kinds of things. That’s great talking about memberships. My membership program is basically what I take people through in my one-on-one but it’s, again, a DIY version. If you’re a DIYer, and you want to step in and dip your toe into it, then you can join a membership like that. For my one-on-one clients, I actually give them full access to the membership program and all the content that helps us, obviously, it augments our one-on-one session. So in all different ways.

Anne Sutton: Exactly. I think a membership program is a great way to make sure that you’re taking the information and you’re truly acting on it, and getting ongoing reinforcement around it. I really like that model for that reason. Because even with the one-on-one, I’m working with clients and getting them going but there’s still that need for some kind of ongoing support that I see in my practice and that you’ve built on so beautifully in your membership program.

Mel Savage: Thank you so much, you’re so sweet. There’s one more thing I wanted to say before we get to the net takeaway. Coaching certification. I know it’s a big thing in the coaching world for coaches who are certified, which I know we both are. But how do you feel about that? How do you feel about coaches who just woke up one day and said, I want to be a life coach now or I want to be whatever coach now and they actually haven’t been certified? Personally, I have two different points of view on that.

Anne Sutton: I think some level of training is important. For example, my undergrad is in journalism so I like to feel that I am good at asking insightful questions. However, the coach training that I’ve done taught me not just how to ask insightful questions, but how to have a more variety of tools for shifting people’s mindsets and reframing beliefs that are holding them back that I would not have had had I not done the training. 

I think some level of training and there are a lot of great programs out there is a really important thing to ask your potential coach about because you want them to have some base where they have a variety of tools at their disposal and can truly have that repertoire to be able to move you forward.

Mel Savage: I think, absolutely, from a certification standpoint, what I learned, was not just about the ability to ask questions, which is so important, but it’s that skill that we all can judge people. That idea of judging people and as a coach, it is so important that you do not judge your client. You just need to be where they are without getting sucked in. You need to still be that safe space. So when they fall into the hole there, you’re there to pull them out in a detached way without judgment, yet still be empathetic. That is a skill set that requires a little bit of practice to do it in a certain way. 

When someone’s looking for a coach, you need to decide whether you want someone who’s trained in coaching. You should ask this as part of the complimentary session strategy session. Or are you looking for someone who’s got life’s experience knowing that they may not be able to, truly, they might be, but they’re not necessarily trained in helping you with the mindset piece and pulling out of you what you need to do. They’re going to tell you ABCDE, this is how you write your LinkedIn profile. 

Anne Sutton: Exactly. I think a certification is like anything. It doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to get a great coach, just like an MBA doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to get a CEO-caliber hire. The training is something that you want to ask about, something you want to feel they have a base in. Then what takes over is, are they fit for you? Are they someone that you feel you can talk to or not?

Mel Savage: Be proactive. Don’t be intimidated to find a career coach because it’s about you and taking control of your career wherever you are in your career. Research, follow, find the right fit for you, and find the right financial fit for you. But don’t let that stop you. You’re investing in yourself, you’re investing in your growth. Ask questions about certification, share your problem, and see how the coach can help you because they can help you with things like accountability and mindset and figuring out what you want to do, as well as some of these ancillary tools, like how to interview, how to build your resume or your LinkedIn profile. 

There are a lot of different kinds of career coaches out there as well. I guess that’s it.

Anne Sutton: I think you’ve got it now. I think that’s really what you want to look for. See if you’d like them, see if their program hits all of the areas that you need help with. At the end of the day, are they someone who you feel is qualified, and who you feel really gets you? I think you made a great point earlier about wanting someone who can relate to your situation, understand your goals, and share your values.

Mel Savage: Thank you so much. I really enjoyed this conversation. I think you have such great insight into coaching. You have such a great experience and I so enjoy talking to you. So thank you very much for making the time today.

Anne Sutton: Thank you for inviting me. I appreciate it.

I just want to say that that episode was chock-a-block full of great insights on career coaching. I love having conversations with people and I really want to thank Ann for joining me with this discussion because she is a wealth of knowledge and experience at career coaching. And she’s just an all-around great person to talk to. 

If you’re interested in learning more about or coaching with Anne, then I’m going to put her contact information in the show notes at Call her up, set up a strategy session with her because like we said, in the interview, there are a lot of coaches out there that do similar things, but you need to find the coach that’s the right fit for you. And Anne’s been coaching a long, long time, and the lady knows her stuff. 

Thanks so much for joining me this week. Next week, we’re talking about all the myths that are out there about how to build a successful career. I have a fun little episode that harkens back to my fun party days, and I’m calling it Two Truths and a Lie About Your Career. I cannot wait for that one. 

I’ll talk to you next week. Bye for now.



More Categories

I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.

Follow Me

Ready for Executive Coaching?


Mel Savage Freebie Optin - Get the training

Want To Become The Highly Valued Leader Everyone Wants On Their Team?
I cover 4 simple strategies to help you become the trusted, go-to leader who gets access to the best projects, has the most influence and gets the money, promotions and people they ask for. No overworking required. Get instant access now.

about your host

Mel Savage

I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.
Scroll to Top

Become The Highly Valued Leader Everyone Wants On Their Team​

Become the go-to leader in your organization that consistently gets offered the most desirable opportunities. No overworking required.

Book Your consultation