How To Find a LGBTQ+ Friendly Career Coach

How To Find a LGBTQ+ Friendly Career Coach

The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as a partnering between clients and coaches in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires clients to maximize their personal and professional potential.

At the center of every successful coaching partnership is trust and safety. If clients don’t feel comfortable and free to express themselves without judgement from a coach, it’s very difficult to make any real progress in achieving goals.

In this article, I outline specific actionable steps to take as an LGBTQ+ career professional in helping you find a career coach who authentically gets you and can support you in a professional, but empathetic and inclusive, partnership.

Here’s how.

Survey The LGBTQ+ Community

If you’re seeking Queer friendly or LGBTQ+ self-identified service providers, the best referrals typically come from within the LGBTQ+ community by individuals who have personally or professionally experienced someone firsthand as a former customer. For example, local area Facebook or LinkedIn groups can be a fantastic place to connect with other LGBTQ+ folks. You can simply create a post seeking recommendations, here’s an example:

“Hi folks, I’m new to town, just moved here for a new job and I’m having some issues at work with an anti-queer colleague. I am looking for a Queer friendly or LGBTQ+ self-identified career coach that I could talk to. Any recommendations?”.

When posting public content, keep it brief, to the point and don’t reveal too much specific detail about yourself such as where you live, where you work, etc. You’ll want to explain enough about your needs so people can make accurate recommendations and be sure to always include a call to action, aka what action you’d like people to take on your posts (i.e., referrals, mutual support, or empathy with something you are going through).

Even if you don’t secure a career coach from your post, you’ve put yourself out there and opened yourself up to others in the LGBTQ+ community for further dialogue- that’s a big step. Who knows, you might even make an unexpected friend or two from your post! That’s the power of networking!

Search LGBTQ+ Coaches On LinkedIn

At its core, LinkedIn is used by most folks as a job searching and application platform, but it’s so much more than that. LinkedIn is a worldwide database of career professionals seeking to network and share their expertise with organizations in the role of employee or with clients as a service provider/business owner. Similarly to searching for inclusive employers on LinkedIn, searching for Queer friendly or LGBTQ+ self-identified career coaches can be as simple as typing in the search bar “LGBTQ+ Career Coach” and going through listings that populate from the search. There are a few places in a professional’s profile you’ll want to audit for inclusivity, such as:

  1. Headline: do they use inclusive language in their profile headline?
  2. Image: do they use their image (profile and banner space) to communicate their inclusivity or demonstrate their own diversity?
  3. Summary: do they specifically call out or raise awareness to their ability to indefinity within the LGBTQ+ community or Queer friendly?
  4. Experiences/Activities/Volunteer: are they actively involved in the LGBTQ+ community or have previous experience with supporting Queer folks?
  5. Recommendations: do they have testimonials from past clients describing their inclusivity?

As you audit a potential coach’s profile, it’s important to remember not all diversity can be seen and not all Queer friendly coaches market themselves specifically to the LGBTQ+ community. But in all likelihood, if you find a coach that specializes in working with one type of marginalized identity, they typically have the skill to work with other minorities in a caring and supportive partnership too.

Engage In An Authentic Discovery Call

If you think you’ve found the perfect coach for you, or at least someone who has piqued your interest, the next step is to engage in a discovery call. A discovery call is an organic, personal opportunity to speak openly and freely with your potential coach about what specifically brings you to seeking a coaching partnership. Consider what struggles or burdens you are experiencing and how are they effecting your work and personal life.

Additionally consider how open you are to doing something about it! In coaching, if you aren’t ready or open to exploring and taking action to move through what’s challenging you and are simply looking to vent about things, then you probably aren’t ready to engage in coaching and are better suited towards finding a mentor or therapist or counselor.

For example, perhaps you are bored at work, and you are no longer challenged by your job as you’ve been doing it for three years now. In a coaching partnership, you might explore why you are feeling bored at work, how you’d like to be challenged in what you do and what role does work serve in your life. You can then start to engage in career exploration and clarity work with your coach to better understand where you could go next in your career and if seeking a new job is right for you.

In each coaching container, it’s important the coach and the client agree on what the client is wanting to specifically work on and achieve in their coaching partnership and how coaching can help the client get there. The discovery call is a perfect place to authentically and genuinely discuss and outline what you want and need from coaching and conversely, a space for the coach to articulate what coaching is, how coaching might help you in your situation and what working with that specific coach might look and feel like.

Use the discovery call to trial what working with the coach would be like. If the coach feels open, honest, friendly, inclusive and you resonate with their presence and services in the discovery call, then likely, your coaching partnership will feel very much the same. 

Ask About Ethics

Every, good coach, should adhere to some form of ethical standards. Many coaches are often accredited or associated with larger coaching bodies such as the International Coaching Federation. When you are assessing if a career coach is right for you, ask about their ethical standards:

  • Do they have their own ethics?
  • Do they follow the ethical practice of a coaching authority?

Be sure to ask what ethics means to them and how ethics plays a part in their coaching practice. Particularly in the LGBTQ+ community, you want to ensure your ethics, values, and beliefs align with your coach, as this deepens the trust and safety you feel in the coaching partnership. If you don’t trust your coach and what they stand for, move on in your search.

Don’t Just Give Someone Your Money Without Doing Your Research

There are many coaches that are untrained and unaccredited and act more as a mentor or consultant as opposed to a coach. There is nothing wrong with that! But, don’t just sign up with a coach you see on Instagram or TikTok because they have a big social media following.

Be sure the coach is right for YOU, not the half million followers they’ve amassed on LinkedIn. Ask critical questions and audit their services to feel confident they have the skills and abilities to work with you. Again, if you don’t trust the person and fully understand how they can best partner with you, then your coaching is likely not going to feel very genuine or authentic.

Keep Your Heart and Head Open

Lastly, I encourage you to be open with your journey in selecting a coach that authentically gets you. While many of my clients are LGBTQ+ as I am an LGBTQ+ career coach, not all my clients indentify in the Queer community. Even though I may not share the same identity as someone I coach, that doesn’t mean we’ve not had amazing coaching partnerships that have truly been instrumental in changing the direction of someone’s life.

Keep your heart and head open, don’t be quick to judge or assume anything about yourself and someone else. Reflect on what you need from a coach, how you want to be supported, and what matters most to you to feel safe sharing and being your true self.

Once you figure out what you need and want from your coach, finding someone who authentically gets you and honors your uniqueness in a partnership gets a little easier.

Nadia Ibrahim-Taney helps people design happy and fulfilling careers through authentic career coaching. Her expertise includes career exploration guidance, resume writing, interview prep and LinkedIn profile optimization. Her pronouns are She/ Her/ Hers and as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she focus on how diverse identities impact and influence folks holistically and professionally. Connect with Nadia on LinkedIn or at [email protected].com.

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  • January 21, 2023