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Prep for Success

Coaching can take your career and your salary to the next level.

A few years ago, Nicole Dunn was a struggling producer for Split Ends, a reality-TV show about the hair-salon business. She was never sure how long her job would last or what she would do when it ended.

So she decided to take the plunge and hire a career coach to help focus her goals and sharpen her communication skills. "I had never invested in myself before," says Dunn, now 37. "I decided now was the time."

Her investment in three months' worth of group coaching sessions via a weekly conference call paid off. "It was the best $1,000 that I ever spent," says Dunn. Within a few months, she had landed a job with a new show as a supervising producer, several levels above her previous position, and nearly tripled her salary, to $3,000 a week. "It felt really good to ask for what I thought I was worth and to get an offer of even more," she says.

The new program -- Decision House, about relationship interventions—was not renewed after its initial season. But its connection with Dr. Phil McGraw's ever-expanding empire put Dunn in a much stronger position to pitch her own ideas to network executives. She credits her coach, Eli Davidson, with helping her visualize her goals and develop a strategy to achieve them.


Davidson, a motivational speaker and author, offers some tips for choosing the right coach. First, not every coach has extensive experience -- you can receive a coaching certification after just a few hours of online study. So look for a professional with former clients who can attest to the coach's effectiveness. And to get the most out of the experience, be sure that you're willing to modify your behavior and try new approaches.

Coaching fees vary dramatically. For $1,000, you may be able to buy a month of private coaching, several months of group coaching or a year of coaching online.

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