The world of work is anything but straight-forward. A career coach can help you navigate the job market, highlight the skills that make you shine, and become a professional donut taster (aka get the job of your dreams).
How happy are you to wake up and head to work on Monday morning?
Or maybe you’re STILL searching for the right job after three months of interviews and cover letters.
If you feel unsatisfied with your employment situation, you’re not alone. Studies have shown that about half of Americans are not happy at work.
Why is that? Are we just getting collectively fed up with bagels and casual Fridays?
Of course not, those things are awesome…
The truth is, the world of work is MUCH more complicated than it has ever been before. And yet, there’s still next to no one available to help us:
- Understand the job market
- Prepare for interviews
- Draft letters of interest, cover letters, and resumes
- Change careers
- Seek further education/qualifications
- Start a business
- Navigate social media, Linkedin, and online resources
Searching for work can be like getting dropped into a pro sports match and having NO CLUE what the rules are.
That’s where career coaches come in. They help you learn the rules, play BETTER than the competition, and walk away with a trophy career. *THE CROWD GOES WILD!!!!*
In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about career coaches—why you might need one, how to find one, how much they charge and more. We’ll even introduce you to some resources if you’re thinking of becoming a career coach yourself.
Let’s get into it.
- What is a Career Coach?
- What is the Role of a Career Coach?
- What Does a Career Coach Do?
- 10 Reasons to Hire a Career Coach
- 10 Signs You Need a Career Coach
- How to Find a Career Coach
- How Do I Choose the Right Career Coach?
- Different Fields of Career Coaching
- Career Coach Certification
- How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Cereer Coach?
- Career Coach Near Me
- Online Career Coach
- Online vs. Offline Career Coach
- Free Career Coach
- Typical Career Coaching Questions
- How to Become a Career Coach
- How Much Does a Career Coach Make?
- My Personal Approach as a Career Coach
If you’re interested in how career coaching can change the way you see your life at work, you’re in the right place. But first, let’s cover the basics.
What is a Career Coach?
You: I need a job. I need money.
Career coach: How about you give ME a job and pay ME money?
Hiring a career coach can seem counterintuitive. But the truth is, finding a career on your own is a bit like trying to fix your pipes without calling a plumber. You might be able to do it, but the results will likely be sub-par.
A career coach is someone who specializes in helping people navigate the complicated world of work. They are trained and certified to help you:
- look for work
- seek advancement within your industry or company
- change careers
- start a business
- succeed in your current position
- much more
Career coaches typically charge by the hour.
What does a Career Coach Do?
A career coach does two things for you to help you achieve your goals:
- They help you understand how to play the game: Whether you’re an artist or an economist, the rules of the game are largely the same. For example, writing a good cover letter or learning how to navigate online job boards are things that can boost anyone’s ability to find a career, no matter the industry. By learning these skills, you instantly gain more confidence and perspective.
- They help you understand what kind of player you are: Everyone wants to be the quarterback. But if you’re a natural kicker, you probably won’t get the job (and if you do, you probably won’t like it). A career coach can help you understand your strengths and the type of tasks you find fulfilling. Combine these, and you’ll be able to pick a job you actually want to do.
Of course, there’s a lot more to it. But because everyone’s situation is different, the approach your career coach takes will depend on your needs. Career coaches always do thorough research and plenty of planning for each client, so you can be sure they’ll be prepared to deliver results when you meet for your sessions.
10 Reasons to Hire a Career Coach
- You can’t find work: If you’re qualified but just can’t seem to land a job, then there’s obviously some piece of the puzzle that you don’t have. A career coach can help you better explore your options and optimize your presentation.
- Interviews are your worst nightmare: EVERYONE hates interviews. That’s just a fact. But it’s also a fact that people who succeed at interviewing are much more likely to get the job. You may never love interviews, but a career coach can train you and help you practice. With any luck, your next interview will be your last.
- You’re ready for a change: Are you a desk jockey who’s always wanted to be an exotic bird trainer? There’s no time like the present to seize your dream, but how do you get there? A career coach will do the research to show you the road and then help you walk it.
- You’re not happy at work: Ok, so you’re one of many that aren’t thrilled about their 9-5. You may not know how to remedy your situation, but contacting a career coach is a good way to start. Whether it’s shifting your perspective or making a big change, your coach will let you in on possibilities that you never knew existed (e.g. Did you know that you can ask your manager if you can work at home? And did you know that they’ll probably say yes?).
- Networking gives you night sweats: For some of us, talking to strangers and industry peers is the social equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. If you’re socially awkward, networking is probably not your forte. A career coach won’t make you shake sweaty hands with another suit. Instead, they’ll help you find a way to network that vibes with your personality.
- You think social media is a fad: It’s not. Social media is here to stay, and your presence on it will make or break what employers think of you. If your professional reputation isn’t plastered all over the internet (and maintained meticulously), you may seem like a risk, or worse, out of touch. Your career coach will help you join the 21st century with ease.
- You want a promotion/raise: Don’t we all? But telling your boss that your toddler broke your Xbox and that you really need the money for a new one probably isn’t going to put you at the front of the line. Your coach will help you excel in your current position, and better yet, they’ll share the secret of getting noticed for each of your accomplishments.
- You need to go back to school: Going back to school is a huge commitment, and it can be expensive too. If you’re going to make it work, consider a career coach to help you manage your time, nail important internships, and catch the eyes of employers even before you don your cap and gown.
- You want to break free: If you’re ready to break out of the office and start your own business, there’s A LOT you need to know about management, networking, marketing, sales and much more. It can get complicated, but a career coach can help you keep everything in perspective and understand how to overcome each new challenge as it arises.
- You need some application assistance: Even if you’re confident in your skill set, hiring a career coach to help you tighten up your resume, cover letter, and other aspects of the application process can make a big difference. One session may be enough to turn an average portfolio or cover letter into a great one.
How to Find a Career Coach
Sure, you could go onto Google and type in “career coach near me,” but that wouldn’t get you much closer to finding the right one for your needs.
Here are the best ways to find a career coach.
- Ask around: The best way to find a career coach or counselor is to find real people that have used their services—and you’d be surprised just how many people enlist their help. Start by talking to family and friends; they’re sure to toss out some names of qualified coaches.
- Call a nearby college: Colleges and universities have entire departments responsible for helping students find employment. Even if you aren’t (or weren’t) a student, they can give you tons of references and tell you how to narrow your search.
- Go to the source: Head to the website of the National Board of Certified Counselors and do a search in your area. These counselors are fully vetted and guaranteed to be licensed and certified.
How to Choose the Right Career Coach
So, now you’ve got a list of potential coaches. How do you know which one is right for you?
This is a good question because not all coaches are the same. Some specialize in exploratory work for unemployed people while others might only work with managers. Here’s how to narrow down your results.
- Look for qualifications: You should expect your coach to have something to show for their training. Certifications and degrees show that they are more than just a motivator—they’re a specialist. Look for coaches with a degree in counseling and/or one of these certifications: CCSP (Certified Career Services Provider), CMCS (Certified Master of Career Services), CCC (Certified Career Counselor).
- Ask for references: If no one has much to say about your coach, that may be a red flag. Ask for references and reach out to them before laying your money on the table.
- Talk about coaching methods: Every coach uses a certain method to get you moving in the right direction, but there isn’t a method that works for 100% of clients. Ask how your coach is going to help you achieve your goals. If you feel uncomfortable with the way they want to go about it, then you may want to choose a different coach.
- Ask if assessment is important: Any good coach knows that the steps you take mean nothing if you don’t learn from them. Assessment should be a huge part of the process. If it’s not, your coach may be more interested in making a buck then helping you grow.
- Pay attention to rapport: How does it feel to interact with your coach? If you’ve only talked via email, make sure to give them a call or meet in person before committing. Even the most highly decorated coach might not be a good fit if your interaction feels awkward or you don’t really vibe.
Different Fields of Career Coaching
As we mentioned before, there are plenty of different career coaches out there. We can’t list them all, but here are some of the most common. We’ve divided them into categories based on methodology and expertise.
- Directive Career Coaching: This coach will be more focused on the rules of the game than understanding your hopes, dreams, and inner-most desires. Directive coaching is less touchy-feely and recommended for those who need to learn to nail interviews, write resumes, act confidently, and get the basics down.
- Non-Directive Career Coaching: This coach will be more into exploring your personality and what motivates you to do well. They will want to find out what sort of player you are before anything else. If you’re looking for work, are unhappy at the office, or want to make a change, non-directive coaching is ideal.
- Eclectic Career Coaching: A combination of the first two with other eccentricities thrown in, this coaching style is discovery oriented. You’ll be encouraged to explore and push your own boundaries while learning to work within those of the world of work.
- Educational Career Coaching: Often the type of coach or counselor you’ll find at a college, this coach will assess your educational background as the first step to helping you find a career. If you’re a student or are interested in finding a job that corresponds to your degree, this type of coach is great for learning all the options.
- Vocational Career Coaching: And you may ask yourself, how did I get here? A vocational coach will help you understand what kinds of careers may interest you based on your skills, personality, and interests. They are specialists at building career paths.
- Placement Career Coaching: You have your eye on the prize. Now you need help getting there. A placement coach will help you plan and prepare to get the job that you’ve always wanted.
Career Coach Certification
We talked a bit about certifications above, but there are a lot more. There are a number of universities and counseling boards that offer certifications of varying types. Here are some of the best qualifications to look for in a career coach.
- A university degree in career counseling
- A certification from the National Career Development Association (NCDA)
- A certification from the International Coaching Federation (ICF)
- A Board Certified Coach (BCC) credential
If your career coach has a different certification, that’s ok. Just make sure to research the institution that accredited them to make sure that it is reputable.
How Much does it Cost to Hire a Career Coach?
You can hire a career coach on a session-by-session basis, or you can buy a package. While packages may seem attractive for their bulk discounts, we recommend working with someone who charges per meeting. Coaches who offer packages may not be motivated to give it their all during each session.
One session can cost anywhere from $75 to $500. Though if you’re not a CEO, we wouldn’t recommend paying more than $150 per session.
Online Career Coach
One of the most popular ways to interact with a career coach is online. You can find a coach, reach out to them, get in touch with references, have your sessions, manage payments, and celebrate your success all from the comfort of your home! By using video chat and file sharing, you can enjoy all the benefits of career coaching without having to worry about traffic or rearranging your schedule.
Better yet, many career coaches that work online are more affordable, as it’s more convenient for them too.
On the other hand, some people really need that personal touch, and online interactions can never replace a face-to-face meeting in that regard.
In the end, it depends on your preference. We’ll help you weigh the pros and cons next.
Online vs. Offline Career Coaching
Which is right for you? Take a look below at our very exciting table to get an idea of the differences.
|Offline Coaching||Fewer distractionsMore motivationalBetter for personal development||ExpensiveTime-consumingChoose from restricted pool of coachesPossible wait times|
|Online Coaching||ConvenientAffordableChoose from thousands of coachesEasy to get in touch any timeChoose between a variety of communication methods (message, video chat, calling, etc.)||You are responsible for creating a positive environment for your sessionsNot appropriate for practicing some tactics for interviews, networking, and other interpersonal skills|
Is it possible to be your own career coach? YES!
If you’re already highly motivated, confident, and ready to make your mark on the world, then all you need are some pointers to help you understand those crucial rules of the career-finding game we keep talking about.
Luckily, you can find them for FREE in this Self-Career-Coaching Guide curated by real career coaches.
If you think you can take it on by yourself, give the guide a click and a browse. If you feel like you might need more help after all, the info from the guide will be perfect preparation for the type of work you’ll do in your sessions (and it will probably save you a few sessions and a few hundred dollars too!).
Typical Career Coaching Questions
How to Become a Career Coach
Would you like to become a professional career coach?
It’s a big responsibility, but nothing is more fulfilling than helping clients regain their confidence and happiness while achieving goals they never thought possible.
If you want to become a successful career coach, follow these steps.
Understand the necessary skills
You need to become well-acquainted with the skills you possess and those you’re going to need. Understanding these will help you figure out what kind of coach you want to be.
Are you a born researcher? Then you might be a great educational career coach or exploratory coach that helps people locate new opportunities and go after them.
Are you a people person? Maybe you should specialize in networking and interviewing skills.
Maybe you’re not very well-versed on social media or entrepreneurship. These are concepts that you’re going to have to master, so make sure to keep your weaknesses in mind when choosing a certification.
Speaking of that…
Choose your training and certification program
You need to get certified and rack up plenty of experience before you hope to take on clients. We’ve recommended some great certifications above, but don’t limit yourself. Do your research and find a program that has a sterling reputation and covers the information you need most.
Even after you earn a certification, you should never stop learning. The best coaches have multiple certifications and are always seeking new knowledge to help their clients and advance their careers.
Develop your unique coaching vision
So, you’re certified and ready to roll… or are you?
You still haven’t figured out the most important part of your coaching method: your vision.
You can read books and theory all day, but it’s your unique style and personality that will inspire your clients and skyrocket your business.
So, what is special about you? What do you do that the other coaches don’t? What is your outlook on coaching, and how can you instill that into a marketable and actionable strategy?
If you don’t have it down yet, don’t worry. This is something that comes with time, but you should always be honing your skills and staying mindful of your unique style.
NOTE: Assessment is super important for your clients, but it may be even more important for you. No one can tell you more about your vision and coaching style than your clients.
It’s time to dive in. Put your feelers out there and find a few clients. Set your price a bit lower than the competition to attract some clients and generate some stellar reviews.
Before you know it, you’ll be getting calls and scheduling sessions months in advance.
Start your new business
Remember that there’s a lot more to coaching than just helping people. Being a career coach is your business, and you have to operate it responsibly and competitively if you want to succeed.
Here are some things you’ll need to cover:
- Get your company registered and your tax information settled
- Start a website
- Get a dedicated email address and phone line
- Build social media pages for your business
- Think about advertising
- Offer promotions
If these things make you nervous, don’t worry. Just as counselors are suggested to go to counseling themselves, new career coaches can do with a bit of help from more experienced coaches. Schedule a session to learn about what works and what doesn’t before you pour too much money into your new business strategy.
Build your website
Whether you’re operation online, in person, or both, your website will be your most powerful tool. Your website is the place where you’ll direct all of your potential clients to learn more about you, your services, and coaching in general.
Here are the essential parts of a website that you need:
- Homepage: Obviously, you need a home page. But make sure that it clearly states your message and benefits. Also, it should be easy to navigate.
- About page: Tell visitors what makes you different and why you are the best choice in career coaches.
- Contact page: Visitors should be able to send you a message directly from this page.
- FAQ: The acronym for Frequently Asked Questions, an FAQ page is an easy place for readers to find answers to their most common questions.
- Blog: A blog will keep your readers engaged and help to grow your business by generating traffic.
That’s about it. Feel free to add some things to your site to make it special, but don’t go crazy. Too many tabs and headings will make your site cluttered and difficult to navigate.
How Much does a Career Coach Make?
According to glassdoor.com, a career coach in the USA makes about $45,000 per year. Less experienced coaches will likely make less, though many successful coaches make over 70k annually.
My Personal Approach as a Career Coach