From an early age, we all ask, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” The answer inevitably evolves, beginning as youthful longings of becoming an astronaut or princess and later transforming to a more mature occupation. With such a question comes the matter of attainment: What are my career options? Is there special training involved? How do I secure the appropriate connections in my job? Even if already employed, a career coach can be the perfect guide for any successful career.
What Does a Career Coach Do?
A career coach is a professional who offers expert career advice. They are specially trained to identify a client’s strengths and then build on proficiencies to help people plan a career path. While working together, a career coach is like a personal cheerleader. They provide tips on creating an attractive resume and cover letter, locating job opportunities, and how to optimally respond to interviews. For clients that are already employed, a career coach advises on improving a work environment and earning promotions. The plan is tailored to the exact needs of the client.
They differ from career counselors. Their focus is not solely on academics, as they consider all aspects of a client’s life. This includes not only strengths, but interests, values, and support system too.
Signs You Need a Career Coach
The backgrounds of those seeking a career coach are diverse. Clients come from numerous employment situations, varying in education level and socioeconomic status. However, the one commonality is they all desire a successful career, yet do not feel empowered with resources to reach their goals. Hiring one is nothing to be ashamed of. Here are signs you should consider one:
- You’re unemployed
- You’re anxious about the future
- You feel unfulfilled
- You’re tired of job hopping
- You want a promotion
- You have job stress
- You dread going to work
- You have poor lifestyle habits (i.e. unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, not sleeping)
- You are unsure how to navigate a new job position
- You need unbiased advice
- You’re unprepared for an interview
Average Cost of a Career Coach
Don’t you prefer to get paid for your hard work? Career coaching is someone’s profession, so logically, sessions are not free. The cost varies depending on the needs of the client, the number of sessions scheduled, and the length of each session. The coach’s previous experience and credentials impact the cost as well. On average, a two-hour session can range from $75 to $250.
Most cannot accomplish their career goals in a single session. Multiple sessions are optimal to build a lasting relationship with your coach. Some have monthly services instead. Monthly packages are between $450 and $2,500. Group rates are less expensive. Remember, a career coach is an investment. You contribute time, effort, and resources to further your professional career.
How Can a Career Coach Improve Your Career Options?
Maybe you know what you want to do with your life, but you are struggling to execute a plan. Or perhaps your aspirations are undiscovered and necessitate direction. A career coach is helpful in either situation. They can expand your career opportunities through the following tasks:
Goal Formation and Tracking
Goal formation is the crucial to meeting with a career coach. If you are already certain of your goals, a career coach ensures they are specific, attainable, and realistic. They increase your sense of accomplishment by dividing your goals into long-term and short-term. Just because you are not reaching your end goal immediately, you are still showing progress. Career coaches track this progress.
There are clients who are unsure of their goals. A career coach uses a series of vocational tests which determine the client’s interests and skills. The client then chooses career options based on their strengths.
Assisting in the Job Seeking Process
A career coach has a role in the job seeking process. They research the current market for career opportunities and facilitate networking for their clients. Networking creates connections for future occupational promotions or opportunities.
A career coach understands how imperative an impeccable resume is to establish a career. Essentially, your resume is your first impression with your future employers. While they do not draft the entire resume, they teach clients the skills to do so. They are available for editing and proofreading and for suggestions on additional details that will enhance your resume.
Advising On Employment Related Conflicts
Conflict is part of working with others. Every employee is bound to encounter controversy of one form, but a career coach strives to reduce problems in the workplace—specifically those involving human resources. With an improved work environment, companies can focus on expanding job positions.
Advocating for Clients with Differences
Clients who suffer from a disability or another adversity benefit from an advocate like a career coach. A career coach promotes the client to the intended employer. By depicting how their client would be an asset, employers see their value. Career coaches with an interest in disability negotiate job positions for their clients who require accommodations.
Personal Benefits of a Career Coach
The benefits of a career coach are not entirely confined to your professional career. They extend into your personal life too. During your sessions with a career coach, you practice leadership, communication skills, and conflict management. These are the kinds of people skills which carry over into your relationships in daily life. As you grow as a person, you gain emotional intelligence to effectively express your emotions and respond to others with empathy.
How A Career Coach Relieves Anxiety
Lacking direction in your professional life leads to significant anxiety. You fear for the future not knowing your purpose, and each rejection is a blow to your self-esteem. Job stress is hindering you from feeling fulfilled in your current career situation. Career coaches relieve anxiety by providing clarity to your worries. By advising on a plan to reach your goals, you can overcome setbacks of rejection and implement actions to change aspects of discontentment in your job position.
Career Coaching While Currently Employed
As previously mentioned, a career coach is not solely for the unemployed. For clients interested in pursuing a different career, they counsel clients on how to properly search for a new job while already employed.
Career coaching is advantageous even for those who have a stable job with a reputable company. If you seem to be stagnant in your current position, advice from a career coach can lead to a promotion and/or a raise in salary. A career coach aims to help clients make the most out of developing opportunities in their present career.
Employers ranking high within a company profit from career coaching. They discuss what goals they have for the company, and the career coach proposes which employees have the attributes to contribute to those goals.
Preparing for A Career Coach Session
It is important to note that a career coach does not do the work for you. Their job is to equip you with the resources and guidance to achieve your goals. For career coaching to be successful, you have to be willing to set aside the time, energy, and dedication. Knowing what to expect from a career coaching session makes the process less overwhelming. There are steps you can take to prepare.
Tell Your Story
The foundation of a career coach’s work is the client’s story. What is your background? What inspired your passions? Be ready to dive into the nitty-gritty details with complete honesty. Your career coach cannot assist you in your goals if they do not know the real you.
Prepare Your Resume
Arriving at your first session with a completed resume is a good indicator you are seriously committed to furthering your career. Your resume and cover letter are a reasonable starting point for the session because it is a reflection of how you are marketing yourself to employers.
Generate a List of Questions
Initially, meeting with a career coach is overwhelming while contemplating multiple thoughts, ideas, and plans for your career. The main topics you wish to address are easily disorganized. Although your coach is prepared to surmount any beginning obstacles, think about what you want out of your coaching. Generating a list of questions lends structure to the session and guarantees none are accidentally neglected. For example:
- What are my strengths?
- What are my weaknesses?
- Do I have passions and interests?
- How can I incorporate my interests into a career?
- What past jobs have I liked the most? The least?
- What does a successful career look like to me?
- What are my goals?
- Which aspects of my current job to I dislike?
Maintain Realistic Expectations
Rome wasn’t built in a day, or so the saying goes. The same applies to your career goals. It’s unlikely your career goals will come to fruition in a day. Do not attend your coaching session with unrealistic expectations. You won’t leave your first session with your dream job, but you can return home with empowering resources and hope of a satisfying future.
Finding a Career Coach
Not every career coach is for you. While searching for a coach, keep your goals at the forefront of your mind. Find a coach that aligns with those goals and meshes with your personality. You must feel comfortable with your coach to have productive coaching sessions.
Contact associations and organizations you are affiliated with to find a career coach. Educational facilities are also equipped for career coaching recommendations because they are trained to assist students in kickstarting their careers. Try college career offices near your area.
Coaches receive certification through the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARCC) and the International Coaches Federation (ICF). Browsing the online databases gets you one step closer to the career of your dreams.
Cheyanne is currently studying psychology at North Greenville University. As an avid patient advocate living with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, she is interested in the biological processes that connect physical illness and mental health. In her spare time, she enjoys immersing herself in a good book, creating for her Etsy shop, or writing for her own blog.