What Is Career Coaching?

1. What is a Career coach?

A Career coach is an expert in working with people who wish to improve their work satisfaction, change jobs, or make a career change. They are skilled in interviewing and counseling, and have specialist knowledge of the complex cognitive processes involved with making decisions about work choices and how to sustain resilience. They are mature individuals, with the most effective coaches having experience in different careers themselves.

2. The career coach will:

  • Try to find out your life/work values, your purpose in life and identify careers which are aligned with this. The closer your job is to these critical values, the happier and more satisfied you will feel.
  • Help you recognize what jobs you are suited for based on your talents, education, personality and ambition. These can be detected through general discussion, testing and probing questions. The best coaches are very honest and will tell you what you can aspire to and what your limitations are likely to be.
  • Assist you to clarify your long term career goals and assist you to create an action plan to achieve them. This can take several sessions to complete.
  • Structure your job search, help with your application documents as well as coach you to present well in job interviews.

3. The career coach won’t:

  • Make decisions for you. Research indicates that decisions made by individuals themselves result in far higher levels of personal satisfaction and motivation to persist with them. The coach’s purpose is to assist your decision-making by helping you understand what are your values, raise your awareness of the important subconscious factors that may repeatedly cause problems with decision making, and help you identify & overcome any barriers to obtaining a career that fulfills your life purpose.
  • Give you ‘pep’ talks or try to make you believe you can do anything. Career coaches are realistic professionals who will help you strive for the best you can achieve but not try to make you be someone who you are not.

4. What specialised tools does a career coach provide that may help me?

A career coach can deliver computer-based or quiz assessment tools that can classify your personality style, ideal career options and/or work strength/weaknesses. These tools have been researched to be accurate and relevant.

5. How many times do I need to see a career coach?

On average clients attend 3-4 sessions but some find an ongoing coaching relationship is extremely valuable and desire to continue training with their coach for up to several years. At first, sessions are weekly for the first month but then change to fortnightly or monthly.

6. What results can you expect from good career coaching?

After receiving coaching, you should have one or more of these outcomes:

  1. Enhanced self-awareness and direction
  2. Clarity of career and job-search goals
  3. Increased career management skills
  4. Overall improvement of your quality of life

7. Should I see a career coach?

Maybe. The determining question here is: Do you know what you want to do and how to get there? If so, do it yourself. If you are unsure about what career direction to take, if you have little idea of how to get somewhere – speak to a coach and see what they can do for you.

What Is Career Coaching About Anyway?

There are still many people who don’t really have a clear understanding of what career coaching is or how to go about choosing a career coach. Let’s just say it’s not uncommon for me to get emails, social media messages, or phone calls asking me about one or the other. So…

What is career coaching exactly?

It’s championing and helping you reach your ultimate career goals and your career coach being with you on that journey.

In a coach/client relationship, you hold the agenda and they provide you with the help, support, and direction you need to achieve the goal(s) you have in mind–reaching them sooner than later when attempting to do it all on your own.

Many facets come into play and depending on what your objectives are will determine the focus of your coaching sessions. An ongoing coach/client relationship strengthens awareness of what may be holding you back or the road blocks you may be facing while at the same time helping you focus on the goals you’re targeting.

You receive help establishing realistic goals, discovering solutions to challenges you may be up against, developing action plans, establishing motivation, and building self-confidence. You take charge of your career by changing it from what it is today to something you’ve always dreamed of, being the ultimate goal.

You and your coach share that same ultimate goal creates and adds excitement during the process! The one-on-one partnering experience is an excellent way to:

receiving personalized advice, support, and guidance when making career decisions.

determining what steps to take and strategies to use.

coming up with a customized plan that will keep you on track to accomplish what you set yourself out to do.

What a career coach is not…

A counselor or therapist. A career coach helps you develop proficiencies, whereas a career counselor help clients overcome deficiencies.

Therapy often deals with a person’s history and the “why’s” of that history; coaching deals with the future and the “hows” of making the future become what the client wants it to become.

Those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, or problems that interfere with life situations should seek professional counseling. Career coaches do not tell their clients what to do with their lives.

To benefit from career coaching, you have to be willing to be coached. Meaning, you’re open to new ideas, willing to make changes, receptive to constructive criticism, and willing and ready to take action. Seeing results from your actions is what makes all your hard work and efforts worthwhile!

What will a career coach do for you?

  • Challenge you, inspire you to do your best, and will be there to support you each step of the way.
  • Provide you with feedback, support you when times get difficult, and will be honest and up front.
  • Hold you accountable. Unlike friends, co-workers, or even spouses, a career coach will tell it like it is, not letting you get off easy when it comes to stepping up to the plate. No action, no results.

In other words, he/she serves as your personal advocate and provides you with a safe harbor during a time that is often filled with stress, doubt, and fear.

Career coaching will best serve you best if you’re…

  • ready to make the commitment to achieve.
  • willing to put forth effort and do the work.
  • willing to let the coach do the coaching.
  • willing to “try on” new concepts or different ways of doing things.
  • willing to change self-defeating behaviors that limit your success.
  • serious about moving forward and making changes to reach your goals.
  • acting of your own free will and not at the bidding of others.

Who and how to choose…

Only you can determine and make the decision of who to choose as your coach. You know your needs best and who would be deemed as a “good fit” based on your research. There are thousands of career coaching services available nowadays. Do your homework.

Not all career coaches are created equal. Job seekers, non job seekers, and/or anyone considering to hire and invest their time and money partnering with a career coach needs to know what value true career experts bring to the table. Again, do your homework. Don’t settle for mediocre and make an informed decision.

Tips for Selecting a Career Coach

  • Search for coaches who specialize in the area you’re seeking career help in (i.e., job search strategies, interviewing skills, networking skills, etc.).
  • Check out their website, read their testimonials, review their service offerings and coaching process. What impression are you left with after reviewing their information-is there a connection, is what they present identify with you or speak to you enough to reach out and make a personal contact?
  • You’ll find that many career coaches offer a free 15 or 30 minute consultation, which I highly recommend taking advantage of that opportunity. It gives you a chance to speak with them personally, learn more about them, how they can help you, and most importantly find out if the chemistry is there, making them a “good fit.” If your personalities clash, it’s better to find out now before committing to work together.
  • If the coach claims to be certified, take the extra step to verify their certification. Unfortunately, there are some career professionals out there claiming to be certified and displaying certification logos on their website when this is not the case. If working with a credentialed career coach is important to you, take the extra step and verify.

The career coaches (and resume writers) in our network have been verified certified and what makes our network of career professionals different from other searchable career service online databases. And, certifications are checked quarterly.

Now that you know what career coaching is all about and what to look for when it comes time to choosing a career coach, it’s time to take action!