If you’re wondering whether career coaching is worth it (and what benefits career coaches provide), then this article is for you.
A career coach can help you job hunt and reach your career goals faster, but career coaching isn’t always worth it for everyone.
Coming up, we’ll look at what career coaches do, the results you can expect, and how to decide if a career coach is worth it for you.
Career coaching is advice-giving by a professional career counselor to guide you through career planning, job changes, goal-setting, career advancement, negotiations, and more.
The right career coach can boost your odds of reaching career success and help you advance toward your career goals more quickly.
If you’re unsure what direction to take or which goals to pursue, a career coach can help you identify those as well.
Working with a career counselor can help you see new perspectives and gain access to new ideas/opportunities that you may not be aware of.
I’ll share more about the exact benefits of working with a career coach later in this article, so make sure you read until the end.
According to Elliott, quality career coaches will not execute your job search for you.
However, career coaches can guide you in identifying your interests, finding a job in the digital age, and growing in your career once you land your dream job.
Rather than telling you exactly what to do, the best coaches empower you to find answers within yourself. They do this by harnessing the power of deep coaching questions.
So in terms of how career coaches work and what to expect in the first few calls/meetings, it’s likely you’ll be asked a number of questions to identify your current situation, goals, thoughts, and beliefs.
Through these questions, the coach will learn more about how they can help you, and you may also start to see your own situation more clearly, like the beliefs you hold, obstacles you’re facing, fears that may be stopping you from pursuing an opportunity, etc.
Elliott also emphasized that you should recognize that career coaches differ in the services they offer and the type of clients they work with.
Some career coaches will support you in uncovering your career interests and target roles, some will aid you in finding a new job, and others will partner with you in growing your leadership skills after you are in your dream role.
Many career coaches have areas of specialization and expertise in helping a certain type of professionals.
For example, you may come across a career coach who specializes in tech startups.
You may see a career coach specializing in helping executives and experienced professionals only.
Some career counselors specialize in general career advisement and planning, while others will have more experience helping job seekers in particular.
For this reason, it’s important to pick the right career coach or career counselor for your needs, instead of rushing and hiring the first one you come across.
Later in this article, I’ll share a list of questions you should ask any career coach you’re considering hiring, to determine if they’re the right fit for you.
First, let’s look at the seven main benefits you’ll receive by working with a career coach. If you think these benefits would help you, then hiring a career coach may be worth the cost.
First, career counselors/coaches can help you navigate the job market.
Whether you’re looking to make a career change or just advance within your current industry, a career coach can help you get a job faster through optimizing your resume and cover letters, conducting a mock interview, and more.
When it comes to your cover letter, resume, interview preparation, and more, career coaches often know exactly what recruiters and hiring managers look for.
This is especially true if your coach previously worked as a recruiter or hiring manager.
Job seekers often benefit from the accountability they receive from working with a career coach as they look for a new job.
For example, many job seekers are hesitant to begin networking and having direct conversations. Instead, they gravitate toward applying for jobs online, via job boards, etc.
(Which is fine as a part of your job search, but shouldn’t be the majority of your effort and shouldn’t be the only path you take to getting job interviews).
With a career coach, you’ll have someone checking in to make sure you’re doing the right activities and sticking to the goals and objectives you’ve set for your job search and career, which should certainly include networking.
A career coach can guide you beyond job hunting, into how to advance your career long-term in the corporate world (or any other work setting), build necessary skills to grow your salary, and more.
A career coach can be your ally in reaching optimal career development.
So if you’re someone with lofty career goals and aspirations, or who would like help setting those goals, then hiring a career coach could pay off nicely for you.
Great coaches provide day-to-day career help but also ask questions to help you determine whether you’re on the right path long-term, and this can be incredibly valuable.
Along with insights into the hiring process, accountability, and planning, a good coach can also boost your confidence and provide encouragement when you’re feeling stuck.
And confidence goes a long way in your success rate as a professional, whether you’re going on interviews, asking for a raise, or more.
Potential employers can sense confidence, and having a career coach on your side can help you build that confidence and create the right mindset to show employers why they should hire you.
Sometimes, we get stuck in a certain way of thinking in our careers and life.
Maybe you’ve decided that your resume is the main factor holding you back. Maybe you’re sure you need a master’s degree because you haven’t been advancing very far in the interview process with recent companies.
A career coach has perspective from working with hundreds of professionals. In other words, they may be able to ask questions and point out how your thought process is flawed.
And if they can identify “quick wins” that get you results without you having to take a slow, expensive step like pursuing a master’s degree, then that’s a massive win and in that case, the coaching paid for itself.
So if you’re feeling stuck, at a crossroads in your professional life, or just unsure what to change about your current efforts to find a new job (resume, cover letters, how you’re applying, etc.) then a coach can bring perspective and a second opinion.
Some coaches will have templates, frameworks, and all sorts of other materials you can use to short-cut the job hunt process. Ask about this topic when hiring a career coach.
They may have a good system for tracking your job search, applications, follow-ups, and more.
They may have exercises to determine your strengths and weaknesses, top skills, and what career path to pursue based on those.
Experienced coaches have gained these systems, templates, and frameworks from working with hundreds of clients, and you can benefit immediately from these “shortcuts.”
Ask about this when doing a kick-off call with a coach.
A career coach can help you differentiate yourself from other professionals in your field through personal branding.
They can help you build an online presence through thought leadership, publishing content on LinkedIn, and more.
If you want to be a leader or advance your career as a leader, then having a strong personal brand can be essential.
Even if you’re an entry-level job seeker or someone with fewer than five years of experience, you can gain an edge by crafting a personal brand statement and thinking about what you want to be best-known for.
If you read the info above and are considering paying for coaching, then use the questions below to ensure you find a career coach that’s right for you.
Remember, different career coaches have different areas of specialization.
If you have a particular career goal in mind, you need to find a coach who has a track record of helping many professionals reach that goal.
Ask these questions to a potential coach before hiring them:
I would encourage you to think about and write down your own questions, too.
Talk in detail with a potential coach before you hire them. They should want to ensure you’re a client they can help before you pay them a big sum of money.
Understand their background, their industry experience, and what they can help you achieve in your career and life.
Ensure they have the right approach and mindset to help you in your current situation before you part with your money.
As mentioned above, a career coach will not conduct your job search for you.
They’re available to provide guidance, clarity, strategies, moral support, and unbiased feedback.
They can give you the right idea and training, and lend their expertise, but you’re the person responsible for what you achieve.
And your results will depend on your effort and whether you absorb the info and training you’re given.
If this sounds like a fair deal to you, then career coaching may be worth the cost.
Start with an introductory call or free consultation with one or two coaches and then decide if they’re the career coach worth hiring.
Biron Clark is a former Executive Recruiter who has worked with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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