What is a career coach and do you need one?

photo by Redd Angelo

What is a career coach and do you need one?

Gemma Gosden

31 March 2017

Career coaching is a thing.

Just like life coaching and mentoring, career coaching has become increasingly popular in the last 30 years or so. It seems now that ‘everyone’ has some variation of a coach and you’re not doing it right without one.

But what exactly is it?

Career coaching is a way of breaking every aspect of your professional life down to analyse it and then carefully reconstruct in a very saleable way that would have any prospective employer begging to have you on board.

This includes looking at your likes, dislikes, existing and transferrable skills, where you are in your life right now and where you want to be.

This all takes place in face to face and/or online meetings over a period of time.

What do I get out of it?

Working directly with a coach means you have someone who is dedicated to helping you. They are able to give you a 1:1 service which could help you to achieve your goals faster or in a more direct way.

As well as a fab new CV and direction for your career you could also gain insight into who you are and what you can achieve, as well as the confidence and motivation to go out there and get what you want.

You may also gain new skills such as networking and public speaking.

You could end up going in a completely different direction to the one you thought you would or if you had no clue to start off with you could end up being focused on one industry you didn’t expect.

It’s having that focused, dedicated time looking at you and your career that could ultimately lead you to see tings clearer and experience a lightbulb moment you never expected.

How do I find one?

Generally speaking you need to ideally work with a coach who belongs to:

  • The International Coach Federation (IFC)
  • The Association for Coaching (AC)
  • The European Mentoring and Coaching Council

to make sure you won’t be wasting your time and money.

How much does it cost?

They’re not cheap. Depending on the sessions and time frame involved it can be very pricey.

For someone just leaving school or uni this might not be an affordable option.

What can I do if I can’t afford that?

If you’re looking for a low cost method of achieving what you would working with a career coach, you could try finding a mentor with lots of life/career experience or try using a website that aims to achieve similar results such as:

80000 hours

National Careers Service


Or see if your school/uni has any career focus groups that put you in direct contact with a professional careers advisor.

We can help too.

You could start with our freebies page to see if any of the worksheets there could help.

They also look into identifying your likes, dislike, strengths and existing skills such as our Goals for the year worksheet or our free 7 day challenge and follow up worksheets. It could be a good place to start.

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Other posts you might be interested in:

What am I going to do with my life?

Why is it so hard to choose a career?!?

Taking the time to decide what you want

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