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What Does a Job Coach Do?

Job coaches may help clients review help-wanted ads and prepare for interviews.
A job coach may help with filling out applications.
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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2014
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Job coach duties vary by the type of coaching that an individual is expected to perform. If a person works as a job coach on behalf of a public or private agency that seeks to help people enter or reenter the workforce, he may assume responsibility for helping his clients find and keep gainful employment. On the other hand, some coaches work with individuals to advance in their current careers or to switch careers altogether. In such cases, the job coach may primarily provide clients with mentoring, motivation, and accountability.

Many social service agencies are committed to assisting clients in finding meaningful work. In some cases, this can be a challenge, as clients may have disabilities that make finding and keeping work difficult. Some clients may also have criminal histories or may be attempting to reenter the workforce after a long illness or a period of care-taking for family members. A job coach who works for a social service agency to assist these potential workers may begin her work with a client by performing an assessment to determine the client’s skills, abilities, and challenges.

After the coach develops an understanding of his client’s needs and potential, he can begin working with her to find work. In some cases, a social service agency may have a partnership with various work programs that can ease the hiring process. In other cases, the job coach may have to assist the client in reviewing help-wanted ads and preparing for interviews.

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Once the client gets a job, a job coach continues to work with the client to ensure that he understands his work and is able to perform it to the standards set by the employer. If the client is unfamiliar with the working world, the job coach can provide feedback if a client becomes confused or discouraged by the situations that he encounters. In situations where a client’s disability, such as a mental illness, begins to present problems on the job site, the coach can help him develop strategies for managing his symptoms. A job coach may also act as a liaison between an employer and her client, working with both sides to resolve difficulties that could jeopardize the client’s continued employment.

Freelance job coaches who assist people in getting the most out of their careers or in finding a career that suits them may perform many of the same tasks as those who work for social service agencies. These coaches may ask clients to take a variety of assessment tests to determine their personality and aptitudes. Coaches will also review and correct client resumes and coach clients through the application and interview process. The coach will also help the client set goals, such as making a certain number of job contacts in a day, and hold the client accountable for following through on his job search and career plans.

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