What is a Career Coach?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A career or job coach is someone who specializes in helping people to find and achieve their career dreams. Since many people are unhappy with their jobs, the field is one which is constantly growing. People typically hire career coaches to help them re-enter the workforce, succeed in a position, or find a job which fits perfectly with their personality and life goals. Career coaches are trained by organizations which focus on life coaching and self improvement.

Career coaches might help people fill out job applications.
Career coaches might help people fill out job applications.

Typically, a career coach starts by asking a series of questions which are designed to address job experience and life goals. These questions are also used to determine qualifications for potential positions, and to understand the personality of the client. After recording the answers and thinking about them, the career coach talks to the client about his or her strengths and weaknesses, and the two talk together about desired goals.

A career coach is someone who specializes in helping people to find and achieve their career dreams.
A career coach is someone who specializes in helping people to find and achieve their career dreams.

Ultimately, the client should set one or more goals, ranging from goals to climb the corporate ladder to a position of more authority to a goal to pursue higher education. These goals are intended to ultimately place the client in a job which he or she genuinely enjoys, and they often include aspects of self improvement and honest self assessment. Once the goals are set, client and coach talk about a time line for achieving them, and the partnership moves to the next stage.

A career coach may choose to work specifically with individuals who have mental or intellectual disabilities.
A career coach may choose to work specifically with individuals who have mental or intellectual disabilities.

Once goals have been set and the client works towards them, the career coach offers encouragement and advice. This encouragement can take the simple form of congratulating the client for achieving milestones, or it may be more complex and involved. A career coach might, for example, provide information about job openings, and offer tips on the best way to apply for specific positions. As the client identifies jobs which he or she wants to apply for, the career coach will help the client put together an application, and he or she may hold mock interviews to relax and prepare the client.

Career coaches might help students explore different job paths prior to graduation.
Career coaches might help students explore different job paths prior to graduation.

There are a number of ways to find a career coach. An Internet search for “career coach” and your region will provide an ample list. You may also want to ask friends if they know of anyone who has used a coach, or you might seek out recommendations through Internet forums and bulletin boards. When you do find several candidates, ask about qualifications and philosophy to find a career coach who will be a good fit.

Career coaches can help people find jobs that allow them to achieve life goals.
Career coaches can help people find jobs that allow them to achieve life goals.

If you are interested in becoming a career coach, you will probably want to start preparing in college with classes in psychology and business. Many organizations offer training for career coaches, and you may want to review their literature to find out about requirements and qualifications. If you know a career coach, consider asking him or her about organizations which offer coach training, and ask for recommendations.

Career coaches can help young professionals who feel lost in their career.
Career coaches can help young professionals who feel lost in their career.
Career coaches can help people look at other ways to approach their goals, such as through physical fitness.
Career coaches can help people look at other ways to approach their goals, such as through physical fitness.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

trephd0424

I am sorry that you felt that the career coach did not assist you with what you needed. What exactly were you looking for? Were they credentialed?

Special thanks to Mary McMahon for writing this article and giving us Career Coaches, Career Consultants and Career Counselors "some ready and due love".

anon75119

I have used the services of a career coach and have not found them to be useful at all.

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