Pursuing Coaching as a Career: Definition and Duties

Updated 26 November 2022

As professionals seek jobs and advancement opportunities, there's a growing demand for career coaching professionals. Career coaching may be a rewarding career path for individuals who enjoy helping others. Fully comprehending the responsibilities as well as skills and qualifications necessary to become a career coach can assist you in determining whether this is the best career route for you. In this article, we look at what a career coach does, what makes a good career coach, why is the practice important and how you can pursue coaching as a career.

Related: What Is a Life Coach? (With Duties, Skills and Salary)

What is a career coach and what does a career coach do?

A career coach specialises in assisting other professionals in finding employment while they're unemployed or advancing in their careers. Career coaches can offer advice on a variety of employment-related issues, such as job hunting, interviewing and getting promotions. As a career coach, you may work with customers from several sectors, or you may specialise in one industry, utilising your expertise and contacts to give expert advice. Outlined below are some of the most common duties of a career coach:

  • Communicating with clients to discuss their current career situation and their existing prospects

  • Assisting clients in identifying their short and long-term personal and professional goals

  • Evaluating the soft, hard and professional skills of a client to derive their ideal career matches

  • Recommending skills for the client to cultivate to excel within a specific industry

  • Providing feedback and helping write cover letters, resumes as well as other application documents with the client

  • Seeking vacant jobs that match the skills and career aspirations of the client

  • Helping with filling out applications for desired roles

  • Strategising for a successful job interview by holding practice interviews with a client prior to their interview for an open position

  • Providing tips and advice regarding job offers and assisting the client in choosing between multiple offers when needed

How to pursue coaching as a career

Although many career coaches operate independently and in different specialisations, you can refer to the steps below to pursue coaching as a career:

1. Obtain a degree

Although a degree is typically not a requisite for this position, most coaches obtain a bachelor's degree before joining the workforce. Human resources, business studies, communication and English are all popular alternatives for this professional route, as these fields of study provide transferrable knowledge and skills that are generally useful in a variety of industries. Another alternative is to decide what industry you want to specialise in and then obtain a degree in a relevant subject. For instance, a computer science degree might be very useful for career coaches and counsellors working closely with aspiring software engineers.

2. Accumulate professional experience

Prior experience in the field of expertise or in the professional landscape, in general, might be advantageous for career coaches. Showcasing your own professional growth might aid in the development of credibility, authority and trust among your clients. Having personal experience helps you to have a hands-on experience on the process and a better grasp of how firms function, both professionally and socially. This might assist you in providing better advice and tips to your clients and assisting them to progress in a quicker and more effective manner.

3. Cultivate your skills

To be successful in your role as a career coach, it's important that you possess and exercise both hard and soft skills. Once you've acquired your relevant technical skills through your studies and education, you may still be required to take the time and effort to invest in your soft skills. Such soft skills entail your ability to listen, communicate, interact and empathise with other people as well as the capacity to think critically, analytically and innovatively.

4. Obtain certification

Getting a professional certification in your relevant field can help you build credibility. Being certified make you a more desirable and trustworthy alternative to professionals seeking guidance, since extensive study can indicate high-quality service. Certifications are available for a variety of specialisations within career coaching, including general coaching knowledge, digital job search strategy and resume and cover letter writing. You can choose which certification to pursue by taking into account the type of clients you target and their specific needs.

5. Establish a strong professional network

Building rapport and connections is an effective method to grow in the professional landscape and you may leverage your professional relationships to assist your clients. You can broaden your professional network by attending conferences and establishing contacts with industry leaders. These new associates may notify you of a client opportunity or assist a client who is applying at their firm. Moreover, networking can serve as a great method to expand your customer base. When interacting with professionals, giving your career advancement tips may help you increase your list of prospective clients and establish word-of-mouth marketing.

Related: How To Introduce Yourself Professionally

6. Examine the employment market

As you equip yourself with more knowledge about the current job search trends, you may become more capable of looking for employment opportunities for your clients or providing advice for advancement opportunities. It's important to stay up to speed on the changing status of the job market, so you might want to watch and research both the general job market and your industry of interest.

Monitoring job postings might assist you in identifying trends in the required skills or responsibilities in the industry. You may observe that certain industries are seeing the highest development. You may utilise this advanced knowledge to give your clients the most up-to-date recommendations.

7. Source for new clientele

Actively pursuing new clients may be a powerful approach to expand your client base and establish a track record of excellent performance. When you encounter a professional that you feel is working below their level or short-changed on their current profession, they might be an ideal client prospect. By offering your skills and services, you are assisting them in furthering their careers. Alternatively, you can broaden your portfolio by collaborating with a well-situated professional to drive favourable outcomes from a job hunt.

8. Promote your services

Another effective approach to getting new clients is to market yourself. You may increase the awareness of prospective clients of your services by paying for advertisement spots on sites or publications that may appeal to your target audience. Emphasising your accomplishments on social media might help you expand your market penetration and increase your market share organically. As such, professionals who are interested in your postings can contact you directly to see how you can meet their career needs.

Related: How To Become a Counsellor: A Step-by-Step Guide

What makes a good career coach?

Outlined below are some essential soft skills that characterise a good career coach:

  • Active listening: When speaking with clients and discussing their aspirations, a career coach can listen intently and absorb essential information. Active listening also helps you communicate with possible employers or other networking contacts.

  • Detail orientation: Paying close attention to details helps you to better support your clients in their job hunt. It's a helpful ability to have when proofreading your clients' application materials for mistakes or searching job listings for suitable career prospects for a client.

  • Clerical abilities: Be mindful to possess some clerical skills as you may do some clerical duties like organising client information and assisting clients with document preparation.

  • Communication: A good career coach is expected to possess robust communication skills, both verbally and nonverbally, to convey essential information in an effective and professional manner.

  • Empathy: As a career coach, the ability to comprehend how others feel might be useful. Comprehending your client's emotions allows you to change your tone and the substance of conversations to achieve the greatest results possible from the encounter.

Why is career coaching important?

Career coaching is essential in assisting professionals in setting realistic objectives, discovering answers to obstacles, developing action plans, building self-confidence and instilling a desire to take action. It's especially important to help clients assess and understand their strengths and weaknesses and gain specialised information about the many career possibilities that match their profile. Career coaching can help many professionals take a step back and look at the employment market more holistically with a long-term view in mind.

How do career coaches make money?

As a career coach, you're usually paid on an hourly basis and may work out from an office or remotely at home. The national average salary for a career coach is $65,887 per year. Be mindful that this figure is heavily dependent on your level of experience, qualification, expertise and reputation in the field.

What can you expect from a career coach?

If you embark on a career coaching experience, you can expect to better understand your career aspirations, make more informed decisions about your career trajectory and employ many job search tools to fulfil your aspirations. A career coach can advise you on the concrete steps to take toward meeting your professional objectives. You may reasonably anticipate gathering enhanced professional confidence, insights, support and motivation.

Related: What Is the GROW Coaching Model and How Do You Use It?

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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