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What Is Career Coaching About Anyway?

3 Mar, 2017

What Is Career Coaching About Anyway?

There are still many people who don’t really have a clear understanding of what career coaching is or how to go about choosing a career coach. Let’s just say it’s not uncommon for me to get emails, social media messages, or phone calls asking me about one or the other. So…

What is career coaching exactly?

Career coaching is championing and helping you reach your ultimate career goals and your career coach being with you on that journey.

In a coach/client relationship, you hold the agenda. Career coaches provide you with the help, support, and direction you need to achieve the goal(s) you have in mind, reaching them sooner than later when attempting to do it all on your own.

Many facets come into play and depending on what your objectives are will determine the focus of your coaching sessions. An ongoing coach/client relationship strengthens awareness of what may be holding you back or the road blocks you may be facing while at the same time helping you focus on the goals you’re targeting.

A career coach helps you establish realistic goals, discover solutions to challenges you may be up against, develop action plans, institute motivation, and build self-confidence. You take charge of your career by changing it from what it is today to something you’ve always dreamed of, being the ultimate goal.

Working with a career coach genuinely sharing that same ultimate goal creates and adds excitement during the process! The one-on-one experience partnering with a career coach is an excellent way to:

  • receiving personalized advice, support, and guidance when making career decisions.
  • determining what steps to take and strategies to use.
  • coming up with a customized plan that will keep you on track to accomplish what you set yourself out to do.

What a career coach is NOT…

A career coach is not a counselor or therapist. A career coach helps you develop proficiencies, whereas a career counselor help clients overcome deficiencies.

Therapy often deals with a person’s history and the “why’s” of that history; coaching deals with the future and the “hows” of making the future become what the client wants it to become.

Those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, or problems that interfere with life situations should seek professional counseling. Career coaches do not tell their clients what to do with their lives.

To benefit from career coaching, you have to be willing to be coached. Meaning, you’re open to new ideas, willing to make changes, receptive to constructive criticism, and willing and ready to take action. Seeing results from your actions is what makes all your hard work and efforts worthwhile!

What will a career coach do for you? A career coach will…

  • challenge you, inspire you to do your best, and will be there to support you each step of the way.
  • provide you with feedback, support you when times get difficult, and will be honest and up front.
  • hold you accountable. Unlike friends, co-workers, or even spouses, a career coach will tell it like it is, not letting you get off easy when it comes to stepping up to the plate. No action, no results.

A career coach, in other words, serves as your personal advocate and provides you with a safe harbor during a time that is often filled with stress, doubt, and fear.

Career coaching will best serve you best IF you’re…

  • ready to make the commitment to achieve.
  • willing to put forth effort and do the work.
  • willing to let the coach do the coaching.
  • willing to “try on” new concepts or different ways of doing things.
  • willing to change self-defeating behaviors that limit your success.
  • serious about moving forward and making changes to reach your goals.
  • acting of your own free will and not at the bidding of others.

Who and how to choose a career coach…

Only you can determine and make the decision of who to choose as your coach. You know your needs best and who would be deemed as a “good fit” based on your research. There are thousands of career coaching services available nowadays. Do your homework.

Not all career coaches are created equal. Job seekers, non job seekers, and/or anyone considering to hire and invest their time and money partnering with a career coach needs to know what value true career experts bring to the table. Again, do your homework—don’t settle for mediocre and make an informed decision.

Tips for Selecting a Career Coach

  • Search for coaches who specialize in the area you’re seeking career help in (i.e., job search strategies, interviewing skills, networking skills, etc.).
  • Check out their website, read their testimonials, review their service offerings and coaching process. What impression are you left with after reviewing their information—is there a connection, is what they present identify with you or speak to you enough to reach out and make a personal contact?
  • You’ll find that many career coaches offer a free 15 or 30 minute consultation, which I highly recommend taking advantage of that opportunity. It gives you a chance to speak with them personally, learn more about them, how they can help you, and most importantly find out if the chemistry is there, making them a “good fit.” If your personalities clash, it’s better to find out now before committing to work together.
  • If the coach claims to be certified, take the extra step to verify their certification. Unfortunately, there are some career professionals out there claiming to be certified and displaying certification logos on their website when this is not the case. If working with a credentialed career coach is important to you, take the extra step and verify.

The career coaches (and resume writers) in our network have been verified certified and what makes our network of career professionals different from other searchable career service online databases. And, certifications are checked quarterly.

Career coaches and resume writers must qualify to become a part of the TCE network and they do so by being certified in their field.

Now that you know what career coaching is all about and what to look for when it comes time to choosing a career coach, it’s time to take action!

Did you like this article? There’s more where that came from—here’s more and search by category!

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Silas Knighttyler johnsongarypuntmanJulius AmberfieldAshley Maxwell Recent comment authors
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Silas Knight
Silas Knight

It’s great to know more about career coaching. I love how you said that you have to be willing to be coached in order for this to help. My life feels pretty stagnant right now, so I’d say I’m willing to get some help to change.

tyler johnson
tyler johnson

That’s a good idea to make sure you get a coach that specializes in your same career field. That way you could have help from someone who is experienced in a similar career. I think that could be much more useful than someone who had no experience with your kind of work.


It’s nice that a coach can ultimately help you establish goals and find solutions to challenges in your way, like you said. They will help you stay on track and know how to successfully achieve what you want to. I think this could be a great option for people who may need some extra motivation or insight from someone.

Julius Amberfield
Julius Amberfield

It was really nice that I came across this article because I learned that career coach is an individual who helps a person by supporting them, teaching them, and providing feedback so that they reach their career goals sooner rather than later. I guess I need a career coach considering that I do not know where my career is headed as of now. I’m glad I made my research. I will be sure to find a coach for me so I can start right away. Thank you.

Ashley Maxwell
Ashley Maxwell

My sister is looking to be motivated and guided in finding the best career choice for her. Thanks for mentioning how career coaches can help inspire you and provide feedback. like how you said that they should also be honest with you and allow you to be responsible for your own actions. I’ll pass this information on to her; it seems like it’s exactly what she is looking for.