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What’s Career Coaching Anyway?

3 Mar, 2018

What’s Career Coaching Anyway?

There are SO  many people who still don’t know about or understand what career coaching is or how to pick a career coach who will best serve them.

I continue to get emails, social media messages, and phone calls from people asking me to explain what career coaching is, who I think would be a good coach for them, or how to determine which coach is the right coach for them.

If you have the same kind of questions, keep reading because below are the answers!

Career coaching is getting the support, help, and guidance you need to figure things out to reach your ultimate career goals. A career coach is there to ask questions, give you guidance, and help you overcome whatever challenges you’re facing in your job search.

In a coach/client relationship, you hold the agenda. Your coach is trained and skilled in providing you with insight, support, and the direction you need to achieve the goals you have in mind. In other words, position you to reach your goals sooner than later when trying to do it on your own.

Many things 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’s holding you back or showing up as road blocks that’s getting in the way of moving forward and being able to focus your efforts on reaching the goal(s) you’re targeting.

A career coach helps you establish realistic goals, discover solutions to challenges you’re up against, develop action plans, build self-confidence, and instills motivation to take action unlike many job seekers who do the minimum and hope for the best.

It’s up to you to take charge of your career—not someone else’s.

Working with a career coach is working with someone who genuinely shares the same ultimate goal you have, creating and adding excitement during the process! The one-on-one career coaching experience is an excellent way to:

  • receive personalized advice, support, and guidance when making career decisions.
  • determine what steps to take and strategies to use.
  • come 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 helps their 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 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, welcome constructive criticism, and ready to take action. Results come from taking action, making all of your hard work and efforts worthwhile!

What will a career coach do for you? A career coach will…
  • challenge and inspire you to do your best.
  • be there to support you each step of the way.
  • give you feedback, back you when times get difficult, and will be honest and up front.
  • hold you accountable.
  • tell it like it is—not letting you get off easy when it comes to stepping up to the plate (unlike friends, co-workers, and spouses).

A career coach is your personal advocate and is there for you during a time that’s often filled with stress, doubt, and fear.

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

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

Bottom Line: No action, no results.


How to Pick a Career Coach

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

Not all career coaches are created equal. Job seekers, non job seekers, or anyone considering to hire and invest their time and money working with a career coach should have a clear understanding of what value career coach bring to the table.

Again, do your homework and don’t settle for just any coach. Make an informed decision.

4 Tips When Selecting a Career Coach
  • Search for coaches who specialize in the area you’re seeking career help in (i.e., job search strategies, interviewing, networking, etc.).
  • Check out their website, read their testimonials, and review their service offerings and coaching process. What impression are you left with? Is there a connection, is what they offer in line of what you’re looking for? How does their coaching process differ from the other coaches you checked out?
  • Many career coaches offer a free 15 or 30 minute consultation—take advantage of this opportunity. It gives you a chance to speak with them personally and learn more about how they can help you. More importantly, you can find out if the chemistry is there, making that coach a “good fit.” If your personalities clash, it’s better to find out now before committing to work together.
  • If the coach says they’re certified, verify it. Unfortunately, some coaches out there claim to be certified and display certification logos on their website when that’s not the case. If working with a certified career coach is important to you, take the extra step and verify.

The career coaches (and resume writers) in our network are verified certified. TCE is different from other online career service databases. Coaches and writers must be certified, qualifying them to be part of this exclusive network of industry experts.

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

Ready to find your career coaching expert? Start Here

Connect, attract, and nurture … the cornerstone for creating a thriving business of ideal clients! My many years of experience primed me to build a community of only the highest-level career professionals. LEARN MORE


  1. John M. Myers

    Hi Maria Hebda, I can’t thank you enough for all of your guides and tips on What’s Career Coaching Anyway? They are like a goldmine for me, keep rocking on, you are helping so many.

  2. Alice Carroll

    I like that you mentioned that a career coach can help give me feedback on my progress in what I am trying to attain. I’m thinking about looking through career coach packages that are available for me right now because I’ve been wanting to switch careers in the future. I can see how it will be important to make sure that I know what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong when preparing for this life-changing shift.

    • Hi Alice, glad to hear my article was helpful. You’ll find several highly qualified credentialed career coaches in our database who may be able to assist you. I recommend reaching out to the top three coaches via phone or email to help you determine who is a “good fit” for you moving forward. The key is to make an informed decision. Here’s to your career success!

  3. Priya Dharshini

    Hey Maria,

    That was very informative. I too recommend career coaching as it opens the gateway to new opportunities. But finding a right career coach who is experienced in the desired industry is what important. I request you to post about how to select a career coach!

    • Maria Hebda

      Hi Priya,

      Thank you for your comment! In reply to your request about selecting a career coach, I did included this information in my article above. You’ll find that info under the header “How to Pick a Career Coach” above.

      Let us know if you have any other questions. Thanks again for commenting here! Have a blessed day!

  4. Levi Armstrong

    I like your advice about taking advantage of the 15 to 30-minute free consultation most career coaches offer so I can find out if our personalities match and learn more about how they can help me. For the past year, I’ve wanted to resign from my job and switch careers, but I just can’t find the courage to do so. I’m planning to hire a career coach to guide me, so I’ll follow your advice and look for ones that offer a free consultation. Thanks!

    • Maria Hebda

      You’re welcome, Levi – glad you found the information I share helpful. I wish you the very best in your career journey!

  5. Zachary Tomlinson

    My brother is having trouble with which career step should he do next after graduating college. He’s been failing interviews and he’s wondering why. The idea of someone who will challenge and inspire you to do your best along with providing feedback when times get difficult is very interesting. I should discuss this with him and decide if he needs something like this or not.

  6. David Johnson

    Thank you for mentioning that a career coach will hold you accountable and will tell it like it is and not let you off easy. In my opinion, because they won’t know you personally, they will have a perception of you that will resemble your future employer’s perception of you more than a loved one’s. I will definitely have to look more into career coach options.

    • Maria Hebda

      David, thanks for your posting your comment! I’m glad to hear you find the value of working with a career coach to help you move your career forward. To get started, go to https://thecareerexperts.com/find-career-experts/ and select what area you’d like help and check out the profile of the career coaches who who specialize in that particular area. Here’s to your career success!

  7. 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.

    • Maria Hebda

      Silas, I’m glad you liked the info I shared in my post. Thanks for leaving your comment and feel free to reach out to any of our coaches who feel would be a “good fit” to help you move forward in your job search. Depending on what area(s) you want to work on will determine which career coach would be ideal for you. Here’s to your career success!

  8. 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.

    • Maria Hebda

      I’m glad you found value from my article post, Tyler. Thanks for your comment. I wish you the best in your job search!

  9. 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.

    • Maria Hebda

      Thanks for your comment, Gary and I’m glad you found the information helpful to you and others.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Marina Wellis

    I am the type of employee who loses motivation in a job fairly easily, and I know that because I’ve switched jobs four times already this year. My mom suggested getting a career coach to help me, and honestly, I didn’t know what that is until I found your article. Like you said, a career coach is going to challenge me and inspire me to do my best in a job. I think that might be effective. I’ll give it a try. Thanks!

    • Maria Hebda

      Marina, thank you for posting your comment and letting us know you’ll be taking action to move your career forward. We wish you the best – here’s to your career success!

  13. Dennis Hernandez

    Honestly, I don’t know what others think, but I think a right career coach can be a rescuer. He helps the person in identifying his probable future courses and also the way to grasp them. But, do you know the appropriate way to locate the right career coach? If you know the path to track a reliable career coach, then it is fine, else, it will be better if you consider the recommendations about hiring a career coach. You can get recommendations from your friends and colleagues and also you can do online research for the same purpose. But prior to that first you need to comprehend what you actually need to reach out. Then you need to pinpoint what you need to learn. Lastly, you must keep in mind that as you grow professionally, your provocations will unfold over the years accordingly. So you have to make sure that you are hiring the right career coach suited to your ongoing phase.

  14. Kylie Dotts

    I really like how you said that you should look for a coach that specializes in the area that you would like to work in. It has always been my dream to enter the workforce but because I married young and have been a stay at home mom I haven’t had any kind of formal education. Finding a career coach who could help give me some pointers on things that I could do with the skills I had would be really helpful.

  15. Maria Hebda

    I’m glad you liked my article, Cindy and thank you for posting your comment.

  16. Cindy Tesler

    Thanks for pointing out that a career coach strengthens your awareness of what may be holding you back from your goals. You also said that they can help you to establish realistic goals. I think it’s a good idea to choose a career coach that offers a free first consultation meeting so that you can get to know them.

  17. Maria Hebda

    You’re welcome, Troy I’m glad you found my article helpful.

  18. Troy Blackburn

    That’s really awesome to know that there’s people out there, like success coaches, who can provide help, support, and direction to help you achieve your goals. I’ve heard that you are almost 50% more likely to reach a level of success you desire if you have someone that holds you responsible and who you report to. I’ll be sure to remember this great information as I try to decide if I could benefit from the services of a life coach to help me succeed.

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