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Career Coachs: Are They a Good Investment?

In today’s competitive job market, having a career coach can make a significant difference in your professional journey. Whether you’re looking to transition to a new field, climb the corporate ladder, or simply find more fulfillment in your current job, a career coach can offer guidance and support.

This article will explore the specific reasons why investing in a career coach can be beneficial to your career, if career coaches are proven to work, and what to look for in a career coach if you’re searching for one.

Key Points

  • A career coach can provide personalized career advice, help people overcome career challenges like plateaus and job transitions, and help build skills like communication, leadership, and personal confidence.
  • Many people hire career coaches as an investment in getting the job they want and increasing their earning potential.
  • Research indicates that career coaching significantly enhances individual performance and career satisfaction, with studies showing that those who engage in coaching are more likely to achieve their professional goals compared to those who do not receive coaching​ (research linked below).
  • When hiring a career coach, consider asking for references, why you should hire them over other coaches, and the quick career advice they can give you right now.

What Does a Career Coach Actually Do?

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What Is Career Coaching?

Career coaching is a process that involves working one-on-one with an experienced and trained coach to identify, plan, and achieve your job-related goals.

A career coach can help with a range of career-related issues, including job search strategies, resume and cover letter writing, interview preparation, and career advancement and strategy.

Career coaches may use assessments to identify your strengths and weaknesses, provide feedback on job search strategies, and offer guidance on networking and career advancement.

Don’t want a career coach? Find tips on getting satisfaction and success in your career in our article here.

Career Coaching Vs Career Counseling

While career coaching and career counseling share some similarities, there are some key differences between the two.

Career counseling is often more focused on helping individuals with emotional and personal issues that are impacting their career. Career counselors work with individuals to identify and address issues such as anxiety, depression, or stress related to their job.

A career coach may offer some support and guidance on personal issues that are be impacting someone’s career, their primary focus is on helping them develop a plan to achieve their career goals.

Career Coaching Vs Life Coaching

While the roles of career coaches and life coaches can overlap, particularly in areas like motivation and goal-setting, a career coach is more focused on professional outcomes, whereas a life coach looks at your overall life satisfaction.

A life coach takes a broader approach than a career coach, addressing various aspects of your personal life, including personal goals, health and wellness choices, and relationships.

What Can a Career Coach Help With? (Examples)

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Let’s get into specifics! Here are some common career challenges that a career coach can help you overcome:

Dealing with Career Transitions

Changing careers can be a daunting task, but it can also be a great opportunity for growth and development. A career coach can help you identify your transferable skills that will help you make a smooth transition to your new workplace

Addressing Job Loss and Unemployment

Losing a job can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. A career coach can help you cope with the emotional impact of job loss and provide guidance on how to move forward. They can help you update your resume, improve your interview skills, and identify job opportunities that are a good fit for your skills and experience.

Managing Career Plateaus

Feeling stuck in your career can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. A career coach can help you identify areas for growth and development and create a plan to advance your career. They can also help you build your professional network and identify new opportunities for growth.

Preparing for Job Interviews

A career coach can help you feel more confident and prepared for nerve-wracking interviews. They can help you anticipate common interview questions, develop thoughtful responses, and practice your delivery.

They can also provide feedback on your body language and communication style to help you make a strong impression on potential employers.

Drafting a Perfect Resume and Cover Letter

One of the first steps in any job search is crafting a strong resume and cover letter. However, this can be stressful if you haven’t updated yours in a while.

A career coach can help you identify your strengths and accomplishments, and then work with you to craft a compelling resume and cover letter that showcases your skills and experience.

The Importance of Accountability in Career Growth

Setting goals is one thing; achieving them is another. Accountability is a key component of achieving any difficult goal.

A career coach helps you stay on track by setting and achieving milestones. Regular check-ins and progress assessments ensure that you are moving towards your goals and making the necessary adjustments along the way. Being accountable to someone on a weekly or monthly basis in the area of your career is one of the biggest advantages of working with a career coach.

What the Research Says

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Proven Benefits of Career Coaching

Talking about what career coaching may do is great. But what has it actually done? Are there proven results of having a career coach? Check out some of the research below.

A meta-analysis by de Haan and Nilsson (2023) found that career coaching significantly improved individual performance and career satisfaction. The study highlights that individuals who engage in career coaching are more likely to achieve their professional goals compared to those who do not receive coaching.

Research by Maggiori et al. (2013) emphasized the role of career adaptability and work conditions on overall well-being. The study found that career coaching can enhance career adaptability, leading to better job performance and personal satisfaction​ 

Perdrix et al. (2012) conducted a study that demonstrated the long-term benefits of career counseling. One year after receiving career coaching, participants reported significant improvements in job satisfaction and career progression​

How to Choose the Right Career Coach

Not all career coaches are created equal. And many are expensive. In order to make sure you get a good ROI out of your career coach investment, here are some things to consider.

What to Look for in a Career Coach

When choosing a career coach, it’s important to look for someone who has experience and expertise in your industry. You want someone who understands the challenges and opportunities in your field and can help you navigate them.

Additionally, look for a coach who has a coaching style that fits your personality. Do you need someone who is more hands-on or someone who is more hands-off? Do you need someone who is more nurturing or more direct? Consider your own needs and preferences when choosing a coach.

How to Find and Select a Career Coach

There are several ways to find a career coach. You can ask for recommendations from friends and colleagues, search online, or use a coaching directory. Once you have a list of potential coaches, do some research on them. Look at their websites, read their bios, and check out their social media profiles.

This will give you a sense of their experience, expertise, and personality. From there, you can narrow down your list and schedule consultations with a few coaches to see which one is the best fit for you.

Questions to Ask Your Potential Career Coach

Here are a few potentially helpful questions to consider asking a career coach you’re considering hiring:

  • What is your coaching philosophy?
  • What experience do you have working with clients in my industry?
  • What is your approach to goal-setting?
  • How would you address my current career situation/challenges?
  • Why should I hire you over other coaches?
  • How do you help clients overcome obstacles and challenges?
  • What is your availability and preferred method of communication?
  • What is your pricing and payment structure?

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it typically cost to hire a career coach?

The cost of hiring a career coach can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the coach’s experience, qualifications, and location. Some coaches charge by the hour, while others offer packages or ongoing support. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 per session.

What qualifications should a reputable career coach have?

Look for coaches who have a degree in a related field, such as psychology or counseling, as well as certifications from reputable coaching organizations. Additionally, look for coaches who have a proven track record of success and who are able to provide references from previous clients.

Are there measurable benefits to working with a career coach?

Yes, there are measurable benefits to working with a career coach. Studies have shown that individuals who work with career coaches are more likely to find a job, earn a higher salary, and feel more satisfied with their careers. Additionally, working with a career coach can help you to develop valuable skills and knowledge that can be applied throughout your career.


Investing in a career coach is not just for those who are struggling; it’s for anyone looking to maximize their career potential. With personalized guidance, strategic planning, and ongoing support, a career coach can help you achieve your professional goals and thrive in your career.

Whether you’re facing a career transition, seeking to enhance your job search techniques, or aiming to build your confidence and skills, a career coach can provide the tools and insights needed for success.

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