If you’re interested in furthering your career and want expert help, a career coach is a smart solution. A career coach is a professional you hire to guide you during a job search or a career transition, or to help you improve and advance in your current position. A career coach analyzes your work situation and learns what your professional goals are. They then create a strategy to help you achieve your targets. Throughout the process they should provide objective feedback and guide you in approaching the process strategically. Here are some of the tools and tasks a career coach may assist you with:
- Helping you build a strong resume that reflects your work history, potential, and skills
- Coaching for interviews and strategies for solid answers built around your resume and the target job
- Defining your career goals
- Creating a plan for job searching
- Improving networking strategies and skills
- Developing strategies for negotiating raises or promotions
- Assessing why you’re not getting where you want to go
- Identifying new positions or career opportunities that fit your skills
A professional, accredited life coach works with people to help them make important changes in their life, either growing in their profession or changing gears in their personal lives. They help clients turn their dreams or wishes into realistic, attainable goals. They guide people through the process of making life changes by helping them evaluate the steps they must take to reach a particular goal, then help them decide how — and whether — to take those steps in the most efficient, effective and rewarding way possible. A life coach acts as a motivator, strategist and accountability partner. Unlike a therapist, a life coach doesn’t help solve problems from your past — they’re focused on helping you move forward with new ways of acting and thinking that will help you reach your goals. Some people specialize in particular types of life coaching, including life balancing coaches, small business coaches, executive coaches and personal finance coaches. Some meet clients in person, while others hold consultations over the phone.
Regardless of which type of life coach you’re interested in, make sure the person holds an International Coach Federation (ICF) credential. There are three tiers of credentials: Associate, Professional and Master, which require coaching experience ranging from 100 hours to 2,500 hours.
Career counseling can help you discover your career path, help you overcome challenges preventing you from finding happiness in your job, or help you learn more about career opportunities that are available to you. Career counselors are typically counselors who specialize in helping guide people into their best career choices. As professionals, they have typically completed a master’s degree in counseling with a focus on career counseling and bring a nuanced understanding of the emotional blocks that prevent someone from doing what they love or getting ahead in their current position. Here are some of the ways that career counseling can help:
- Identify your skills and talents and how they correlate to different career paths
- Educate you about the educational requirements for launching in various careers and what earnings can look like
- Help you understand the kind of environment you want to work in, and which careers are best suited for that
- See opportunities to transfer your existing skill set to other career areas
- Help you identify causes of tension or unhappiness in your current career and how to overcome those difficulties
- Help you create a game plan for moving forward
- Provide a safe space for you to understand your feelings about career choices you’re making
A life coach helps clients set and reach professional and personal goals, develop positive habits, and deal with stress. Some people meet with a life coach once or twice, while others form an ongoing professional relationship, meeting regularly in person or on the phone. The average national cost to meet with a life coach ranges from $80 to $130 an hour. Some coaches offer per-session pricing, especially for one-time meetings; expect to pay an average of $100-$125. People who want to work with a coach over a period of time to explore life transitions, career growth or lifestyle changes may be able to get discounted pricing in a package. For example, three 60-minute sessions cost an average of $300, four 60-minute sessions cost an average of $350, and four 60- to 90-minute sessions plus unlimited contact between sessions cost an average of $400. Some specific types of coaching, such as relationship or marriage coaching, cost more than standard life coaching. For instance, three 60-minute relationship coaching sessions cost an average of $500, four 60-minute sessions cost an average of $550, and six 60- to 90-minute sessions cost an average of $650 when purchased as a package. Training and experience can also affect the cost of hiring a life coach. An Associate Certified Coach, who holds a certification that requires only 60 hours of training and 100 hours of coaching experience, will charge less than a Master Certified Coach, who typically has at least 200 hours of training and 2,500 hours of coaching experience.
If you’re feeling lost in your career path, overwhelmed, in need of a job but confused as where to start, or ready for change but uncertain what you want, a career counselor is a good choice for you. A career counselor is typically a licensed professional who has earned a master’s degree in counseling — likely with an emphasis on career counseling. Each state has different licensing requirements for career counselors, so be sure to research before reaching out to a pro.
Due to their academic backgrounds, career counselors often have a more holistic and in-depth approach than a career coach. Career coaches are not regulated by states and also tend to be more business-focused — a good fit for those who know what they want but need help achieving it. On the other hand, a career counselor provides guidance and clarity around some of the more emotional aspects that job hunting and career movement entail. Career counselors meet with you in a series of one-on-one sessions. They assess your personality and learn what drives you. They get a detailed understanding of your work history and your hopes, and often work to help you discover any internal blocks preventing you from going where you want to go. Hiring a career counselor is appropriate at any time in your career, from recent graduate to executive-level management.