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How To Become a Career Coach

How To Become a Career Coach

Learn how to become a career coach, what this role entails, how much you can earn, and the must-have skills you’ll need for the job.

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Our professional pursuits matter. Our jobs pay the bills, monopolize our weeks, and offer us opportunities to meet new people. Career satisfaction is important to ensure we don’t dread going into the office each day. 

But sometimes, we do dread going into the office each day. And when this happens, it’s time to ask ourselves some hard questions about whether we need to change jobs — or careers.

Career coaches can help in these moments of questioning. They can guide people shifting to new careers, struggling to advocate for themselves, and starting their own businesses. Coaches can’t make their clients magically more satisfied, but they can help people understand what’s wrong and get them closer to a career that feels right. 

If this seems like fulfilling work, becoming a career coach may be your ideal profession. In this article, we’ll discuss how to become a career coach and what the job entails. If you’re having a “What am I doing with my life?” moment yourself, this could be your turning point. 

What’s a career coach?

Career coaches help their clients set career goals, identify roadblocks, and determine their work satisfaction. They make it easier for clients to accomplish anxiety-inducing tasks like asking for a raise or starting a new position, working as mentors that bring their clients closer to their dream professional lives.

Becoming a career coach

Coaching is valuable work. If you’re interested in encouraging people to pursue fulfilling careers, here’s how to start a fulfilling profession as a career coach:

  1. Get educated: If offering this type of coaching appeals to you, you’ve likely learned a lot across your professional development and have valuable insights to share, like job searching, creating a LinkedIn profile, and writing a cover letter. You don’t need special career coach training, professional experience, or degrees to become a career coach. One of the best ways to prepare is by reflecting on and learning from your own career history. 

You can also enroll in a higher education program to bolster certain parts of your practice. Consider getting a degree in:

  • Business
  • Human resources
  • Psychology
  • Communications
  1. Get certified: Coaches don’t have to be certified, but completing a career coaching certification program bolsters your resume and makes your practice more attractive to clients. Plus, you’ll learn more about your profession during the certification process. Some of the courses you could take include:
  1. Learn from others’ career coaching experiences: Before starting your business, make connections with other local coaches, asking questions and learning from their hands-on experience. If possible, attain information about their services and budget. This will help when planning your business.

  2. Plan and start your career coaching business: Create a business plan that outlines your services, prices, and target audience. Define how you’ll market your career coaching services and outline your financial goals. Then, register your business. 

Once you’re ready to take on clients, start small. It’s best to gain practice and work out any kinks with a few clients, scaling up as you’re ready. 

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Must-have career coaching skills

Here are some career coaching skills those considering this profession will want to acquire:

  • Active listening: Coaches must ask the right questions, glean information from conversations, and retain those details. This is the first step in parsing a client’s situation and charting an effective route forward. Good active listeners use strong eye content and welcoming body language so their clients feel comfortable and heard. It also helps to remind our clients they’re in a safe space and can speak their mind.
  • Communication: One of our key roles is to teach. We must be able to explain coaching plans to our clients and outline the importance of the action steps they’ll take. Successful career coaches will lead exercises and provide information on topics related to the coaching program (like job interviews, public speaking, or entrepreneurship). As coaches, we also need to demonstrate strong communication skills to teach our clients things like body language interpretation, resume writing, negotiation, and interviewing. 
  • Motivational skills: The best way to motivate someone is to set a good example. Career coaches must be motivated individuals, using tactics and techniques they’ve learned about or tried themselves. We should celebrate our clients’ accomplishments, know how to incentivize them effectively, and remind them of their incredible progress. 

How much can you make as a career coach?

A career coach’s salary varies greatly, with the average sitting at between $100-500 per hour. This range is based on several factors, like:

  • Location 
  • Coach experience level
  • Package pricing types
  • Service type 
  • Target audience

We recommend assessing the average price for similar services in your area when choosing what to charge for your services, considering your budget and salary goals. 

A final tip

No matter the type of coaching you choose to pursue, staying organized will help keep your business running smoothly. You’ll be working with a variety of clients with various needs, offering different packages and payment options, and likely scaling quicker than imagined. 

To avoid administrative hiccups, start off right by using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Practice allows you to store client data, send and receive messages and documents, and securely authorize payment — all in one place. Try it today.

Free coaching contract templates

We worked with our lawyers to create coaching contract templates, free for any coach to use. Plus, a couple of sample agreements.

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