We all hope to make a living doing what we love — but realizing this dream is easier said than done. Many people feel bored, frustrated, or unfilled at some point in their careers. So when we feel this way, what can we do to get back on track?
Sometimes all it takes is a listening ear and some thoughtful advice. Career coaches offer just that — their focus is guiding people through work successes and struggles, whether their clients are looking for a new position or seeking to level up their performance in a current role.
If you find yourself feeling stagnant in your career, don’t go it alone. Read on to learn how to find a career coach that’s the perfect fit for your values and goals.
What do career coaches do?
Feeling anxious or unexcited about work is uncomfortable at best. At worst, it can derail your performance and lead to professional burnout. But how can working with a coach squash that little voice saying, “I wish I didn’t have to go to work”?
These professionals are laser-focused on helping you turn your professional life around. A career coach can help you:
- Learn more about yourself: To figure out what you want from your career, look inward, determine your values and expectations, and assess your strengths and weaknesses. A coach can lead you through this process of introspection.
- Envision the future: Feeling stuck? Chances are you don’t know what you want. A coach can help you unearth goals and guide you in planning career next steps.
- Find motivation: A career coach can help you discover what inspires and excites you. Once you find that spark, it can reignite your professional motivation.
- Overcome obstacles: Do you hold limiting beliefs that prevent you from reaching career highs? A coach can identify roadblocks that may be standing in the way of your dream job or fulfillment in your current role.
Do you need a professional career coach?
Whether you’re new to the workforce or starting a new career at 50, a coach can help you navigate uncertainty. Maybe you want to shake things up in your professional life, or perhaps you have an inkling it’s time for a career transition. Whatever the case, a second opinion never hurts.
Career coaches offer you a fresh perspective on your current situation. Here are some tell-tale signs you might be at a crossroads and in need of professional guidance:
- You’re not excited to go to work
- You’re not interested in new job opportunities
- You feel frustrated or stuck more than once a week
- You’re having trouble with your job search
- You’re not sure what the next step is in your career
- You can’t find a work-life balance
- You struggle with job interviews or cover letters
- You’re no longer challenged
- You want to make a career change but lack direction
Hiring a career coach
When you’re ready to take the next step toward improving your career, how can you find the right coach to help? The ideal coach is someone with experience in your field and whose coaching philosophy aligns with your weaknesses. For example, if you struggle with setting and achieving goals, a coach who focuses on SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound—goals and time management could be the perfect fit.
Before looking for a coach, ask yourself the following:
- What am I hoping to achieve in my career through coaching?
- What skills do I struggle with, and how can a coach help?
- What values and practices would I like to see in a coach?
Once you know the answers to these questions, it’s time to begin your search. Here’s how to find a good career coach in your community:
- If you’re an almost or recent graduate, try connecting with your college’s career counseling office and asking for recommendations.
- Ask another wellness professional (e.g., a therapist) if they could recommend a career coach.
- Search online coaching directories like Noomi and The Muse.
- Look up coaches on professional social networks like LinkedIn.
- Perform a good, old-fashioned Google search for nearby career coaches operating their own small businesses.
- Always check references and reviews from previous and current clients, no matter how you found the coach.
When you land on a coach whose style and experience align with what you’re looking for, schedule an introductory meeting. If you get off on a good foot, excellent — but don’t be afraid to move on if they’re not what you hoped for. You wouldn’t buy the first car you see on the lot, so don’t settle for a coach who isn’t addressing your needs.
Setting aside a budget for career coaching
Wondering how much career coaching services cost? According to Indeed, the average session costs $100–$150, but this isn’t set in stone — not all coaches charge the same amount.
Coaches often set their rates. The following factors affect how much they charge:
- The cost of wellness services in your area
- The coach’s years of experience and skillset
- Whether or not the coach is certified or has formal training
- Whether or not the sessions are one-on-one or in groups
- Whether you purchase at a per-session or package rate
- How frequently you attend sessions
Remember: An investment in career coaching is an investment in your personal development and future. The benefits of coaching could lead to new opportunities and higher earnings. But if it’s not in the budget right now, that’s okay — if coaching is something you hope to try in the future, consider saving up or waiting until you can afford it.
Career coaching FAQs
Still have questions about working with a career coach? Here are the answers to some common queries.
Will a career counselor tell me what to do next?
A career coach won’t tell you exactly what to do — they’ll help you uncover your desires, interests, and goals. Coaches believe answers must come from within, and once you have these answers, they can help you map a plan for the future.
Are all career coaches required to have a license?
Career coaches don’t need a license or certification to provide their services. If you want a coach with a formal background, research their experience and credentials. Many coaches have certifications from well-respected programs, which is a plus — not to mention a good sign they’re ready to take on the work.
What can I expect from my first career coaching session?
This question is one for your coach. Coaches will often send an intake form to ensure you’re a good fit for their services, and they’ll explore your concerns and career goals more deeply in the first session. If they’re not the right coach for you, politely decline future appointments and continue your search.
You deserve a rewarding career path
Shake off those nagging feelings of self-doubt and frustration with assistance from a coach. Career coaches can help you transition to the next phase in your career, even if you’re staying at the same job.
At Practice, we understand the benefits of coaching and work hard to ensure coaches can run their businesses efficiently. Our customer relationship management (CRM) platform is specifically designed with these professionals in mind, helping them store client data and documents safely and securely.