Whether you’re in a career transition, planning for future career moves, or wanting to be more intentional about your professional journey, it makes sense to get expert career coaching. If you’re looking for an effective way to take your career to the next level, to get unstuck, to find your dream career, or to generate more well-being from your work, consider hiring a career coach.
Here at the Bold Career Project we believe that increased career fulfillment radiates across all the other areas of your life. Working with an experienced career coach, career consultant or career counsellor provides access to guidance, support, and accountability that can help unlock your true potential and set you up for success in all areas of life.
In this article, we will explore why having access to a career coach is essential for managers, executives and other professionals who want to improve job performance, increase confidence, and make transformational changes in their careers.
1. Why Does Working with a Career Coach Matter?
Ultimately, the value of experiencing career coaching is attached to how much you value your career, your financial health and security, and your overall emotional and physical well-being.
- Aspirational - career coaching can help you unlock your potential and reach big goals
- Fulfillment - career coaching can help you dial in what you want and need and how to get it in your professional life
- Optimization - career coaching can help you make improvements in your mindset, performance, approach, personal profile and others
- Transactional - career coaching can help you navigate or get help on more immediate decisions, deliverables (resumes, LinkedIn profiles, bios, etc.), opportunities or micro-problems
- Pain relief - career coaching can help solve professional problems causing you pain
- Risk Mitigation - career coaching can help you spot and work around current or upcoming professional risks
The rest of this article explains why working with a career coach matters to your career and life.
2. Are Career Coaches Worth It?
If you are on this page, you are in the process of determining whether you will hire a career coach or which career coaching company to hire. In this section, we provide the answer to the common question of whether it is worth it to hire a career coach.
Is it Worth Paying for a Career Coach?
The answer to the question of whether it is worth paying for career coaching depends on five factors unique to you.
What's at Stake: The bigger the stakes, the more it makes sense to get expert help and partner with someone who will have your best interests at heart. Any career decision or career move is high stakes as it has both an immediate effect and follow-on effect that impacts your trajectory going forward. It is also important to recognize the high stakes of being stuck, or chronically stressed, of off track. These things impact our emotional and physical well-being.
The Value of an Unbiased Champion: It can be very difficult to get some distance from our situation and look at it with fresh eyes. A coach is there to provide that external lens and listen for where you are holding yourself back.
Your Level of Confidence & Expertise: In addition to coaching, you can get access to services, tools and process to help you solve a situation or pursue a goal. If what you've done on your own in the past hasn't produced the results, then hiring a career coach makes sense. If you are beginning to pursue your goal or solve the problem, assess your level of confidence and expertise and the risk of getting it wrong.
The Value of Your Time: There's a time cost to figuring it out on your own and doing the work. And for busy professionals, it is very common that important professional goals get put on the back burner because of the day to day call of more immediate tasks. If you value your time and want to ensure that you actually move forward, investing in a career coaching service makes sense.
Your Values Around Having a Personal Success Team: There's a range of professionals supporting people looking for greater results in their life. How you view and value professional support in your life
Any one of the above five factors is a good reason to consider hiring a career coach. A career coach will provide guidance, support, and accountability to help you reach your goals, improve your career and better your life.
Does Working with a Career Coach Help?
There’s no doubt that working with a career coach can be helpful. A career coach can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, set achievable goals, and develop a plan to achieve them. They can also provide feedback and support as you make progress. The most important factors in how helpful your work with a career coach can be, is who you work with, and your approach and accountability in working with your career coach.
3. How Much Do Career Coaches Charge?
You'll find that most coaches charge between $100 - $500 an hour, with some lower and some higher. Rates are a function of the seniority and experience of the coach, their popularity, and the level of the client.
Executives will pay more, for example, than a junior manager. More extensive commitments (i.e. more hours) may result in a price break. If you are management level, expect to pay between $125-$250 on average. If you are an executive, expect to pay between $250-$500 on average.
Many career coaches and companies have career coaching programs focused on a specific goal (career change, career fulfillment, career move, etc). Expect to pay a program or package price that will include coaching hours, content, tools, and potentially done-for-you deliverables. We offer programs like this for career moves, career change and others.
4. When Does it Make Sense to Hire a Career Coach
Working with a career coach can be invaluable for anyone looking to get promoted, compete for a higher-level job, make a career change, or simply gain greater clarity and direction in their career. Whether you’re stuck in a rut and need help getting unstuck, want to define your personal brand or learn how to become an effective leader – hiring a career coach is essential for success.
Here are some common, high ROI situations when hiring a career coach makes a lot of sense. When you ...
- have decided that you want to make a proactive career move
- feel ready to position yourself for a promotion
- have a live job opportunity (internal or external)
- need to make job move / career transition right away
- decided that you want to explore a career change, find your dream career
- are looking for greater clarity and more confidence
- are struggling to achieve your career goals
- realize something is holding you back from more tremendous career success and professional fulfillment
- are feeling stuck in your job, or at risk of losing your job and need help fixing the situation or navigating an intentional career move
- feel lost in your career or not sure what direction to take
- have a professional decision to make that will impact your future
- feel you need help navigating your workplace, working better with your manager, increasing your performance
- realize that your well-being is suffering from work demands and you need help finding a sustainable approach and balance
- are ready to upgrade your personal branding, develop a new resume, elevate your LinkedIn profile
- want to develop your network, leverage LinkedIn better, improve your professional relationships
- and more...
And here are some cases for ongoing career coaching (monthly, quarterly), or career coaching programs. When you ...
- are pursuing a specific goal that will take months or years
- want to optimize the success and fulfillment from your career and need a partner to support you in that process
- see the importance of developing your reputation, network, public profile and reach / audience and need help strategizing, executing, and holding you accountable
- have a vision for where and who you want to be
- and more...
At the end of the day, having access to an experienced professional who is focused on helping you reach your goals will have a huge return on investment - providing relief from stress and uncertainty while paving the way towards achieving true success.
5. Will My Employer Pay for Career Coaching
It is worth investigating to see if your employer would pay for career coaching. It depends first on the focus of the career coaching. Your employer is less likely to pay for you to get career coaching on how to leave them (unless you are part of a lay-off). They are more likely to pay for career coaching that helps you:
- improve your performance
- prepare you for promotion
- increase your skills in building relationships
- improve your public profile (LinkedIn, for example)
- build confidence
- and other areas that would make you a more valuable employee and leader.
Secondly, it depends on whether your employer has a budget for this kind of thing, discretionary funds, or whether you have a professional development allowance.
Many of our clients have been able to get financial support from their employers.
6. What Makes a Good Career Coach?
Are you looking for a career coach but don’t know where to start? Finding the right career coach can be a game-changer for your professional life. In this section, we’ll cover the characteristics of a great career coach, what to look for in a career coach, and the areas of career coaching expertise.
Characteristics of a Great Career Coach
First, the career coach you choose should have a strong track record of success.
A great career coach should be a good listener, have excellent communication skills, bring relevant experience (ideally in both the working world and in working with clients) and be knowledgeable and experienced at your level.
They should be a source of insights, helping you see what you don't. They should be a champion for your success and well-being, be able to hold you accountable where needed and help you see a brighter future.
Depending on the service area, the career coach should demonstrate expertise and ideally have a process or approach to how they help clients get results. One way to identify this is through the content they've created or documented - courses, articles, videos and posts.
What to Look for in a Career Coach
When looking for a career coach, it’s essential to find someone experienced and who understands your goals. It’s vital to find a career coach who you feel comfortable with and who understands your unique situation.
The right fit can make all the difference in your coaching experience. You should also consider their coaching style and whether it aligns with your learning style. One area of fit is mindset. You want to partner with someone who is going to be able to coach and inspire you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
7. What Kinds of Career Coaching Services are Available? How can a Career Coach Help Me?
When it comes to getting support to develop your career and professional journey, you have several options of services available to you. .
1-1 Coaching & Advising: The most commonly thought of service is 1-1 career coaching with alternate terms called career consulting, interview coaching, career counselling, career advising, life coaching, and executive coaching. There are some distinctions between these but lots of overlap, described in detail in section 8 below.
1-1 Coaching Programs: You can sign-up for a pre-defined coaching / consultative process focused on a specific outcome. With this kind of service, the work is still 1-1 but follows a pre-set agenda or program.
Group Coaching Programs: Group programs are very popular, are typically facilitated online (although some are in person), and usually involve a combination of teaching content, homework, live events (Zoom or in-person), discussion, community, and other features. Like 1-1 coaching programs, they are typically focused on either a specific outcome (make a career change) or a specific target client.
Done-For-You Services: You can also obtain 1-1, customized services. The most common are resume and cover letter writing, LinkedIn profile writing, writing bios, personal marketing packages, personal websites, and in some cases, managing your social media on your behalf.
DIY Online Courses: Many career coaches have packaged their expertise into an online learning format, available at any time in a DIY format.
Assessment Tools: Finally, assessment tools and the expert debriefs they typically come with are another source of input and support in better understanding yourself and improving your career. Example assessments include StrengthsFinder, Birkman, MBTI, and Emotional Capital Report ECR.
Think carefully about the type of support you need
Different types of providers and service packages are going to suit you better, depending on your situation.
- Integrated vs. Single-Service Provider: You'll find that many career coaches focus only on coaching and not able to provider related services like interview coaching, resume or LinkedIn writing, etc. Or that a resume writing provider can only help you with the resume and cover letter and not the coaching and strategy to help you define your messaging and target. Be aware ahead of time what you need. The advantage of a career coaching company vs. single provider is that you can get a range of services and expertise under one roof.
- Single Service vs. Bundled Service Package: In some cases, you may only need the 1-1 advising work that comes with working with a career coach. Or a specific service (resume writing). In other cases, a bundled approach could work better for you, where you're getting access to a combination of 1-1 work, content, tools, a program and done-for-you services.
- Your Situation & Goals: Finally, consider your situation and goals when hiring a career coach. Are you looking for a long term partner or a short-term fix? How complex and multi-faceted is the project?
8. What is the Difference with other Career Services?
This is a great question. If you’re confused between the various terms, you are not alone. Prospective clients are often using these terms interchangeably. We break down the areas of overlap as well as distinctions between the different types of professional and services.
Career Consulting & Career Consultants
Here at Bold Career, we see Career Consultants and Career Coaches as mostly interchangeable and most prospective clients use these terms interchangeably.
Career Consultants provide expert advice, content and tools on various topics related to your professional life. They are often used by those looking to make a career transition or climb up the corporate ladder. Depending on your needs, they may offer advice on networking techniques, resume-building tips, job search strategies, interviewing techniques or even salary negotiation tactics. Career coaches can do the same.
We do differentiate between the coaching and consulting service activities with the client. If for example, we are supporting a client to make a career change, the client is experiencing career coaching (what important to me, what do I want, what's holding me back), career consulting (how), and services.
Career Counselling & Career Counsellors
Career counselling typically focuses more on exploring different vocations or career paths based on client aptitudes, values and motivations than setting specific goals or strategies for achieving them.
Career counsellors often deploy batteries of assessments to identify base-level aptitudes, motivations and personal values and reference those findings against databases of job types to deliver recommendations on potentially suitable career path choices.
If you are in a situation where you need or want to start over completely in your professional life (i.e. not leverage your experience), or you are just starting out following your educational years, a career counsellor can be a good choice.
Career Transition Coaching
Career Transition Coaching is career coaching focused on making a career transition, career move, career change or job search.
Outplacement Services & Career Transition Services
An Outplacement Services or Outplacement Provider technically refers to a company-sponsored career transition service an employer provides as part of a severance package. The work with the individual client is the same (focused on career transition), but the situation and who pays are different. Many people seeking to hire a career coach to help them make a career move are unaware of this distinction and use the outplacement services term when searching for their provider.
The most common definition of an Employment Consultant is someone who assists people to find and keep employment. While there’s overlap with our other key terms, employment consultants are often hired and deployed by government agencies and schools to support people who’ve been out of the workforce, have trouble finding work, or who have a disability and require extra support.
To make things confusing, another use of this term is as an expert witness advising courts and tribunals on employment related issues.
If your goal is to get support in finding the right next job for you and your career, use the term career coach and look for expertise in career moves or career change.
Job Coaching & Job Coaches
The most common usage of Job Coach and Job Coaching is in supporting persons with disabilities to learn and perform job duties and to support retention and independence for these clients. A job coach is often provided as a workplace accommodation.
Headhunters & Recruiters
We've included this one here as it comes up in searches even though they shouldn't be grouped together. A headhunter's business model is getting paid by companies to recruit candidates for specific openings. They don't work for the candidate and are not unbiased. Some may offer career advice, but they should not be considered as a professional source of career coaching.
9. Career Coaching Services
We think about Career Services as a broad bucket of support for people looking to level up or make changes in their professional life. These include career coaching/consulting/counselling, resume writing, LinkedIn profile writing, interview coaching, job search strategy and support, as well as online courses and group-based programs. Some companies looking for Outplacement / Career Transition Services (see below), use this term. Learn about the most common career services below:
Resume Writing & Cover Letter Writing Service
The most common career service purchased by individuals is resume writing and cover letter writing. There are no mysteries about this service term. As a consumer, your main choices are:
- Level of experience: If you are an executive or senior manager, or have a complex background, I suggest you find a provider with executive-level or senior-level expertise.
- Provider type: Whether you value an integrated, personalized approach - where your career coach, resume writer, or interview coach are the same person or same firm or a stand-alone approach where you engage with a resume writer who does nothing but write resumes.
Check out our Resume writing services.
LinkedIn Profile Writing Service & LinkedIn Coaching
An increasingly important and popular area of service is around the LinkedIn Profile. Clients include individuals looking to improve their LinkedIn presence for the purposes of their career development as well as executives or companies seeking to elevate the LinkedIn profile and usage of LinkedIn for business purposes. Services include:
- LinkedIn Profile strategy
- LinkedIn Profile writing and construction
- LinkedIn Coaching - how to better leverage the platform to network, build reputation, gain and audience and more
Check out our LinkedIn profile writing service.
Professional Branding Service or Professional Identity Service
These are catch-all terms for some of the work done in career coaching, resume writing and LinkedIn profile writing. The focus of these kinds of services is to help you:
- Get clear and confident in your messaging
- Be able to tell your unique professional story
- Developing your personal marketing package which normally consists of a resume/CV, a polished LinkedIn profile and a cover letter, but can also include an Executive Bio, a Recruiter’s brief, a custom banner on your LinkedIn profile, a website, and other elements.
Interview Coaching & Job Offer Negotiation
Interview coaching is the specialized work of helping clients develop their job interview skills, build confidence, tell their stories more effectively and prepare for specific interviews.
An Interview Coach can either prepare you in advance for any interviews you might have (proactive) or work with you on a specific opportunity, both strategizing and preparing for the interview and debriefing and planning next steps.
While some career professionals are specialist Interview Coaches, it is more common to find career coaches or consultants with this expertise as part of their repertoire.
10. Next Steps
Hiring a career coach can be invaluable for corporate professionals like executives and managers who want to take their careers to the next level. A good career coach should also serve as an accountability partner, helping you stay focused on the goals and objectives that are most important for achieving success. They will be available to offer support when facing tough decisions and provide ongoing feedback so that progress can be tracked accurately.
To learn more about the different benefits of career coaching, go to the following article - Benefits of Career Coaching | 18+ Ways to Leverage a Career Coach
Interested in Bold Career's Career's coaching services?