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Wendy Buckingham  /  Creator, Life Coaching Professionally

 Become A Career Coach And Develop A Great Niche

Page Summary

As a life coach you may be perfectly positioned to become an skilled career coach. On this page I explore the skills and qualifications you need, possible niches, and how you can help clients decide on their career steps.

FYI: I may receive commissions at no cost to you. Please see my affiliate disclosure for more.

Three Steps To Becoming A Career Coach

You don't have to have any extra qualifications in addition to your basic life coach training to become a career coach. However,  it can help your credibility if you have taken some extra specific training in this area and done your homework to become familiar with the job market.

1. Get some career coach specific qualifications

As you can imagine, there are many courses offered specifically on career coaching.

You will find you often use similar skills as you would in life or personal growth coaching.  So if you don't yet have any life coach training, and are aiming for this niche, make sure the life coaching school you enrol with offers modules and materials for career coaching.   

If you are planning to work as a career coach in a school, university, recruitment agency or corporate organisation check out their requirements so far as your qualifications go.  In some cases you may find you also need a degree in psychology or counselling.

2. Choose your career coaching  niche

As with any main coaching specialty, there are niches you might want to focus on depending on your own background and experience. I go into more details later, but these just a few of the possible sub-niches:

  • School or College leavers.  
  • People seeking a new path or to re-enter the workforce
  • Empty Nesters and Retirees
  • People in an industry you have worked in and now have an inside knowledge
  • People facing redundancy
  • Executives looking to climb further up the career ladder

3. Get familiar with the job market 

When you become a career coach you need to have an appreciation of the opportunities available both from a skills geographical base in your particular niche. You may also need to be able to provide information and suggestions as to where your client should look to find work.

You need to keep up with industry talk about the jobs market and become familiar with the different online job search sites so you know which ones to recommend.  


 recommended Tools For Career Coaches

7 products in 1! 

This really useful Career Coaching Toolkit was created by my colleague Emma Louise of The Coaching Tools Company to use with clients who want to work on their careers.

All the tools are brand able to your own own coaching business.
This fabulous kit includes: 

  • Career Values Identification Workbook - great for clients unhappy in their role or changing careers. 
  • Personal SWOT Exercise 
  • Reclaim Your Power at Work Exercise. 

Five Ways You Might Work With Your Career Clients 

You can be a generalist career coach working across the board of career issues. Or you may choose to specialise in a particular are such as these five suggestions: 

1. Resumes, CVs and Job Applications

Sometimes the client who comes to you for career coaching will want help with telling their story in their resume so they can present a compelling case to prospective employees. If you have the background and skills you can offer this as part of your service. 

If you don't feel confident about your own resume skills, there are resume writing services that you could form a strategic partnership with for cross referrals. Part of this process might also be helping the client master interviewing skills so they come across to the employer as a good prospect for the job. 

2. Recovering from redundancy

Job redundancy can mean that your client will need more help than just exploring new career options. Depending on the circumstances, their confidence may also need restoring. Even if there are glowing references and a payout with redundancies, there is often an emotional cost that can leave a person feeling fragile and disillusioned.  

This is where your life coaching skills will really come into play as you help restore their confidence and motivation.

3. Career change or advancement

Times have changed when it comes to defining a work path that continues, perhaps for decades. Not so long ago people were expected to get a job when they left school and stay there, until retirement.  if you had changed  jobs regularly you could be labelled unstable!

Nowadays, as employees evolve and discover new paths, it’s seen as quite OK and even encouraged and desirable to change direction and employment many times in your working life!

I am sure no one left school wanting to become a life coach, yet, here you are!

The client may come to you because he or she feels like a round peg in a square hole. Or their current occupation seemed like a good idea at the time, (or they were pushed into it by parents or peers) and they now feel it it’s time for change to a more authentic career. 

Alternatively, someone who comes to you for career coaching may be an executive who is quite satisfied with their career path and how they are going. They may just want to improve their communication and relationship skills, get some tips on time management or outsourcing so they can accelerate up the career ladder to where they know they belong.

4. 'Empty Nesters' and Retirees

'Empty Nesters', those parents whose children have been their life but have now left home, are often looking for adult life and career coaching to find a new and fulfilling direction to fill the gap.

Same goes for people who have retired from their long time job but still want to be part of the workforce, maybe by owning a small business or consulting from their years of expertise and experience.

These are growing niches with plenty of opportunity for the career life coach.

5. School leavers or college graduates

When you become a career coach you will often have young clients who, after all the stress and strain of exams need help working out their next steps.

Even with good passes, school leavers are often still unsure of their first career path and need skilled career life coaching to help them get clarity and decide which direction to take in either further education or looking for a job.

Helping Clients With Career Goals

I know this is a plug but if you DO choose to become a career coach you'll find the chapter on "Cleaning Up Old Failed Goals" in my book Be Your Own Goals Coach invaluable. 

It is particularly  useful for clients who have a lot of negative thoughts about themselves after redundancy and any goals they failed to achieve or school leavers who didn't get the marks they were aiming for. I also give many other tips for successfully achieving career goals.

You can read a summary of my book and as a taster I have included  some useful hints from the book you can use to help your clients make the right choices around their next job career.   

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Created and written by Wendy Buckingham, Class One Productions P/L. Sydney

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