How To Become A Career Coach

As a life coach you may be  perfectly positioned to become a career coach. On this page I explore the skills and qualifications you need and how you can help job seekers with career advancement, adult and student career coaching, resumes, redundancies and more.

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

Three Steps To Becoming A Career Coach

1. Get some career coach specific qualifications

Whilst you don't have to have any specific qualifications to become a career coach, it can help your credibility if you have taken some training to earn certification specifically in this area. As you can imagine, there are many courses offered that focus on career coaching.

You will 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 need a degree in psychology or counselling.

A visitor to this site, career coach Geanini Roman, has highly recommend a course run in the UK by Career Counselling Services.   Unfortunately the course is not available online but it is based on the book Career Counselling by Robert Nathan and Linda Hill which is available on Amazon.  

2. Choose your career coaching  niche

Within any coaching niche, such as career coaching there are other niches you might want to focus on depending on your own background and experience.  These just a few of the possible sub-niches including working with:

  • 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 such as accountancy where there is a high demand for career coaching.
  • People facing redundancy 

3. Get familiar with the job market 

When you become a career coach, there can be much more to the role than the critically important process of helping your coachee to discover a new  career.  For example, they may want to progress in the speciality they already have,

This means that you to understand the job opportunities available in their geographical and skill - based area.  You also need to be able to provide advice as to where your client should look to find job opportunities.

Keep up with industry talk about jobs and become familiar and keep up to date with online job search sites so  you know which ones to recommend.  

Coaching Tools For Career Coaches

My colleague Emma Louise of The Coaching Tools Company has created a Career Coaching Toolkit  to help clients who want to work on their careers. The tools in the kit will help clients discover what's important to them in their work and energise them to move forward in their current job or go for a career change.  A particularly useful tool called the 'Career Discovery Ponder Sheet' will help you:

  • Ask 21 thoughtful career questions designed to stimulate your client's thinking
  • Discover common threads and themes that point to possible careers
  • Get clients re-inspired by identifying qualities to incorporate into their work-life

I also invite you to subscribe to my monthly Life Coaching Accelerators - coaching tips and case studies from my 20+ years. When you subscribe you can download my "10 Powerful Coaching Questions And How To Use Them" as my gift to your coaching.

Five Ways You Might Work With Your Clients

1. Resumes, CVs and Job Applications

Sometimes the client who comes to you for career coaching will want help with telling their story 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, I recommend that you check out, a credible and trusted service that specialises in creating resumes that stand out from the crowd.

Part of this process might also be helping them master interviewing skills so they come across to the employer as a good prospect for the job.

If you are coaching them around this issue I found the book "ACED: Superior Interview Skills to Gain an Unfair Advantage to land Your Dream Job"  full of useful information and hints.

I recommend you check out these two resources for helping your clients present themselves well and get that 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.

My Recommended resources when working with career coaching clients affected by redundancy.

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.  Read my summary of my book  Be Your Own Goals Coach  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.   

And career coach Steve Preston has written an excellent book Winning Through RedundancySix Steps to navigate your way to a brighter future.

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 and maybe to master  How and When to Delegate so they can accelerate up the career ladder to where they know they belong.

You can find more about finding your niche as a career coach by following  my colleague Cindy Schulson's free step by step system to identify your niche which is available on her website.

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.

Marc Miller's book Repurpose Your Career : A Practical Guide For baby Boomers, is also worth a look. 

His own story is fascinating and the book is specifically targeted to Baby Boomers -  a growing coaching niche for career 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 career life coaching to help them get clarity and decide which direction to take in either further education or a job.

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