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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
'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.
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.
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.