How to Tell if You Need a Career Coach2018-03-07T14:49:30+00:00

How to Tell if You Need a Career Coach

It can be tough to know when to hire a career coach. Couldn’t we manage this ourselves, we ask? Is it really that bad that I need to bring in outside help, and more importantly, pay for that help? We hear about coaches from friends, in the media, or read about them in self-help books. Ten years ago, coaching was a virtually unknown profession. Today, it is evolving at a phenomenal rate.

Are you taking advantage of this trend?

Do you know what a career coach is?

Could you benefit from hiring one?

By definition, a career coach is a trained professional (usually someone in the counseling and/or professional job search industry) who will guide you through the complexities of skills assessment, job-search planning, campaign development, career marketing and long-term career management.

Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself to determine if you could use help:

Career Assessment & Focus

  • Do you know who you are — professionally?
  • Do you have a clear understanding of your top skills and qualifications?
  • Are you clear about your career objectives?
  • Do your skills and qualifications match your objectives?
  • Do you know the type of position you are seeking?
  • Do you know what types of activities you do NOT want to engage in?
  • Do you know the industries in which you are interested and will be focusing your search?

Your career coach will assist you in assessing your qualifications, job preferences, likes and dislikes, immediate plans and long-term goals. Your coach will help you evaluate your worth in the employment market and your value within specific industries.

Career Change & Transition

  • Are you considering changing career paths, professions or industries?
  • Can you find an equivalent position if you make such a change?
  • Will you command the same level of compensation?
  • What skills do you have that are transferable between jobs and/or industries?
  • Do you feel as though you are going to be stuck in your current industry for the rest of your career?
  • Do you feel as though you are going to be stuck in your current profession for the rest of your career?
  • Do you know today’s “hot” industries and professions?
  • Do you have the “right” skills to transition into these high-growth industries?

Your coach will guide you in identifying and evaluating all of your possibilities and provide you with critical info to formulate your job search action plan.

Personal & Family Issues

  • Do you have personal or family issues that are directly affecting your job search?
  • Is relocation out of the question?
  • Is your spouse currently employed and not anxious to leave his/her position?
  • Is your age impacting your campaign results?
  • Are you tied to your current community because of out-of-work activities you’re involved in?
  • Are you discouraged because your job search has not progressed at the pace you anticipated?
  • Do you need an advisor or job search partner?

Your coach can be your sounding board, helping you determine how to evaluate and prioritize these issues in relation to your search and overcome obstacles.

Self Promotion & Job Search Management

  • Do you understand that the job search process is similar to the sales process?
  • Do you understand that YOU are the product you are selling and that you must effectively merchandise and promote the product?
  • Do you know which marketing channels are the RIGHT marketing channels for your search?
  • Do you know how to best optimize your networking contacts and results?
  • Do you know which advertisements to respond to and which to ignore?

Your career coach can help you critically evaluate each and every available job search strategy, its value to your search, the risk/reward ratio of each and how to best integrate each program into your campaign.

Interview Skills & Salary Negotiations

  • Are you confident of your performance in an interview situation?
  • Are you able to “sell” your accomplishments without sounding as though you are bragging?
  • Are you articulate and well-presented?
  • Are you comfortable in a stressful interviewing situation with more than one interviewer?
  • Can you quickly and easily adjust to a new environment?
  • Are you an accomplished negotiator, confident of your ability to negotiate the best compensation package possible?

Your career coach will help you develop and refine powerful interviewing skills, pushing you to perform at your best, communicate your value and negotiate for a compensation package.


  • Will your references speak positively about your skills, qualifications, experience and track record?
  • Will your references say anything that could be potentially damaging to you?
  • Are your references the RIGHT references for you to use?
  • Do you know how to improve the performance of your references when they’re talking about you?
  • Can you make the reference-checking process easier for your references?

If you know that your references may be divulging information that could be construed as negative, let your career coach teach you how to best overcome these situations.

If you can answered “YES” to most of the questions and are confident in your ability to manage your job search, then you are reasonably well-prepared to move forward on your own. However, if you still feel the need for the expertise, insights and support of a career coach, don’t hesitate to call. Career coaches can make a huge difference in the speed and success of your job search.

If you answered “NO” to more than just 3-4 of the questions above, I would strongly urge you consider the value a career coach could bring to your job search, career performance and compensation. With years of training and experience, career coaches know what works and what doesn’t work, how to optimize your results, and how to help you land your ideal position.

It’s worth checking in with several coaches to choose the best fit. Many, including myself, offer free introductory calls so you can ask questions, get a feel for a coach’s personality and qualifications, and explain your situation.