Career Coach

With growing numbers of people people changing jobs or wanting more meaningful work, there are lots of opportunities for career coaches to make a difference.

Career coaches help people deal with job and career changes. Marcia Bench is the author of An Insider's Guide to Career Coaching. She writes that career coaching is an interactive process.

"Career coaches connect people with their passion, purpose, values and other critical aspects of their ideal work," says Bench, whose headquarters are in Arizona.

Services Provided

A career coach provides many services to its clients. These depend upon the reason the client is seeking the coach's assistance.

"I help the client to decide on the best career options to pursue or help him or her to redirect a job search," career coach Dale Kurow explains.

"We can create a game plan for the client to change careers or [teach them] how to stay motivated within the confines of a current job. I work with a client to deal with a difficult boss and to deal effectively with office politics."

Kim Green-Spangler is a coach in Niagara Falls, New York. "A career coach can hold your hand, give you a kick in the pants, and can make you accountable to realize your career goals," she says.

Some career coaches will help with resume writing and preparation for job interviews. Others act as motivators.

"We are similar to a personal trainer, although we work on someone's life and career instead of their body," explains Dallas career coach Kristin Taliaferro.


First, get some work experience. Also, while it helps to be certified, it is not yet a requirement.

"I feel previous work experience in a related field is an asset," says career coach Mary D'Arcy. "I think an effective coach will be someone who has experienced first-hand the many challenges that their clients will be facing."

Marcia Dorfman adds that career coaches should be achievement-oriented and care about others. They should also be knowledgeable about careers and business trends.

"Training in core coaching skills such as active listening, assessing without judgment and communicating effectively is very important," Dorfman says.

Taliaferro has a degree in psychology that she says helps her in coaching. She also spent two years studying online with Coach University.

There are over 100 coach training organizations. Many of them are online.

Business Outlook

The future for career coaches appears to be very bright. Bench says there are three reasons for this.

First, a bad economy actually helps career coaches. When there are more layoffs, there's more need for career coaches to help people find new jobs.

Second, many people change jobs and careers often. Coaches can help clients with each new change.

Finally, many people want to do more meaningful work. That means opportunities for career coaches to show clients the way.

Ian Christie is a career coach. He says that there is a strong future for the profession because more and more people are realizing what coaching is. "They are becoming more aware of the benefits coaching can bring," he says.

D'Arcy agrees. "There has been a recent trend of individuals seeking a lifework that matches their interests and values," she says.

"This has lead to them starting their own businesses and changing careers. So, the value of career coaches in the marketplace increases."

Earning Potential

The amount of money a career coach earns depends on the hours worked and the number of clients handled. Salaries range from $50,000 to over $100,000 annually.

Green-Spangler works out of her home office. She does this so that she is at home with her children. For only part-time coaching, she says she earns more than $50,000 per year.

Career coach Meg Montford of Kansas City, Missouri, says that because there are so many avenues open to career coaches, the amount of money earned can be quite sizable. It depends upon the coach's training and experience.

"Standard rates for coaching an individual currently range from $200 to $1,000 per month," she says. "If you take career coaching into corporations or other organizations, fees increase based upon the total project rate."

Dorfman calculates that a coach with about 15 clients can earn $50,000 or more from their practice.

Start-Up Costs

Some career coaches have an office and have face-to-face meetings with their clients. Other coaches rely mainly on telephone and e-mail for contact.

The price for starting a career coaching practice depends upon the space and equipment needed. Basics include telephones, computer, fax machine, copier and Internet service.

"I'd say $5,000 and that's if you don't need to rent office space," Kurow says. "This amount would cover stationery, website development, advertising and professional meetings. This also does not cover education."

While building a practice, Kurow suggests that a beginning coach should have enough savings on which to live for the first year.

If office space is needed, rental rates vary according to location.

Montford adds that many communities offer free services to advise new businesses. They can help with writing business plans and advertising methods.


Career Coach Institute
Read about career coach training

International Coach Federation
Check out the training section

Association of Career Professionals
Find a career professional and ask about their work

Coach U
Read about the benefits of being a coach

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