How To Become A Career Coach
Becoming a career coach is an exciting and rewarding career path. You’ll be able to help business professionals in their field of choice advance their careers and work towards advancement and promotion. However, becoming a career coach is no easy feat and should be researched carefully. Clients will entrust their careers and their career trajectories with you and will expect to see results.
Becoming a career coach can be enticing for many individuals. On average, career coaches earn nearly $50,000 dollars per year. Most of this is made-up of hourly fees, which can range from $100-$500 per a two-hour session. However, there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to garner those high figures. Including marketing, advertising, and business expenses, you’ll need to provide proof to potential clients that they should trust you.
Perhaps more than most other careers, career coaches are heavily reliant on trust. They need to have the trust of their clients and customers. This trust is twofold, one that they actually know what they’re discussing and two that they have the ability to assist their clients and customers advance their careers.
We’re going to discuss in-depth below on how to become a career coach. While an exciting and rewarding career path, it is one that should be carefully studied and investigated before diving in. If you really want to become a career coach, you should step back and reassess your motivations. Are you simply in it for the money? Then this may not be the right career for you. Career coaching is about helping people and individuals. You need to truly care about them, and their careers and your intentions should be in the right place from the beginning.
The best career coaches are the ones that have direct professional experience in their field or industry. These are career professionals who have spent a majority of their careers within that field or industry and understand the nuances intimately.
Having professional experience means not only having been in the field, but also remaining an active participant in it. Understanding emerging trends, new information, and where the industry is headed are all useful. You should be able to speak on your own experience, what guided and assisted you, and where the industry is headed.
You should also be ready to answer pointed, exact questions. Clients will be coming to you directly for advice and you need to be able to provide direct, actionable answers. In addition, professional experience will be further cemented by your having a deep, rich list of networks and contacts. These will be individuals in the industry and ones that you can lean on or reach out to for additional assistance.
Lastly, you should have a slew of professional certifications which are directly related to the industry of your choice. Your subject knowledge should be thorough and expansive and should cover all topics and areas within your industry.
Your personal experiences should also be tied into your professional one. While you should have deep industry knowledge and expertise, ideally, you should also have your own personal success. Being able to discuss how you climbed the corporate ladder and had your own successes will allow you to seem more legitimate. In addition, having your own personal corporate success will better assist you in being able to discuss the paths and avenues you took to reach that success.
Clients and customers are more likely to trust someone who has direct, first-hand experience in their industry and in advancing their own career. You want to be a subject and industry expert before attempting to assist others with their careers. Having those qualifications allows you to be seen as an expert and as someone who understands what they are talking about.
Find A Niche
Before jumping into the fray, you’ll want to figure out what your niche is. Typically, your niche will be related to experience you’ve previously had within a specific industry. This will allow you to save time on research and to be able to speak authoritatively on the subject.
However, you should also find your niche based on who you want to serve and help. Dependent on the career and industry of choice, you may be liaising with differing individuals. By focusing on your niche from the get-go, you’ll be able to focus on the needs of those individuals. It is better to focus on one segment and one population, and to be an expert there, then to be a jack-of-all-trades and mediocre at it.
Join A Professional Organization
In the same vein as above, you’ll want to be well-versed in the happenings and trends of the industry of your choice. There is no better way of doing that then by joining a professional organization. These organizations meet periodically and will discuss the happenings within the industry and future trends. In addition, joining a professional organization is a great way to increase your network and connections within the industry.
Again, your goal in becoming a career coach is to help people. And people will only listen to you and take your advice if they trust you. One way to establish trust immediately is to have a list of classes and courses you’ve taken to advance your career coaching capabilities. There are a number of classes which are offered and I’ve included a couple below:
- Colorado State University – M.A. in Counseling and Career Development
- Penn State University – M.Ed. Counselor Education with a Career Counseling Emphasis
Learn How-To Saw No!
Becoming a career coach will take a lot of time, effort, and expertise. However, once you get the ball rolling and build up a list of clients (and build up their trust), you should find that it becomes easier and more rewarding. However, you should always remember to learn how to say no. Dealing with overly difficult clients or ones that have unrealistic expectations can be detrimental to your business and your mental health.