What Can A Career Coach Do For You?


If your career has ever been in a slump, you may consider getting a career coach—sounds like someone you’d trust to help you get ahead in life, right? In most cases, that’s exactly what happens. Coached employees report increased job satisfaction, a stronger connection to the work they do and, of course, a paycheque that helps offset the cost of their investment. It works both ways, too—plenty of research suggests that employers stand to gain more than a 300 per cent return on every dollar invested into coaching one of their workers. However, these gurus aren’t some magic pill. Here are the realities of what a career coach can do for you.


Photo: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE Getty Images

Find a job
Career coaches have many metrics for success, but getting you paid is one few can argue with. They’ll help you create or improve your resume so that your skills shine—they often ascertain your major competencies through an in-depth interview process—and help you focus a cover letter to appear more attractive to recruiters. They’ll also help you prepare for an interview, often through role play to iron out those jitters. What they can’t do, however, is put you in touch with the industry leaders they’ve pupiled, or set up interviews—basically, the leg work is up to you.

Define your goals
Career coaching isn’t just about telling you how to get from point A to point B in your career, it’s also figuring out what that mythical point B actually is. Many employees who believe they deserve better stick around in dead-end jobs because they don’t know what comes next, or what they’re striving toward. A coaching program can help you create a career map or vision board that specifically defines what you want in life. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to attain your goals having one. But they’re no magicians. If life doesn’t go according to plan (hint: it never does), you’ll have to roll with the punches. The good news is they’ll arm you with what you need to get the job done, no matter what.

Find the tools you need to succeed
Career gurus can’t necessarily imbue you with specialized knowledge—there are online courses for that—but they can give you the life skills you need to survive in an office or other type of work environment. Interestingly, social skills rate most highly on what some employees need to improve. In that vein, they can instruct you on how to give great presentations, work with a team and even communicate with your superiors, the latter of which comes in handy when you don’t quite see eye to eye with your boss.

Give you the raw truth
Coaches will not flatter you, period. In fact, their profession can be downright ruthless when it comes to identifying your weaknesses. Through an in-depth interview process, most will figure out exactly what’s holding you back and challenge you to break bad habits you don’t even know you have. For example, if you’re a procrastinator, they’ll help you prioritize your life so that you can more effectively manage your time.

Make you happier… whatever that means

Many people who could use a life coach just go with the flow—they get a degree, get married, buy a house—and end up feeling unhappy and unfulfilled, even if they nab their dream job. Thus, helping you define what happiness means to you is a crucial service career coaches provide. Does it mean a huge paycheque? Fame? An outlet for your creativity? A solid definition will help you realize you’re doing alright (or, conversely, that you need to move on). 
Take it from the experts
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