How Can a Career Coach Help You?

Updated July 21, 2022

A career coach is a development professional who helps people adjust and improve their career paths through one-on-one guidance and advising. You may consider a career coach for several reasons, including to find a new job, to change careers or to work toward a promotion. In this article, we discuss what a career coach is, what the benefits of hiring one are and how to find one who suits your needs.

Related jobs on Indeed
Part-time jobs
View more jobs on Indeed

What is a career coach?

A career coach is a professional who specializes in helping people advance and make informed decisions about their careers. They may help you with one or more of the following:

Career path selection and development

The career coaching process can help evaluate where you are, where you want to go and how to get there. They may have you take personality assessments to understand your skills, qualities and characteristics and identify roles and industries in which you may excel.


If you have certain goals for your career, a career coach may be able to help you come up with a plan to achieve those goals. They may work with you on identifying your short- and long-term goals through methods like SMART goals.

They can help you identify specificmeasurableachievablerelevant and time-based goals that help you outline or improve your career steps.

Resume building

They may help you create, update or tailor your resume. They can help you optimize the structure and formatting to ensure the document is neat and professional-looking. Also, they can assist you in choosing the most applicable experience, skills and other background items to include in your resume.

Interview practice

Career coaches may also conduct mock interviews to help you improve general interview skills, or they may use these practice sessions to help you prepare for a specific interview. They are likely to give you feedback on how you did and where you can improve as well as provide you exercises to help calm your nerves or strengthen the language you use.

Read more: What Is Career Counseling and Coaching?

What a career coach does

Hiring a career coach can be very beneficial for your career and there are certain things that career coaches can do for you, including:

  • Personalize your career plan

  • Overcome career anxiety

  • Provide honest feedback

  • Help with a work problem

  • Assist you in starting a business

Personalize your career plan

Creating a personalized career plan is one of the most beneficial things that a career coach can do for you. A career plan is basically a roadmap for your professional life. The plan will be designed just for you and will be one of the most useful tools for achieving your career goals.

Before developing your career plan, a coach will evaluate you to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Your coach will sit down with you and ask you some questions about your career. These questions are designed to help you figure out exactly why you’re unhappy with your career and what you would like to change. With this information, it will be much easier for your coach to develop a plan tailored to your needs.

Overcome career anxiety

Learning how to deal with setbacks and negative emotions related to your career is one of the biggest benefits of a career coach. If your career is unfulfilling or if you’ve been out of work for a while, negative emotions like self-doubt may follow. For example, if you receive a rejection letter, a career coach can help you determine the reasons for the rejection and develop a plan for overcoming this setback. A career coach will help you maintain your focus so that you can continue moving forward instead of giving in to negative emotions.

Another one of the best reasons to seek help from a career coach is if you’re in the middle of your career and you feel like you’ve hit a slump. Hitting a plateau in the middle of your career is very common, and meeting with a career counselor is a great way to get out of this low point and get your career back on track. A career coach can help you reignite your ambition and remind you why you chose your career in the first place. They can also help you decide if your current career path is the right choice for you.

Provide honest feedback

If you’re not seeing results during a job search, a career coach can give you the unbiased feedback you need. When you meet with a career coach, they will give you objective and unbiased feedback about what you’re doing right and what you should improve in your job search. For instance, if you’ve had a string of bad interviews, a career coach will be able to talk with you to determine why the interviews went poorly. With unbiased feedback, your job search should be more effective.

Also, your coach will know more about your job skills after discussing them with you, so they’ll be able to give you better advice about your goals to ensure they are still realistic. They can apply their knowledge of career paths, development strategies and more to help you optimize your job search.

Help with a work problem

Sometimes you may encounter a problem at work for which a solution isn’t immediately clear. For example, maybe your day-to-day responsibilities are about to change and you feel underprepared, or perhaps you have a new manager you are having trouble collaborating with. In both of these situations, meeting with an experienced career coach can help you analyze different work situations and help you decide the best way to resolve them. If you feel like you’re unprepared for new work responsibilities, for example, a career coach can talk with you to determine whether you’re actually unprepared or if the issue is with your confidence. They can also give you advice for seeking professional training or help you develop strategies for overcoming self-doubt.

A career coach can also help you develop better communication skills, which will allow you to better deal with an adversarial manager or express your ideas to your teammates. If you’re handling a sticky situation at work that you can’t seem to resolve, meeting with a career coach can be a good decision.

Assist you in starting a business

Launching your own business can be an uphill task, particularly if you’ll need to keep working your regular 9-to-5 job as your business gets off the ground. If you’re considering launching a side business while continuing your current career, making an appointment with a career coach is advisable.

A lot of planning goes into launching a side business, including deciding how to manage your resources and how to balance your new venture and your current job. A skilled career coach can help you deal with these issues, and they can also help you temper your goals and expectations. It may take a while before your new business is successful, which is why managing your expectations is important.

Many career coaches will have experience starting a business while working their normal job. They will be able to help you learn from their mistakes and develop a successful plan for starting your business without letting your venture affect your current position.

See your instant resume report on Indeed
Get recommendations for your resume in minutes

How to find a career coach

If you’re interested in getting help from a career coach, there are some tips to keep in mind to find the professional who will meet your needs:

1. Networking

Consider sharing your need for a career coach on a professional networking site or talk to your past colleagues and coworkers. This search may yield professionals in your network who have worked with a career coach and succeeded.

2. Reach out to alumni resources

Contacting colleges in your area can also be a good way to find a career coach or counselor. Many colleges offer career coaching to alumni and graduating students, which means they may be able to provide you with a referral.

3. Search certifying boards

You can perform a search through the National Board of Certified Counselors. Although you don’t necessarily need to work with a certified coach, career coach certification does mean that a person has received training and is accountable to a certification board.

4. Check their references

Once you have identified a few coaches you may want to work with, you should check their references. Request three references from each coach you are considering to make sure the person you hire has the experience and skills necessary to help you with your career situation.

Is this article helpful?
Explore your next job opportunity on IndeedFind jobs
Indeed Career Services
Resume Services
Get your resume reviewed or rewritten
Upgrade your resume
Interview Practice
Practice interviewing with an expert career coach
Book a session
Indeed Resume
Get noticed by employers
Upload a resume file
Salary Calculator
See your personalized pay range
Get your estimate
Resume Samples
Kick start your search with templates
Browse resume samples
Company Reviews
Access millions of company reviews
Find companies

Explore more articles

  • How to Write an Employee Evaluation in 6 Steps (With Example)
  • 8 Career Goals in Health Care Administration (With Tips)
  • Guide to 9 Types of Fiction: Genre Definitions and Examples
  • Conceptual Skills: Definition, Types and Examples
  • 7 SQL Server Certifications to Boost Your Resume
  • Leadership Philosophy Examples to Help You Write Your Own
  • Excel String Functions and How To Use Them (Plus Tips)
  • 8 Common Leadership Styles (Plus How To Find Your Own)
  • How To Define Team Roles and Responsibilities in 4 Steps
  • 7 Examples of Career Goals for College Students
  • How To Become a Navy SEAL Step by Step
  • How To Convince Someone in 6 Steps