What Is a Career Change Coach? Your Questions Answered

by | Last updated Nov 26, 2023 | Executive Women


What Is a Career Change Coach?



A career change coach helps clients explore their values, interests, skills, and professional personality through coaching, homework, and assessments. This work provides the framework necessary for the client to decide the next steps she needs to take in her career. From there, the coach will help the client with branding, strategy, and an action plan for her next career move. 


A career change coach empowers clients to: 


  • Formulate career goals and architect a path to achieve them
  • Identify career characteristics that align with the client’s values and interests
  • Knowledgeably assess career opportunities
  • Position their skills and experience in a way that is both authentic and advantageous
  • Develop an action plan that advances her towards her unique life and career goals


Career change coaches connect clients to their own inner resourcefulness by asking powerful questions, collaborating on a change management plan, and serving as supportive, encouraging accountability partners. Through time spent in conversation, career change coaches help clients surface and clear out limiting beliefs that restrict a client’s forward motion. 


To some people, change is exciting; to others, it is nerve-wracking. A career change coach is prepared to walk with you through this important life transition no matter what your starting point or perspective on change is.


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Are Career Coaches Worth the Money?


Let’s say you’re a mechanical engineer who designs electric generators for a living. You’re among the best in your field, having built your career around mathematical proficiency, your drive for accuracy, and stellar project management skills. 


Now, you want to build your dream home. Can you figure out how to draw up architectural plans on your own? Won’t your problem-solving skills and mathematical prowess come in handy here? Maybe. 


Will the house that you build feel the way you want it to feel, look the way you want it to look, and achieve that “dream home” vision you have for it? Will it be structurally sound? Will it “wow” you? Probably not. 


To achieve the look, feel, and vision you have in mind, you need to employ a professional- an architect who is skilled at picking up on your vision and delivering you exactly what you want while probably even wow-ing you in the process. 


Painting a closet or changing a flat tire reasonably falls into the DIY bucket. With a few basic skills, you can get the job done. However, with something as critical as the roof over your head or the trajectory of your career, it makes sense to invest in a professional. 


A career coach is skilled at listening to clients and discerning their career North star. Career change coaches do not offer advice (unless asked), but rather, connect their clients with the voices within themselves. Coaches ask questions that the client need to be asked, evoking a churn that brings the emotions and desires that are otherwise tucked deep-down inside  straight up to the surface. The partnership between a coach and a client enables the client to pursue the career path that they are truly seeking rather than staying stuck on the career path they’re on. 


If you are wondering whether a career coach is worth money, think of it this way: how much will it cost you to be in the same place next year as you are right now? A career coach can help you get where you want to go, faster, and that is worth every penny.  

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What Should I Work On with My Career Change Coach?


After you have worked with your coach to surface your values and career aspirations, you will establish a strategy to get from where you are to where you want to be. Your coach will encourage you to take action; the actions you take will yield both insights and results that you will review with your coach. Wash, rinse, repeat. 


A career coach will honor the courageous actions that you take by listening to your feedback. If it’s time to recalibrate the strategy you’ve developed together or alter the pace of your action plan, your coach can help you take a balanced approach to accomplish your goals on a schedule that works for you.


Career coaching clients often seek the following services


  • Networking do’s and don’ts
  • How to optimize LinkedIn to grow your network (or at least clean up an outdated profile)
  • Overcoming the psychological challenges common in career changes and job searches
  • How to effectively research new careers, companies, or people within an industry
  • Marketing packaging and presentation (resume, LinkedIn, cover letter, bio, headshot)
  • Interview preparation, including the development of your career narrative and objective
  • Negotiating your compensation and wellness package


Some people are intimidated by the idea of working with a career change coach. They think they are giving up control or autonomy over their career, but nothing could be further from the truth. A coach is there to witness her client’s transformation – to offer her support as she learns how to walk on new legs. A coach is not there to hold a client’s feet to the fire, but to lovingly remind her client of her client’s goals and collaborate on the best path towards achieving them. 


Lastly, a career coach’s role is to help you strengthen the bond between who you are right now and who you want to be in the future. Your coach will help you reconnect with what you truly care about in your career and life so you can understand yourself again. Once you have gained clarity on what you want from your work, you will work together to confront the mindset and behaviors that are holding you back. 


Working with the right coach brings you closer to yourself, not further away. Working with the right career change coach gets you several steps closer to living your career dreams. 



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