7 Tips To Make The Most Of Working With A Career Coach

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7 Tips To Make The Most Of Working With A Career CoachIf the events of 2020 have you rethinking your career path, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world are facing job insecurity and many are taking these events as a sign that it’s time for a change. If you relate to this, you might consider working with a career coach to help you figure things out.

Working with a career coach can help you navigate the complicated and often complex process of changing your career. Here are seven practical tips for working with a career coach to get the results you need.

Set Goals and Clarify Needs

Before you reach out to a professional for support, you need to spend some time with yourself. Set aside time without distractions to dive into your wants, needs, goals, and fears. While doing so, consider your accomplishments thus far, the things that have served you, and what you want to happen next.

While you’re conducting this self-exploration, determine why you want a career coach and what, in particular, you need help with. You may determine that you need someone to guide you every step of the way and choose a reputable service to help you create a resume and LinkedIn profile. 

Understanding your goals and needs will help you find the right service for your unique situation.

Find the Right Fit

Finding the right fit with a career coach is essential. Ideally, you’ll find someone who specializes in your niche and has proven experience in helping people like you achieve their goals. Look at online reviews, certifications, and social media proof to determine which career coach is right for you.

It’s important to note that finding the right fit is about more than experience and expertise—you want someone you’re comfortable with. When vetting a career coach, look at their content and mission to determine whether their values are in alignment with your own.

If in doubt, schedule a consultation call with a few coaches to ask questions about their approach and how the process works. Many career coaches and services will offer a discovery call for this purpose. After meeting with them, you can decide who is right for you.

Ask Lots of Questions

There’s no such thing as a stupid question when working with a career coach.

Whether you are just starting or are months into the experience, you should ask any and all questions on your mind. Some critical questions to ask a career coach when you’re trying to find the right fit include:

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  • How many people have you coached?
  • What are some of the goals and challenges you’ve helped clients with?
  • What’s your coaching philosophy?
  • What metrics do you use for success?
  • What tools and systems will you use to support your work?
  • Will you challenge my goals if you think they’re not a good fit?

Don’t hesitate to ask challenging questions to see how your potential coach handles difficult conversations!

Commit to the Work

A career coach acts as your navigator and valuable resource as you strive toward your goals. However, you’re the one responsible for getting the work done. A skilled coach can outline a step-by-step process to success, but you’ll never move forward if you don’t act on them.

Commit to doing the work and ensuring that you’re completing the work your coach assigns to you. While having the right coach is important, having the right attitude is everything.

Two people in Black Sitting at a desk with notebooks

Be Honest and Open

Communication is important when working with a career coach. Growth isn’t meant to be comfortable; it’s about pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone that will get you the results you want.

Be honest and open with your coach. Sometimes that means being transparent about your challenges, concerns, and shortcomings, even if it feels uncomfortable to admit them. 

A skilled coach will help you explore your challenges and be honest with yourself by diving in and asking the right questions. It’s up to you to push yourself to answer authentically and seek clarification.

Prepare for Each Session

Prepare for each session like you would an important business meeting. Review your homework from your previous session and write down any questions or concerns you have. Note any high priority issues that you’d like to cover while you have your coach’s attention. Also, be prepared to share any wins since your last meeting.

Put together any paperwork or documentation you might require to make the most of your session. For example, if you’re working on your resume, it’s important to have a list of your previous work placements and the relevant dates. If you’re developing a business plan, have your notes, ideas, and questions at the ready.

Understand the Limitations

It’s essential to manage your expectations when working with a coach. While they can help you identify and outline action steps toward your goal, there are endless variables that could limit your success. 

For example, if you want a job with Google but lack the skills required to achieve the job, a career coach can’t solve that problem. However, they can help you reverse engineer that goal and make an action plan to get the skills and experience you need as stepping stones toward your long-term goal.

When searching for a new job on a platform such as ZipRecruiter, be sure to pay close attention to the job description, desired skills, and required experience. Then, your career coach can help you figure out what steps you need to take to become the ideal candidate for that position.


Working with a career coaching service can help you plan and stay accountable as you pursue new endeavors. Take your time to understand your goals and to find the right service to help you achieve them. But remember, they are not the end-all, be-all of achieving your career goals. You have to do the work yourself.


7 Tips To Make The Most Of Working With A Career Coach

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