Heard about life coaching? Well, career coaching is an even better and more fulfilling profession. Career coaches change their clients’ lives while making great money in the process.
Who would not want that? What stops a lot of people from becoming career coaching experts is a false assumption that it takes too much time and effort to get into the profession. In reality, with the right interpersonal skills and knowledge, two months is enough.
A popular misconception is that the only thing a career coach does is help college students decide what to do with their lives after graduation. Once students no longer have to worry about assignments and grades or wonder, “who is going to write my papers for me?” they need guidance to enter the job market. Sure, a career coach can focus on this, but it is not common. Most career coaches do not limit themselves to students and recent graduates.
In fact, anyone at any stage of their career can need a career coaching expert. A career coach helps people set the right goals, transition to the new career path, and acquire the necessary hard and soft skills for their further career development. Whenever someone feels stuck or confused about their career, a career coach is their place to go.
Career coaches are irreplaceable for successful people in the middle of their careers who do not know if there is any more room for growth. They are also helpful for those who are entering the job market after a prolonged break and need help with understanding the changes. The shortest answer to the question of what a career expert does is, “they help people fulfill their career potential.”
Even though career coaching is by no means a new career path, there is still no official certification required to be a career coach. This is why it is not impossible to become a successful career coaching expert in just two months. What matters much more than certification is:
1. Exceptional listening skills and ability to motivate others. Normally, people who seek help from a career coach have at least some understanding of what they want to do. A career coach needs to be able to listen to their client, notice what the client is missing, and encourage them to pursue their goals. They are both a sounding board and a cheerleader.
2. Deep knowledge of the job market. But one cannot be helpful as a career coaching expert if they do not know how the job market looks, what is in demand, and what lines of work will soon lose their relevance. So no matter how long they are in the profession, career coaches need to keep track of all the trends to be able to guide their clients.
3. A successful career in at least one field. Finally, the best career coach is someone who has built a successful career themselves. There are many career coaches with no specific specialty out there, but the most in-demand ones are those who focus on one specific industry or career path. They use their own experience to coach their clients.
While it is not necessary to have certification, it is still a good idea to get one. If nothing else, career coaching programs teach would-be career coaches how to navigate difficult situations specific to this profession. There are a lot of great certification programs, but here are two of the best ones.
- World Coach Institute. The basic program the World Coach Institute offers is only eight weeks long, but it is more than enough to learn all the basics. It is inexpensive, delivered remotely, and has positive reviews. The overall duration is 48 hours, so it is easy to combine it with one’s current job.
- International Coaching Federation. International Coaching Federation offers a variety of programs for current and future career coaching experts. What is more, it allows career coaches to get accreditation for their entire organization via a three-level educational program. But it is much more expensive and longer (about 260 student contact hours in total) than what the World Coach Institute offers.
- Career Coach Certification Program. The biggest benefit of this program is that it is entirely self-paced. Depending on how much time a learner has, they can complete it in as little as six weeks or as much as 12 months. Basically, they get access to online materials and study them at their own pace before taking an exam. Career Coach Certification Program is inexpensive and has a well-thought-out curriculum.
A career coach has different options when it comes to business models. They can work with clients one-on-one, coach groups, or create online courses. But individual coaching is the best place to start. It is somewhat easier for a beginner and provides the necessary experience to move on to group coaching and courses over time. It is also easier to find clients for one-on-one coaching at first.
The best way for a new career coaching expert to find their first clients is online, on such platforms as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook (but mostly LinkedIn). A great marketing strategy is to offer each potential client a short session for free for them to see if they would like to work with the coach further. Once the coach has at least several regular clients, these clients will spread the word, and the coach’s career will take off in no time.
Career coaching may sound like a complicated profession to master, but it is not. It does not even require official certification (although it is still better to get one). What makes a career coach helpful and, eventually, successful, is outstanding listening and motivation skills, knowledge of the job market, and an established career. As to the certification, some of the best programs are as short as six to eight weeks long.