Maybe you have a clearly defined career path and are making steady progress toward your goal. That's great! But if you're struggling, that's okay too. It's normal to encounter some "bumps in the road," but you don't have to go it alone. If you find yourself needing a little help, guidance, or objective feedback on your career aspirations, you might consider enlisting the services of a career coach. But what about the cost? While the services of a career coach aren’t free, it might be worth the investment. There are, however, a few things you need to think about before making the commitment of time and money with a career coach.
In this article, we’ll discuss what’s involved with the cost of hiring a career coach, including:
What is a career coach?
How much should I spend on a career coach?
Is it worth it to pay for a career coach?
What should be included in a coaching package?
What is a career coach?
If you've never worked with one before, you might have a mental image of a person with a baseball cap and whistle, wearing a three-piece suit and cheering you on from the employee parking lot. But of course, that's not what a career coach is. A career coach is someone who works with you to identify and define your career goals and values. They can also help you develop your networking, interviewing, and resume-writing skills, along with building your confidence, keeping up your motivation, and holding you accountable during the job hunting process. On top of all that, utilizing a good career coach can even give you an edge, helping you to create a “professional brand” to stand out from the crowd.
Why do people seek out the services of a career coach? According to the 2022 ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study, the top three reasons are:
To improve communications skills (37 percent)
To develop a “healthy work-life balance” (35 percent)
To build personal confidence (35 percent)
And just like looking for any other professional to work with, career coaches have a wide variety of education, certifications, and experience, so it’s important to do your homework and find the person who’s a good fit for you.
How much does it cost to hire a career coach?
The cost involved in hiring a career coach will vary, depending on the services you require as well as where you are in your career. Career coaches who focus on entry-level job seekers will most likely charge less than executive-level coaches. Also, be aware that there’s no governing body regulating coaching fees, so a career coach is free to charge whatever they feel is appropriate. In general, though, expect to pay around $75 to $150 per hour, although some top-notch coaches can command $250 to $500 per hour.
So, is a career coach worth the money?
Well, it depends. Deciding whether to invest in a career coach is a very personal decision, and you need to take into account both your current financial situation as well as where you are in your career. Some factors that can help you decide whether a career coach is worth the money are:
You're not making any progress in your job search. A career coach is knowledgeable about the hiring process and can help you eliminate any "red flags" on your resume.
You want to make a career change. A career coach can help you figure out what it is that you want to do, determine if it’s realistic given your current circumstances, and help you create a game plan.
You fall apart during interviews. This kind of ”stage fright” is nothing to be ashamed of, but it can definitely hold you back. A career coach can hone your interview skills and help you develop strategies to deal with any potential interview situations you might encounter.
You have no idea how to network. If this is a tough area for you, a career coach can help you figure out how to best leverage your connections and get your name out there.
You just simply have no idea what you’re doing. A career coach can provide the tools you need to help you stop spinning your wheels.
The bottom line is that struggling on your own for too long is not supportive of either your career or your well-being. It may be worth it to get help.
What is included in a coaching package?
What you receive as part of a coaching package really depends on what you’re looking for — your coaching sessions should be customized, and you shouldn’t pay for anything you don’t need. Work with your coach to figure out what services you require, which might include:
Identifying your career obstacles
Building a professional social media presence
Printed learning materials
Job search strategies/techniques
Defining career goals
Email support between sessions
Don’t sign up with just anybody
According to Nick Corcodilos, aka “Ask The Headhunter,” you should be wary of career coaches who demand their fees upfront: “Pay as you go, or don’t do it. If the coach is good and you are happy with the progress, you are free to continue—just as you would with a therapist. This guarantees a stop-loss mechanism. If you find you’re not satisfied, you can terminate the relationship at any time without any further losses.”
Sure, hiring a career coach means spending some money—sometimes a lot of money. But you may find it worth the investment if it helps your career progress, which will provide returns many times over. Remember to shop around and find a career coach that aligns with your goals, personality, and budget.
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A career coach is someone who works with you to identify and define your career goals.
In general, expect to pay around $75 to $150 per hour for a career coach, although some high-end coaches can command $250 to $500 per hour.
Deciding if a career coach is worth the money depends on your current financial situation as well as where you are in your career and your overall goals.