| Works for Me |

“Can Anyone Be a Career Coach?”

It depends on whether you have extra time, are willing to learn additional skills, and are ready to keep learning

  • I’m thinking of becoming a career coach, and I’d love your input. What do you think… is it a good job? Who would be a good fit? Can I find a job as a salaried employee or would I need to be comfortable being self-employed? Would you consider it competition?
  • I’m a recruiter and I’ve been matching up people and jobs for the last five years. I rely on my intuition, interpersonal skills, and résumé reviews to get a sense of which candidate would be a good fit for a job, but I often wonder if there’s a better system I can use. Is this something I can get trained in?
  • I’ve been a teacher for the last 15 years, and for the last five years I’ve been teaching 12th grade. One of my annual projects is helping the girls create their first job résumé, prepare for interviews, and think about what kind of job they want to look for. I’d love to be able to do more to really prepare them to choose the right jobs. Any advice? 
  •  I’m a therapist who mostly works with young adults. One of the biggest challenges they face is figuring out a career path. Recently, I’ve been referring clients to you with great results. 
  •  We’re a non-profit organization that services a very wide range of families struggling with parnassah-related challenges. We’ve been trying to hire someone skilled who can work with the couples who we see have potential, yet have not been matzliach at work. Do you have anyone to recommend? 
  •  I work in an organization that helps people with disabilities find employment. Is there a system we can use to match our clients with jobs they’ll actually enjoy, as opposed to just placing them with any employer who is willing to give them a chance? So many of our clients have so much talent, but it’s so hard to see past their disabilities, and it’s hard for us to really identify what kind of jobs would fit.
Can Anyone Be a Career Coach?

Theoretically, yes. With strong intuition, solid work experience, curiosity about how the world of work works, and a drive to help people, anyone can technically become a career coach. Should you become a career coach? That depends on whether you have extra time, are willing to learn additional skills, and are ready to keep learning, as the workforce today is evolving even faster than AI can churn out a corny poem.

The incredible thing about becoming a career coach nowadays is that you can choose between a salaried job or opening your own practice. There are many non-profits, schools, and businesses that are looking to hire professionals who have the skills to match people to the right jobs. For those who want to specialize in an area they’re familiar with, there’s a need in every niche imaginable. There’s a need for coaches working with men post-kollel, moms returning-to-work, mid-lifers looking for a career switch, soldiers post-discharge, students with learning disabilities, employees who are looking to build freelance careers, people with ADHD… the list is endless.

Ideally, this is something you start on the side, as an add-on to your current position. You may find that this additional skill set creates more value (and generates extra income) in your current position, or you might find you enjoy it so much that you decide to pursue it full time.

A typical day as a career coach (or consultant) generally (though not always; see below) consists of one-on-one meetings with people who are confused about how to choose a career or unhappy in their current career. There are also those who like their career but not their job, those who like their job but not the income it provides, and those who like their income but not their job. Then there are those who like their boss but not their field, and those who like their field but not their boss. And then we have the majority of clients, who simply know they are unhappy but are coming to you to determine why. Your job is simple: Help them discover their natural talents and match that to what they spend their working hours doing.

What’s fascinating about the niche of career coaching is that it has a very specific goal, with very useful tools to achieve results. For those who are well-trained and using proper assessments, there are very straightforward solutions to clarify a person’s natural strengths and save them from years of heartache and stress at a job that’s a mismatch. You do not need to have pre-existing knowledge about every career that exists — there’s an encyclopedia for that. You simply need to know where to look and be open to learning as much as you can on behalf of your clients.

As with any coaching career, there’s no one right way to make a difference. Introverts usually prefer one-on-one sessions, while extroverts are more likely to enjoy leading group sessions and giving workshops. Specialists enjoy choosing one career topic to excel at (careers in tech, for example), while generalists prefer to know just enough about a wide variety of careers. Some prefer a private office (me!), while others choose to work in organizations where they have the opportunity to be in a social environment. You may prefer working with younger people, older people, or maybe no people at all, instead hosting a podcast or show on the topic to teach others more about career options.

A good career coaching certification program will have its own screening process to ensure that only people with the necessary skills and background are accepted. Additionally, just like with any training program that involves guiding clients through major life choices, look for training with an internship phase that includes supervision, direction, and feedback on practice clients before you go out on your own. By the time you complete training, you should be comfortable and confident to charge for your services. Of course, as you work with clients, you’ll gain knowledge and experience and be able to raise your rates accordingly.

While a career is just one part of someone’s life, if it’s not a good match, it spills over to all areas, affecting the person as a spouse, friend, and community member. People who feel like their jobs are a good fit are more likely to advance further in their careers, earn more, and have more ability to give back to the community. There is nothing like holding a mirror up to someone, helping them see their strengths, and showing them a path where they can put their natural talents to work. If that sounds like a career you’d enjoy, the world (and a waiting list of clients) is waiting for you.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 1003)

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