What are the most important steps to becoming a career coach?
From prioritizing self-awareness to developing your professional skills, here are nine answers to the question, “What are the most important steps to becoming a career coach?”
- Cultivate Self-Awareness
- Test the Waters
- Gain Confidence
- Build Experience
- Get Clear On Your Niche
- Set up a Credible, Powerful LinkedIn Profile
- Realize Your Experience Can Ease Suffering
- Align Your Credentials
- Maintain Continuous Professional Development
To be a great career coach, you must have done the work to reflect on and integrate your own career journey. Often, we can serve our clients best when we can approach their challenges with the self-awareness and growth we experienced from our own challenges on our career journey.
Being able to empathize, challenge, and motivate our clients to navigate bumpy career terrain occurs most authentically when we have fully processed our own. I also firmly believe our own experiences help shape the way we approach our coaching, and the posture we bring with us to our client engagements.
As a woman of color, when I coach other women of color, there is a shared experience that helps me unveil or bring light to issues that may be hidden from another coach who is not a woman of color, which helps me serve that client at a deeper level. The deeper our level of self-awareness, especially as it relates to our experiences in our careers, the more capacity we can bring as a coach.
Test the Waters
I think one important step to consider that encompasses duality is volunteering your time to help others with career transitions.
Engaging this way provides valuable experiential learning that will determine your level of interest in the field. If you find yourself still interested in becoming a career coach post-experiment, you would’ve gained insights that can help you in your career journey.
If your goal is to become a career coach, one thing to keep in mind is to gain experience. Gaining experience working with clients will help you not only gain more confidence, but it will help you sharpen your skills as a coach.
Your clients may come from various industries and fields and may ask an array of questions that may feel like a curveball. However, trust me—you got this! To get experience, I would recommend doing at least two practice coaching sessions with friends to feel more comfortable coaching and putting your skills to the test prior to working with your first client.
Over the past few years, there has been an influx of career coaches; mainly because of the height of the pandemic. Before becoming a career coach, ask yourself, do you have the experience and passion to help others on their career journey?
Outside of monetary increase, is this your passion? I found in career coaching you can’t help everyone. You must understand if you want to focus on B2B or B2C and what level of experience you want to help. Your current and past experience; good or bad good is helpful to share with the next generation of leaders you want to coach.
Get Clear on Your Niche
There is a myriad of career coaches out there, and the ones that succeed are those who are clear about their niche and know exactly who they help.
The clearer that you can get in your own head, the clearer this will translate into your marketing. You don’t have to be everything to everybody. In fact, this will lead to confusion for you and any potential client. It is more powerful to be one thing to one person at any one time.
So, take a moment to consider who you help, is it recent graduates, women returning to the workplace after a period of maternity leave, middle managers who are ready to take the next step up in their career, or those who are going through redundancy for the first time?
It doesn’t matter what your niche is, just pick one!
Set up a Credible, Powerful LinkedIn Profile
When you can set a LinkedIn profile up effectively, this will help build your personal brand and be seen as the expert to go to.Key actionable steps to start:
- Ensure you have a great headline, photo, and banner that speaks to your targeted audience.
- Add value to LinkedIn through your content.
- Build a pipeline of testimonials to your LinkedIn. This adds huge credibility to your business.
Realize Your Experience Can Ease Suffering
When you realize you have a wealth of experience to share and your understanding of the subject can address the pain point of others, and you have a passion for helping others succeed and stay relevant. Then you share your experience and arrive at the secret recipe that eases suffering for others in the workplace. Voila, you are ready to be a Career Coach.
Align Your Credentials
A successful career coach employs a combination of unique skills that can be gained through targeted education and/or certification.
Some options include Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Organizational Development, life coaching, strengths coaching, or SHRM training. Choose the option(s) that are the best fit for your background and experience.
Maintain Continuous Professional Development
One vital step in becoming a career coach is to always be learning and honing your coaching prowess through ongoing professional development.
Joining professional organizations, such as Career Thought Leaders (CTL), the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PARWCC), and Career Directors International (CDI), is a smart step. These groups have robust programming and many opportunities to stay on top of trends and best practices.
Subscribing to multiple, reputable career blogs is another way to keep informed and vet best-of information. Network with other career professionals to share ideas and discover complementary skills or niches so you can make solid referrals when a client isn’t the right fit.
By taking advantage of these resources and practices, you’ll add the highest amount of value to your clients.
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