If you are passionate about helping others and want to share your professional knowledge with the world, you may want to consider learning how to become a career coach.
In the last two years, the global coaching industry has grown and evolved to meet the needs of a post-pandemic workforce. Now more than ever, people are reassessing their work and seeking guidance on how to find a more fulfilling career, not just better wages.
In this article, we’ll review the basics of becoming a career coach and give you the tools you need to land your first coaching client.
Table of contents
- What is a career coach?
- What does a career coach do?
- What skills do you need?
- How to become a career coach
- How do you get career coaching clients?
- How much money can you make as a career coach?
What is a career coach?
A career coach is an expert in career planning and professional development. As a career coach, you’ll work closely with individuals at every stage of their career journey—whether they’re starting a new job search, looking to land a promotion, or exploring a big career change.
Career coaches can choose to specialize in a specific industry or work more generally in the hiring and recruiting space. Ultimately, the goal of any career coach is to help people maximize their personal and professional potential.
What does a career coach do?
Depending on your experience and expertise, you can choose to offer a range of career-related services. Career coaches help with a variety of tasks, including:
- Providing feedback on resumes, cover letters, or LinkedIn profile pages
- Helping clients prepare for interviews or salary negotiations
- Evaluating career options based on a client’s skills and experience
- Helping clients map out short-term and long-term career goals
- Creating roadmaps for achieving career goals
- Helping clients acquire and practice career-advancing skills
- Offering guidance to help clients overcome obstacles or roadblocks
- Motivating and inspiring clients to reach their highest potential
What skills does a career coach need?
Although you don’t need any certifications to become a career coach, you’ll need to have or acquire specific professional and interpersonal skills to succeed. These skills can include:
- Communication skills – You’ll need to listen carefully, ask the right questions, and extract key information from your clients. Then, you’ll need to consolidate and communicate your findings efficiently and professionally.
- Analytical skills – You’ll need to collect and analyze information to create a personalized vision or roadmap for your client’s career journey. Analytical skills and strategic thinking will be vital to your coaching success.
- Administrative skills – Running a business isn’t easy. To grow and scale your business, you’ll need essential administrative skills like organization, calendar management, time management, and excellent customer service.
- Empathy – Above all, you need to meet your clients where they are. Great coaches can easily understand the feelings and needs of their clients and adjust their coaching approach accordingly.
How to become a career coach
Ready to kickstart your coaching business? Below you’ll find 11 tips to help you hone your niche and start creating your coaching services with ease.
1. Define your niche
Career coaching can be incredibly broad, and there’s a good deal of competition. Defining your niche can help you find the right type of clients for your skills and experience. A well-defined niche can help you gain credibility and establish a more focused business.
Start by determining “who” you want to work with—individuals or companies.
Do you want to help college graduates launch their job search and find their dream careers?
Perhaps, you want to help creative entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Would you rather assist stay-at-home moms to re-enter the workforce?
Focus on finding a target audience in an area where you are both knowledgeable and passionate.
Next, determine what your target audience needs. Research your audience’s pain points. What problems are they facing? What are their needs, career goals, and frustrations?
Figure out how you can relate to their struggles and how your business will help them achieve their desired results.
Once you’ve defined your target audience, use this research to guide your messaging and coaching approach.
2. Leverage your experience
Anybody can be a career coach, but you’ll find it easier to attract clients when you have relevant experience. As you define your target audience, outline your coaching skills or other relevant professional work. You can do this by answering the following questions:
- Have you worked in recruitment, human resources, or career counseling before?
- If not, have you worked at recognizable companies like Amazon, Salesforce, Google, and so on?
- Have you achieved career milestones that others in your industry might want to know more about?
These milestones can be especially useful. Clients may want to learn from you about how you landed your previous jobs or advanced in your chosen field.
Regardless of your background, a successful career before starting a coaching business is an asset, especially if you’d like to coach people in a similar industry.
3. Outline your coaching approach
Like creating a course curriculum, take some time to think about your coaching approach. More specifically, how will you help your clients through coaching? And what tools or methods will you use?
Your clients will want to know what to expect when signing up for your services, so outlining your coaching approach will help you get organized and plan.
- What will your first session look like?
- What information do you need from your clients to help them achieve their goals? How will you go about getting that information?
- Will you provide clients with activities or templates (resumes, cover letters, career path roadmaps, etc.)?
- What tools or resources will you need to deliver results?
Use the data you’ve gathered from your niche strategy to help guide this process. Start by creating a simple one-on-one package that caters to your target audience’s needs. Remember, you want to serve your clients well and provide a sustainable source of income for your business.
4. Decide on your format
Start by determining how you will deliver your coaching services.
- Will you meet in person, virtually, or both?
- If you plan to take a hybrid approach, where will you meet in person? If you need to rent out a space, how much will it cost?
- For virtual meetings, what application(s) do you need to host your sessions?
Don’t be afraid to ask your current or ideal clients how they’d prefer to receive coaching. For the most part, people like the convenience and flexibility of remote coaching.
In addition to one-on-one coaching, many coaches offer other coaching formats like group coaching programs, courses, cohort-based learning, and more.
These formats are an excellent way to scale your business and reduce the number of hours spent doing face-to-face client work. Although career coaching requires a more customized approach to each session or client, you may consider integrating a more generalized curriculum later.
5. Choose your coaching platform
As you grow your business, you’ll need a tool that helps you streamline your processes and provide a personalized experience for each client. You’ll want to choose the right coaching platform for you, and usually, that means choosing one that will scale alongside your business.
There are hundreds of platforms and tools available to support your coaching business. Start by examining your coaching format and ask yourself what tools you’ll need to deliver high-quality results.
Ultimately, you want a select a platform that is:
- Easy to set up and use
- Scalable as your business grows and changes
- Suitable for your coaching niche
With Teachable coaching, you can create, promote, and manage your coaching business in one place. It can be used as a stand-alone product or as a powerful companion to other coaching formats like online courses or memberships.
With Teachable coaching, you can:
- Design sales pages to promote your offerings
- Build an intake flow for prospective clients
- Schedule meetings and set up video calls
- Send messages and files to clients
- Create project milestones such as assignments, calendars, and meetings
Best of all, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or eliminate software you already use and love. Teachable seamlessly integrates with tools like Calendly, Zoom, Zapier, and more.
6. Build your website
You’ll need a place where customers can learn more about you and what you offer. Your website is also an opportunity to present your value to potential customers. It should help them visualize how your services can address their pain points.
Remember, this is often the first interaction potential customers have with your business. Take your time to design a well-thought-out site that is easy to navigate. Focus on keeping the messaging consistent with your target audience’s wants and needs.
At a minimum, your website should include the following pages:
- About page – introduce you, your mission, and your values
- Services page – describe your offer and coaching format
- Contact page – explain how to get in touch and start the process
If you choose to use Teachable as your coaching platform, you can easily connect the platform to your existing website using a subdomain or custom domain name.
7. Hone your coaching sales page copy and design
You can be the best career coach in the world, but if no one knows what you do, your business won’t succeed.
To grow your business, you’ll need a sales and marketing strategy—starting with your coaching sales page. Your coaching sales page is where potential clients learn more about your offer. You will need strong sales copy and attractive design to convert potential clients to paying clients.
Use the information you gathered in your target audience research to write the copy. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What matters most to them?
- What value do you provide?
- What makes your offer unique?
- What outcomes or results can they expect?
On your sales page, you’ll also want to include:
- How many sessions do they get?
- How will you meet? And, how often?
- What does it cost?
- How can they sign-up or learn more?
Consider testing several sales page variations to determine which content resonates and converts best.
8. Create career-focused content
Getting clients early on can be challenging, but luckily there are several ways to market your online coaching services organically. Organic marketing is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to grow.
For example, you can start by creating high-quality SEO-optimized content. This content can include blog posts or resources. Be sure to build specific search keywords into the content to drive search engine traffic to your site.
The career coaching space also lends to interactive content like templates, mini-courses, frameworks, roadmaps, quizzes, and more. Consider creating a lead magnet that solves a problem and delivers career-focused value. This strategy can help you collect new leads and warm up your target audience with high perceived value content.
9. Show off your resume and cover letter skills
Now, not all career coaches need to offer resume services. However, many people in the market for a career coach are also looking for guidance on preparing for a new job or career transition. Both of those needs usually come with resume and cover letter expectations.
If you have strong writing and grammar skills, consider adding a cover letter and resume writing package to your coaching services. These can include:
- Crafting a new resume based on a client’s experience and job prospects
- Updating an existing resume or tailoring it to a specific job
- Creating professional cover letters
10. Choose one social channel and start testing
Social media is an excellent way to spread the word about your business, expand your reach, and drive traffic to your site. It is also an opportunity to engage with your target audience and learn more about their needs.
Use social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok to post career advice, ask questions, and share stories.
Choose one platform to focus on and start posting consistently. Be sure to include a call to action like “book a discovery call” in your bio to encourage people to engage with you off the platform.
11. Explore a coaching certification
There is no required career coach certification or degree to become a career coach. You don’t need a certificate to start coaching if you have the proper knowledge, skills, and experience. We have coaches who sign up for Teachable and start coaching in as little as a few days to weeks.
However, if you want to pursue training to expand your skill set or build your credibility, you can pursue one of many coaching certification programs.
Instead of choosing a general career coaching program, look for certifications specific to your niche.
For example, do you coach a particular industry? Do you focus on helping clients build their leadership skills? If you choose to get certified, look for programs that align with your goals and audience.
How do you get clients as a career coach?
You’ve defined your niche, outlined your coaching offer, and built a well-designed website. Now you may be wondering how to get coaching clients.
Establishing yourself as a thought leader can take time. Use these strategies to secure new coaching clients without breaking the bank.
- Tap your existing network and see if anyone is looking for career advice
- Create a solid inquiry workflow with engaging follow-up emails
- Test your sales page copy and adjust as needed
- Offer free discovery calls to learn more about your target audience
- Try guest blogging on established career websites
Use the first few months of your coaching career to learn more about your audience and how you can improve your coaching experience.
How much money can you make as a career coach?
A common question we hear from Teachable community members is how to price coaching services. The amount of money you can make as a career coach varies based on your clientele, industry, and experience. Although pricing is unique to the individual, you can use these strategies to price your coaching services effectively.
- How much time have you spent working within a specific industry or refining your craft?
- How much time will you spend on each client project or package? Does that account for check-ins, building assignments, doing research, etc.?
- What are the operational costs of running your business?
- How much would you charge for one hour of your time?
Once you’ve identified the answers to those questions, determine the right pricing structure for your financial goals and needs. Do you prefer to charge by the hour, a monthly retainer, or by package?
Research how other coaches price their services. Set a price for your service and know you can tweak it as you grow.
We’ve reviewed some helpful tips and strategies for how to become a career coach. Now it’s time for you to take the reins and start sharing your knowledge with the world. As you navigate your business journey, remember that building a coaching business takes a lot of time and energy. Take your time and know that Teachable experts are here for you every step of the way. To get started, you can sign up for a free plan and get unlimited coaching.