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What You Can Do With A Career Coaching Certification

You’re considering becoming a certified career coach… but you’re honestly a little unsure of what that will “buy” you. 

Where do career coaches actually work? 

For themselves, full-time or as a side gig

Lots of places. It’s true, many of us have solo practices, and set up an office space like a therapist might, or, increasingly, we might work from home. But career coaches come from everywhere—and they end up everywhere.

Some certified career coaches keep their jobs as programmers, project managers, recruiters or civil engineers (or whatever they might be doing) and take clients for career coaching on the side. This can have so many benefits: giving you exposure to the profession while maintaining the stability of your primary job, doing something you find fun and fulfilling as an antidote to a job you need but don’t love. Whichever the case, your career coaching niche might mirror your primary job: marketing exec who helps marketing professionals find the perfect job for them, or IT worker who specializes in placing cybersecurity experts.

As Employees

Career coaches might work in Talent or HR teams for a specific company, in much the same way as in-house counsel: they are employees of the company who use their specific expertise on the company’s behalf. As an in-house career coach you might be involved in upskilling to help employees climb the management ladder, or training teams to work together more harmoniously. The in-house career coach is likely to be part of the HR organization and might also have other HR responsibilities.  

Others might work for organizations like BetterUp as contractors, or as career counselors for colleges and universities. BetterUp, while it has reduced the amount they’re paying their coaches —  can still be an excellent springboard for many. College career advising services are also a great place to investigate—for some people there is a special excitement around helping people who are totally new to the workforce. 

The value of your career coaching certification when you’re working a full-time job

While having a side hustle is a great move for many people, getting career coaching certification can help you in your current position even if you have no intention of leaving to start a coaching practice. You will almost inevitably find ways to bring your career coach expertise to your existing position, whether that’s in sales or software development, biomedical engineering or fundraising. As you develop a reputation for having an ear to the ground in the job search space, you’ll find at the least that you gain credibility as a mentor, even an expert, in career development. This can be validating. It can also be more: it might earn you a promotion or a pay raise if you can bring your skills to bear on your team’s performance. 

The value of coaching as a side gig

Not everyone has the psychological wiring to deal with a side-hustle, and that’s OK. But if you tolerate (or thrive on) having multiple irons in the fire, there’s a lot to be said for career coaching as a sideline. Side-gig career coaching can augment your skillset and your savings account. It’s low-risk and high-reward.

But, you might be wondering, how feasible is it? What should your expectations be? Is it worth it? 

The answer: it sure can be! If you can dedicate five hours a week to your side gig, you could have a nice client flow, with no particular impact to anything but your Netflix-binging time. Expect to have only one or two clients at a time, though; it becomes a lot after that.

For those who are investigating career coaching out of disgruntlement with your current profession: it can help make your 9-5 more tolerable. Working to help others to get the results they hope for is a massive source of warm fuzzies! You’ll feel so much more connection and agency and competence. This is true even if you don’t migrate your coaching skills into your 9-5 workspace—but, as noted above, you easily could. 

Value of career coaching if you’re already a life coach, wellness coach, financial coach, yoga teacher etc.

Interestingly, there are multiple layers of advantages to this paradigm. First, if you’re a life coach (for instance) you have a significant crossover skill set with a career coach, so you’ll find the certification process easier (and if you’re not certified in your current coaching niche, I have to say, the certification mantle of authority is helpful for your overall credibility). Career coaches have some serious differences from life coaches too, so you will not find the training process duplicative or boring. It will almost invariably make you better at whatever kind of coaching you started out in simply from expanding your coaching toolkit. If you have a client that could benefit from some extra structure, the career coaching process, which is more structured than most other coaching styles, will likely help you better structure your sessions with that client.

But also, I’ve seen coaches migrate most of their wellness coaching client base to career coaching! As it turns out, there is a specific tactical advantage to helping people get through career transitions. Most of us have moments in our working lives where we’d benefit from some kind of career support, and career coaching has a huge and tangible ROI, so clients tend to be very open to it. If they already see you as their stress-management go-to, be assured they will want you to help them manage the stress of landing a new role. 

It starts with certification

Being properly trained and credentialed is the best way to launch a career coaching practice, and it might open some unexpected doors, whether you intend to start a solo practice, work for an organization, or a little of both. Learn more here. 

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