Career coaching is not enough

mm Bill Pace

There are a lot of career coaches out there. In fact, there are over 15,000 certified career coaches in the United States. The vast majority work in private practices serving individuals. Most are pretty expensive, typically charging between $150-250 per hour for their services. Some are well-trained, highly experienced, and capable. Some are not.

Because there is no rating and referral service for career coaches in widespread use, it can be amazingly difficult to find and assess a career coach who is a good match for you. Hence, a lot of people we talk to say that their experiences with career coaches have been less than stellar.

But even if you find a good career coach for you, the experience is likely to be adequate, but not sufficient. What do I mean by that? Adequate as a short-term solution, but rarely sufficient over the longer haul.

On account of the expense involved, hiring a career coach tends to be episodic. You need some help with a particular career-related challenge. You hire a career coach. They work with you for 5 to 10 hours of time spread out over a 4 to 8 week period (typically). And then – ta-dah! – you’re done. Hopefully, they have helped you address your particular point-in-time challenge.

While this process may be productive for you, the positive effects tend to be short-lived. You probably haven’t really made much progress in learning how to manage a productive and rewarding career over time. As an analogy, if you want to get and stay physically fit, you can’t just work with a trainer for a month or two and then move on. You need to keep using what the trainer taught you to continue with some level of regular workouts, and maybe even have occasional check-ins with your trainer to keep you on track.

At Clearly Next, we believe that managing your career is similar to managing your personal fitness. You need to learn and use the key skills for continually making and keeping a “fit” career.

Bill Pace is Managing Director of ClearlyNext, a guided online career program that helps people of all backgrounds and incomes figure out what to do next. Read more >