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Can You Become a Career Coach?

by Kevin Mercadante

With the constrained income and employment opportunities that are available now, some people are wisely turning toward developing multiple income streams as a way of improving their financial situations. One of the very best ways to do this is one that is often overlooked. You can use your current career skills in order to become a career coach in order to help others navigate their way into and through the career that you know so well.

There are several reasons why becoming a career coach could be an outstanding opportunity for you.

Creating a second income – or a new career

Become a Career Coach

Can you become a Career Coach?

Flexibility is an important attribute in any business venture you my take on. Career coaching provides just that kind of flexibility. You can set it up as a side business to generate a second income. Since you already know the basics about the new business—based on your career experience—the learning curve will be short. And since it involves a business that will not be competing directly with your employer, there should be no conflict of interest.

This can be an easy way of creating a much-needed second income to supplement your primary job income. But you don’t have to stop there—there is real potential to turn the venture into a new full-time career.

This will be easier to do if you are in a career that is currently in high demand. That will mean that there will be a lot of new entrants who are looking to either “learn the ropes”, or learn more so that they can advance their careers. If you have been working in your career field for several years, you could be just a person who could help them do that.

Using skills you already have

The beauty of career coaching is that it does not involve learning new skills. You already have all the skills you need, based on the fact that you’re in the career already. You’re simply taking what you know, and teaching it to others who know even less. There’ll be no need on your part to earn an additional degree, or to learn entirely new skills.

There may also be a secondary payoff here too. In order to be an effective career coach, you may find yourself needing to learn even more about your career than you ever have. This can cause your expertise to expand so that prospects in your full-time job also increase.

If you fully embrace it, career coaching can be a double win for you.

Who is your potential market?

We already discussed offering your services to new entrants into your career, or to those who are looking to advance their careers by learning more about it. But there are other potential clients, especially in the current job market.

One area of primary interest are people who are looking to make a career change, and there are no small number of them today. As people are displaced by new technologies and by off shoring of jobs, they often look to move into entirely new careers.

They probably already are aware of the need to obtain the basic credentials to enter the field. But many of them are looking for a way to fast-forward their entry into the field—and that’s where you can enter the picture. You can help them with career strategies that will move them ahead quicker, as well as instructing them on which directions to avoid. As a person who has actually “been there,” you’re in the perfect position to provide that direction.

As a personal example, when I graduated from college with an accounting degree, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and that describes a lot of people at the entry level. Sure I knew what debits and credits were, and I knew how to prepare a basic financial statement. But I was looking to work for CPA firms, and had no idea how important people skills are, nor the ultimate need to satisfy your clients.

You don’t learn those things in college—they only come about by experience. A career coach can point out those less known factors that could give a newbie to the field a strong head start on their career.

How to market yourself as a career coach

In order to market yourself as a career coach, you need to go to the points of career transition – and there plenty of them. You should have the basic marketing tools, such as business cards, an attractive flyer or two, and a dedicated website. But the key to reaching potential clients will be identifying those points of transition.

Make your services available to the following:

  • Recruiting firms, especially those that specialize in your field
  • College career counseling centers
  • The unemployment office
  • The human resources department of a major employer that is having layoffs
  • Networking sites on the web
  • Senior citizens centers – for retirees who may be looking for a second career

These are just a few of the possible centers of influence you can approach to offer career coaching services. You can present a business card, but it will probably be more effective if you have a single page flyer for them to keep handy. You can also ask for their email address, and provide them with a monthly newsletter.

One of the best aspects of contacting the centers is that your marketing budget will essentially be zero. If you can build confidence for one or more of them, you can develop a steady stream of business that will keep the money flowing into your checking account on a regular basis. That will give you the second income—or even eventually, the new career—that you’ve been hoping to find.

Have you ever considered career coaching as a business option?

Photo credit: Matt


Published or updated November 7, 2013.
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