Looking to move up in your career? A career coach may help you reach your goals.
Career coaching is an action-oriented approach to career development that helps people overcome barriers in their current job or transition to a new one.
An average session with a career coach costs around $100 to $150, according to Indeed, and the rates can increase depending on where you live. One session likely won’t be enough to solve the issues you’re facing, meaning the price tag for such services can quickly add up.
Here’s who these services are best suited for and what you can do if these services don’t fit your budget.
Who’s career coaching for?
Career coaching is appropriate for all stages of your career, especially in today’s job market that’s rapidly changing.
It could be beneficial for high school students who are preparing to graduate and have those career coaching services available in their school.
It is even more fitting for college students who can use their university’s services to improve their application materials and find the best internship or first job.
For general job seekers who have already graduated, career coaching becomes a more expensive type of service, but it could be helpful for those looking to change careers, trying to advance higher, or have been struggling to find a job in their field.
Why do people seek career coaching?
Most people come to career coaches with issues about being stuck, not seeing career prospects, inability to find jobs, or advance in their careers.
“Career coaching approach is very useful for people who are stuck because sometimes, mental health, emotional emotions come into play when we feel stuck,” said Lakeisha Mathews, a career coach and president of the National Career Development Association. “A career coach is someone who's not just going to talk to you about what you're going through, but they're actually going to help you strategize on how to get unstuck.”
People of color, women, and people who don’t come from privileged backgrounds can really benefit from coaching as they are often facing more barriers in their career growth.
“Advancement can be pretty hard for some populations, women still are being paid less, parents have a hard time in the workplace, women of Color still are being paid even less,” Mathews said. “They typically have more barriers to employment that they need to overcome.”
How many sessions would you need?
If you are out of college or school and you are thinking of career coaching, you need to think about how many sessions you may want to calculate the total cost of that service. Keep in mind that, in most cases, one session won’t be enough
“You can deal with one issue, one action in one session, but typically when people come to us, they dump a whole bucket of items that they need,” Mathews said. “If a client comes in [and] they have one thing that they want to work on, you typically can handle that one thing in a session.”
To make sure you’re ready for your session get as many of your application materials ready so you can start working on them with your coach straight away.
Most career coaches have packages and if you think your case might need more than one session this will be a good way to save some money.
What if I can’t afford career coaching?
Career coaching can be an expensive service for people dealing with unemployment or financial hardships, but who really need the guidance. Fortunately, there are some options if you can’t afford a private career coach’s services.
Working with your local workforce development center is a good start. These centers provide job search assistance and, in some cases, can help those with or without a high school diploma, GED, or who transitioning from incarceration.
The centers’ staff workers are trained in specific approaches, which can include career coaching. The centers also offer welfare-to-work programs that provide assistance from the government for those trying to get back to work.
College students who recently graduated can turn to their alma mater for help.
“Recent college grads that have been out of school for three to five years that need to make a move but don't have that disposable income, going back to your college career center and seeing what services they offer is the best thing you can do,” Mathews said.
Read more information and tips in our Career section