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The New Business Of Career Coaching
Wendy S. Enelow, CPRW, JCTC

This article will be pertinent to you if:

  • You are at a crossroads with your career and want to know more about the field of career coaching and its potential value to you.


  • You are a career counselor, resume writer, recruiter, outplacement consultant, human resource professional or staffing specialist, and have considered adding career coaching to your existing services and programs.

Let's begin our discussion with employment in general. As the job market and virtually every industry have transformed themselves over the past decade, so has the job search industry. Many have struggled with downsizings, reorganizations, mergers, acquisitions and a host of other company transitions. Job search, on the other hand, has experienced a period of tremendous growth and expansion to meet market demand. Once thought of as a cottage industry, job search is now a multi-billion dollar industry.

As a direct result of the growth trend, numerous new career paths have developed for the job search professional. In addition to the more "traditional" jobs of resume writer, career counselor, outplacement associate, direct mail provider and testing specialist, there have emerged several new job categories. One that has received tremendous press and attention over the past two years is that of the Career Coach (also referred to as a Career Strategist).

You may ask yourself, "What exactly is a Career Coach? What do they do? What do they cost? Can they be of value to me in my job search? Do I need one?" Let's explore that concept.

A Career Coach should be thought of as your job search partner. He/she is there to (1) help you explore and better define your professional competencies, (2) address personal issues impacting your career, (3) clearly identify your career objectives, (4) discuss and resolve obstacles to employment and career success, (5) guide you in developing both short-term and long-range career strategies, (6) assist you in developing, executing and managing a successful job search campaign, and (7) prepare you to competitively interview, negotiate compensation and evaluate offers. In addition, many coaches offer services beyond the immediate job search and are available to support you throughout your career with ongoing guidance and support for long-term career planning, management and advancement.

As Career Coaching has evolved as its own profession within the job search industry, it has also begun to diverge into two different and distinct directions. I refer to one as the Career Management Coach and the other as the Career Marketing Coach. There is a clear distinction.

The Career Management Coach focuses on broad issues related to your entire career - the past, the present and the future. This type of coach is much more in line with the above definition. The support is long-term and comprehensive, often focusing on personal and introspective issues. A prime candidate for a Career Management Coach would be an individual who, for whatever reason, wants to change his/her career direction and is now uncertain about his/her objectives. They need to explore, discuss and evaluate their value, their skills and where they want to be in their careers. Other excellent candidates are those that need a great deal of ongoing support, whether during their job search or while in a position. They want a confidante, advisor and career strategist at their side. Just as individuals have PR executives, public speaking coaches and others on their "personal" support team, the Career Management Coach has now emerged as part of that inner circle.

On the other hand, the Career Marketing Coach offers short-term services and support to guide you in developing, implementing and managing an immediate job search campaign. This type of coaching focuses on defining your objectives (e.g., type of position, type of industry, geographic preferences, salary requirements, quality of life issues) and then developing a step-by-step job search action plan - an Integrated Career Marketing Plan. In essence, these individuals will help you in evaluating the various types of job search programs (e.g., targeted mailings, Internet resume postings, Internet job lead postings, executive job lead reports, sponsor letters campaigns, network campaigns) to identify those that are appropriate for your search and your objectives. Many will then also assist you in contacting these services and facilitating their use.

This type of coaching is best for those individuals who already "know who they are" professionally and what type(s) of position they are interested in (e.g., CFO seeking to remain in finance and/or advance to general management … Senior HR Executive seeking top-level HR position with a larger company … Marketing Consultant seeking to return to corporate marketing position …Manufacturing Manager seeking to transition from aerospace electronics to telecommunications). The goals do not have to be a similar position, but the job seeker who hires the Career Marketing Coach must be reasonably clear about what type of position he/she is interested in pursuing.

A Career Coach - whether in career marketing or career management - can be an invaluable resource in today's competitive, constantly changing and often difficult market. FYI - Most coaches bill by the hour with rates ranging from $50 to $250 with the average between $100 to $150 per hour. Shop wisely as you would for any other service or product you are considering purchasing. As with any other industry, there are Career Coaches that are well-qualified and provide a consistently superior service; there are others that have simply jumped on the bandwagon to make a buck. Be a smart consumer and a successful job seeker.

Wendy Enelow is President of the Career Masters Institute (Internet-based professional association for career coaches, counselors, resume writers, recruiters, outplacement consultants, human resource professionals, college/university placement personnel and others in the careers/employment industry). She is a Certified Job & Career Transition Coach and Certified Professional Resume Writer. Ms. Enelow is the author of five books on executive job search ($100,000+ Series published by Impact Publications), a national speaker on career marketing, and a frequent contributor to national job search periodicals. She can be reached by email at

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