What is a Career Coach? And How Do You Know You Need One?


It’s likely that at some point in your career, you’ll feel stuck.

Your sense of drive and purpose may be diminished. It might be the disheartening reality of retrenchment, or a lack of alignment between the company direction and your values, or just the sheer exhaustion of juggling too many priorities and too much politics.

These ‘stuck’ times are when you most need external support. They’re times when self-doubt can creep in and the very idea of making a change can seem daunting. When it seems hard to find a way forward, you might want to consider a career coach.

What do we mean by a career coach?

Your career coach works with you to help you develop the right career for you.

He or she will take a personalised look at you. You’re a whole person, so an understanding of who you are, your circumstances and what you want out of your job is important. A great career coach will take a holistic approach to give you career advice tailored to you personally.

That includes helping you figure out your career purpose. Recognising the strengths of individuals can help them determine the best career path forward. So you don’t have to settle for a career that’s unsatisfying.

You have unique gifts and strengths. You deserve to feel valued and experience the benefit of a career with purpose and drive.

What is the difference between a life coach and a career coach?

Life coaches offer advice and insight for goals across life, whereas career coaches are focused in particular on your career.

While there is always some overlap across areas of life, a career coach is a specialist in empowering you within your workplace and on your career trajectory.

Are career coaches the same as career counsellors?

A career coach is not a counselor.

A career coach is not a recruitment officer and cannot guarantee you will get a job or ace an interview. Be wary if a career coach says they can guarantee you will get a job.

Are career coaches worth the money?

If you feel as though you are in a rut, or approaching career burn out, a career coach is invaluable. Sometimes, an external perspective is necessary to help you gain clarity and work towards your goals.

On the other hand, if you do nothing and the problem doesn’t go away what will things be like 6 month’s time? How will this have affected your physical and mental health, your relationships and your reputation? What could be the true cost of those things?

If you’ve been recently retrenched you may have initially felt high as a kite about your prospects. Over time that excitement fizzles and you find yourself overwhelmed and unsure of the path forward.

How does career coaching work?

A career coach cannot do the hard work of change for you. You get out what you put in.

Our career coaching service is best suited to executives and managers who have been in the workforce for some time, and are feeling dissatisfied with their current situation.

We use a comprehensive Leadership Personality Profile. This is invaluable for gaining a broader and deeper picture of you, your core motivations and drivers, your well developed competencies and the habitual learned patterns of responding to stress that can become roadblocks to progress – unless you understand and learn to work with them.

How do I know it’s time to use a career coach?

As mentioned above, a key sign is that you’re feeling stuck where you are and unsure how to move on. You might be:

  • wondering if you should stay in your current industry, or try something new
  • feeling as though something is missing in your workplace
  • as if you’re grinding away in your management job and you’re just not sure what the point is.

Or, maybe you thought things were looking up but you’ve suddenly been retrenched. Now you feel deflated and uncertain about your prospects and how to proceed.

A special note for women stuck in their careers

Female executives often experience a feeling that they cannot progress beyond where they are currently.

They face specific challenges in the workplace, plus high external expectations – and so they multi-task and over-stretch in all directions. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and overburdened in your career, it’s time to do something for you.

If this resonates with you, you’ve come to the right place.

You’ll mostly likely want to work with a woman, who not only has experience in leadership within the workplace, but knows how it feels to walk in her clients’ shoes. I’ve been a leader in several organisations as well as a business owner for 18 years. I’ve experienced growth, change and transition in many organisations, both as an employee and as an external consultant supporting organisations.

But this isn’t about me. This is about you. What do you want to achieve from your career? What is your purpose in life and how does your career truly support this?

I’d love to help you find out, then take action to turn that purpose into reality.

If you’re interested, let’s set a time to talk.

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High impact conversations that transform people and companies. Sue loves working with leaders on a mission, to untap their full potential. Her specialties include entrepreneurship, leadership, integration, transformation, and growth.


Phone: (02) 8860 6540
Level 5, 4 Columbia Court,
Baulkham Hills 2153 Sydney, Australia