Is a paid career coach worth the money?

Reader Question: I’m unhappy with my current career progress. Is a paid coach worth the money?

Reader Question: I’m unhappy with my current career progress. Is a paid coach worth the money?

First, thank you for your email. To your question, yes, a paid coach can be well worth the money. The trick is finding the right coach and being willing to do the suggested work. As they say, a plan without the effort of execution is simply a dream.

Your first step in finding the right coach is understanding that there are different types of paid and unpaid coaching. All types of coaches can provide great value. The trick is finding a coach that can meet your needs.

Career coaching generally falls into two categories, tactical and strategic.

Tactical career coaches specialize in the mechanics of helping their clients find new jobs. They help you update your resume, find job openings, learn interviewing techniques, widen your view of potential career directions and other similar tasks. In effect, their specific role is to help you find new employment.

Strategic career coaches primarily concentrate on providing long-term career advice. They often work with people who are currently employed, but would like help and guidance on how to navigate their careers forward, potentially over many years.

Executive coaches also provide career advice to their clients, but have the expanded role of helping their clients make business decisions, navigate corporate politics, and overcome work-related challenges related to their current jobs role.

Life coaches are similar to executive coaches, the difference is instead of helping you navigate your career, they help you navigate your life in general, which may or may not include career related issues.

All the coaching types previously discussed work one-on-one with their clients, are paid and are relatively easy to find because, like other professionals, they market their services. Your goal should be to find a coach you your comfortable speaking with, can provide you quality advice, and is within your budget. Like most professions, the price range for coaches varies widely based on the constituency they serve, their coaching specialty, their time and success as a professional coach, and other personal and professional factors. Take note that, like in most professional services, price does not always directly correlate to quality.

Mentoring, which I consider a very different category of career assistance, is not paid and does not require professional training as a coach. It’s the voice of experience, rather than employing the use of learned techniques and best coaching practices. Generally speaking, the mentor selects you, you don’t select the mentor. You can certainly help facilitate being found, which will be the topic of next week’s blog post.

In closing, I would like to expand on what I had said at the beginning of this blog. Finding the right coach can be of great value to your career. Depending on your specific needs, they can help you find new employment, navigate your future career, gain insights on how to deal effectively with work related issues and/or navigate general life-related issues.

Regarding price, based on your personal financial condition, certainly the cost must be considered. That said, don’t consider their fee to be an expense, consider it an investment in your career, your life and your future. Finding the right coach can be of enormous personal and professional value if you take it seriously and are willing to do the work that your coach suggests.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom or @MgrMechanics or at

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to build your professional brand.

This story, "Is a paid career coach worth the money?" was originally published by ITworld.


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