If you’ve been feeling uninspired by your current position or itching to find the job of your dreams, you’re not alone — more than 48 percent of Americans are actively looking for new job opportunities, according to recent Gallup research.
Much of this desire for change, according to the study, has to do with workers not feeling engaged with their work. If you feel like your career is in a rut, it might be time to seek the help of a professional career coach.
Last year, as I was weighing a mix of personal and professional aspirations, I signed up for a 10-month coaching program that featured personalized goal-setting advice and, most importantly, actionable steps for helping me get there. By the end, I had rediscovered the creative work that has since transformed my career, among other goals.
The cost of working with a career coach can vary greatly, but typically ranges from $100 to $150 per session. If you’re hesitant to work with a coach because of the cost, ask if you can pay in installments or join more affordable group coaching sessions, suggests Claire Wasserman, author and founder of Ladies Get Paid, a platform for professional women.
Considering how much time you spend working, investing in some specialized expertise could be worth it both personally and professionally. Here are five times hiring a career coach could help you reach your goals.
YOU NEED GUIDANCE AS YOU CHART YOUR CAREER COURSE
Wasserman says that working with a coach can be particularly powerful in the early stages of your career.
“I would say everybody who graduates college or is at the beginning of their career can probably use some guidance in making sure they’re not following a path that somebody else has dictated to them,” she says.
This involves digging into how your mindset may have been influenced by external sources like your family, school or society at large. Filtering these things out puts you in a better position to follow your own compass and set goals that are aligned with your values.
YOU NEED TO NAVIGATE BIG CAREER MOMENTS
You may want to consider connecting with a career coach when you’re gearing up for big inflection points — like seeking a role change, negotiating compensation or making a career transition. A recent Monster.com survey found that 86 percent of workers feel their careers stalled during the pandemic.
“I’d say to be proactive when you’re beginning to get the itch that you’re not learning or growing enough at your job,” Wasserman says. “Don’t wait until you’re out of your mind and want to quit tomorrow.”
Even if you are ready to give your notice, a career coach can still be worth it. The right one can help you unpack your feelings and channel them into steps that will help you land your next job.
YOU WANT TO CHALLENGE YOUR THINKING
My coach nudged me to reexamine my own self-limiting beliefs. When I told her it was impossible to find high-paying freelance writing work within certain industries, we dove deep into why I felt that way. Then she pushed me to reach out to potential new clients. To my pleasant surprise, I secured several new gigs that paid well.
“They’re going to open your mind and get you to consider things you never would have considered before, either because you haven’t had the exposure or you have a certain voice in your head that you’re listening to,” Wasserman says.
She emphasizes that many career skills are learned. If you’ve told yourself that you’re no good at networking or interviewing isn’t your strong suit, a career coach can help you strengthen these skills.
YOU NEED ACCOUNABILITY
A good coach also helps keep you on track.
“They’re going to give you action steps, and that’s the accountability part,” Wasserman says. “What are you going to do tomorrow? What’s your homework?”
When going it alone, motivation and excitement may feel strong in the beginning — but it’s easy to stall out. That’s where a career coach can make a big difference, helping you turn that excitement into focused action.
YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW TO POSITION YOURSELF IN TODAY’S MARKET
The Gallup research points to record high quit rates, while the National Federation of Independent Business reports 46 percent of small businesses had job openings that couldn’t be filled. Those are signs that the current job market favors employees.
A career coach can help you recognize your leverage and tailor your resume (and interview style) accordingly to make sure you shine. “The power is with the employee now,” Wasserman says. “Even though we were all totally scarred in the last year and a lot of people were let go, there is a labor shortage in a lot of places.”