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Perhaps you are recovering after being laid off. Or maybe you’re employed, but your passion and your career don’t match, causing you anxiety and burnout. You may be looking for a promotion but are not making headway in that direction. Or you are recently discharged from the military and need to make a transition into a civilian career.

A relatively new profession whose practitioners are known as “Career Coaches” has become increasingly in demand as people struggle with those and many other career issues. (Sometimes called “Career Counselors”, although that is changing).

What is a Career Coach? Diane Hudson, director of the Certified Professional Career Coach program, says “Career Coaches coach clients and job seekers to determine a client’s value system and motivational factors and then use the results to provide direction and to set and reach goals.” From that point, the Career Coach will provide the client with all the tools he or she needs to move toward his desired career. What a Career Coach does not do is tell the client what to do, or to guarantee a job. The focus is to help a client help himself. The Coach may assist a client to become more familiar with his or her style by a formal assessment tool such as the Myers/Briggs, Strength Finders, etc.

How does a person find a professional Career Coach? Unlike a therapist or other similar profession, there is no license required to call yourself a Career Coach. However, there are at least two governing bodies that certify Coaches. The International Coach Federation is highly respected, although the ICF leans more toward Executive Coaching, which is a subcategory of coaching. Executive Coaching is typically performed at the request of a company, and is usually employed when a high-potential employee is new to a management role or is very valued but struggling with style or political issues. The company or other organization typically pays for the coaching.

This article is more about Career Coaching, although there is overlap in both styles of coaching. The governing body for Career Coaching is the Professional Association of Résumé Writers & Career Coaches (PARW/CC). Training is vigorous and requires the potential coach to perform a coaching exercise for himself, as well as coaching a client. For more information about finding—or becoming—a Career Coach, see the muse home page and the ace home page.

Not all Coaches are certified, and there are many good Coaches who arrived at Coaching through other means, usually by employment in HR. It’s important that you have “chemistry” with your coach, that you genuinely trust and like this person. Interview several by phone, Skype, and/or in person, before you make the final decision.

In summary, if you’re unfulfilled in your current job/career, a Career Coach serves as a “Chief Motivational Officer”, someone to help you on your way to a more fulfilling career. If you are in need of a career focus and/or looking to take your job to the next step, a Career Coach may be able to help.

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