Are you wondering about hiring a career coach, but aren’t sure whether it’s right for you? What I’ve found is that – especially when it comes to our professional lives – we really feel like we should be able to manage it alone.

Why is it so difficult to determine when we need help? If you’re anything like me, you probably hesitate to ask for help, even when you suspect you could use it.

I’ve spent my entire career enmeshed with other people’s careers – from the time I was a career counselor/Co-op coordinator working with college students to my years in a corporate recruiting role and as a hiring manager myself. The truth is that no one does it alone. Especially when it comes to building a successful career.

Perhaps you are struggling with your job search, or you are unsure if now is the time to change job or careers. You may have the sense that a career coach might be helpful, but you don’t understand exactly what career coaches do, or how to choose the best one for your needs.

Here are some answers we’ve provided to FAQs we’ve received from folks just like you:

What does a career coach do?

Answer: The best career coaches help you figure out what careers/jobs will be a great fit, and offer practical guidance on how to get yourself in front of hiring managers. They help you identify and overcome mental obstacles and barriers that are holding you back. They provide timely suggestions, best practices, and strategies to plan and execute a search that will help you land the job you want.

Why should I hire a career coach?

Answer: Perhaps the most common reason people hire a career coach is because they are not getting results on their own. A coach will help you diagnose why not, and offer strategies that have been proven to work. A career coach can be great when you don’t know what path to take and you want to make sure your next role is a good fit. At Avarah, we also work with clients who want to make a career jump, they know they could be doing more and earning more. Career coaches are also very useful if your interview skills are rusty, or you need help with networking.

Why can’t I do this on my own?

Answer: You can. And it will be harder and take longer. A good job search (meaning one that lands you in a role where you can thrive) takes strategy and planning. Too often we start working with clients who’ve been trying on their own for months, only to miss opportunities and connections because they were not using the best approach.

I like the safety net of applying for jobs online, can’t I just keep doing that?

Answer: NO! Check out some of my previous blogs such as “Frustrated with Online Job Boards?” or “An Online Job Search Won’t Work, Do This Instead.

What should I look for in a career coach?

Answer: The best career coaches offer a combination of skills and experience.  These should, at a minimum, include education/certifications in the use of career assessment tools, experience in hiring/HR roles, and a proven system that has helped clients achieve their desired goals.

What questions should I ask when I’m interviewing a career coach?


  1. How long have you been doing this work? You want someone with a combined education/experience > 3 years. Look for someone for whom career coaching is their primary gig, ideally having helped others whose background and objectives are simliar to yours.
  2. What type of tools and strategies do you use? You’re looking for specifics, names of assessments, exercises, etc. Listen for a process.
  3. How long does this process normally take? Run fast from anyone who makes claims here like “Within X days – Guaranteed!” Every client is different and the time frame varies widely based on career choice, experience level, and other factors. Expect to hear a range from reputable coaches. E.g. “Most of my clients land well within X-Y…”
  4. How much work will I be doing on my own? You want to hear about homework, expectations, # of hours.
  5. What support can I expect outside of our formal coaching calls? The answer will depend on fees and the coach’s style. This is a case where you get what you pay for. If you want last minute interview coaching, or on the spot help negotiating competing offers, etc., you will pay for that and it will be worth it to land the job or say, increase your starting salary by 15%.
  6. What services do you provide? Coaches offer everything from interview coaching to networking strategies, tailored job search plans and much more. For Avarah’s services, click here. To learn more about Sarah, click here.
  7. What are your fees?  These are going to be based on the specific services you require. After a conversation to determine your needs, a reputable coach will provide you with their fees and covered services in writing so that you can make an educated decision about how to proceed.


Have a question that wasn’t covered here today? I started Avarah Careers because I recognized the need for a service like this – at every stage of life. If you’re going it alone and not getting the results you want, I may be able to help.

Schedule a complimentary
consultation here!