Of course, you cannot be a successful career coach if you do not have any clients to coach. For your own career success, you will need to reach out to those who need your services. These clients will be stuck in a rut with their jobs or their job search and looking for someone to help them out.
But you need to know where these clients might be and whether they are looking for your services. That way, you can connect with the people who will benefit most from your services and might need to seek out other services in order to help them with their career and their future.
A sample list might include things such as:
- career assessment;
- career mapping;
- skills assessment;
- strategy sessions;
- job search planning.
You might not want to include a lot of skills at first, choosing instead to focus on the skills in which you feel the most confident. For example, if you know that you are good at organizing résumés or assessing the career fields that your clients might be seeking out, you need to focus on these items.
When you try to be all things to everyone, it might seem as though you are going to be more successful; but this actually can end up causing you to stretch yourself too thin. Ideally, it is best to start with a few main coaching skills and then move into more fields as you gain experience from training or from the clients you are coaching.
Try to come up with a description of what you think you might do with each of your clients during a typical session or string of sessions. This is going to give you a strong sense of what you have to offer that other career coaches do not.
As you will tell your clients, using the Internet is one of the best ways to advertise your services to those who are in need of career coaching. You might want to look into three different marketing techniques:
- Web sites
A Web site is becoming the way to exchange business cards these days, with people and clients enjoying the opportunity to browse your site and your services before they talk to you. This way, you do not have to set up appointments, either. All you need to do is direct people to your site; they can look at it and then decide whether they want to work with you.
The next possibility online is to use the various advertisement tools: Twitter, Facebook, AdWords, Google advertisements, etc. Some of these tools will not cost any money, while others will. It cannot hurt to start with the free tools, like the social media tools, and then move into paying campaigns when you begin to make money from other clients.
Ideal clients are those already looking for career changes. If you want to find those people, you might want to set up a booth at a local job fair. Simply contact the organizers of the fair to see if this is something you can do, and then pay the fee to be a part of the fair.
You will be able to talk to a number of different potential clients, while also handing out business cards and brochures. This will help you connect with clients while letting them know what you have to offer that other career services may not.
While this seems to be more of an old-fashioned way of getting clients, placing advertisements in magazines, newspapers, and other printed media does work.
You might want to look for print media in the trades where you feel your career counseling services might work best. For example, if you are well-versed in how to help someone get a writing career started, place your ads in The Writer or Poets & Writers.
In the end, marketing only works if you are placing your advertisements in the places where your typical client may already be. Once you are there, the client will see what you have to offer and decide to contact you.
Each client is different and needs different things from you as a career coach. This can prove to be a tricky situation when you are not sure what you have to offer and how each client needs to be coached.
This sounds like a simple question to ask, but the answer is far more complicated than it might seem. A client who is coming to a career coach may very well not know what she or he wants. Clients might know that what they have in terms of a career at that moment is not what they want ....that's a long way off from choosing a career that they actually do want.
You might want to start this conversation by asking a few simple questions:
- If you had the training, what would you do?
- What job made you the happiest?
- Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
- How do you feel when you are at your current job?
- How did you feel at your last job?
- What doesn't your current job provide you that you want?
- What didn't your last job provide you that you want?
These questions should be enough to get the ball rolling and the conversation moving in the right direction. You want to have clients talking about all of the things they know they want from their careers.
We all have different things we need in order to be happy and satisfied with our lives. The chances are good that your clients are not getting the things they want from their job if they are coming to you. Some examples of things a client might need include:
- a certain work schedule;
- a certain work location;
- family flexibility;
- creative flexibility;
- a certain salary to maintain or improve current lifestyle;
- a particular work environment.
This list can be a lot longer, but this is a good starting point. In your coaching session, you might want to have the client sit down and write out a dream job description. This would include all of the person's wants and needs.
Finally, it is time for the client to begin to think about himself or herself in a different light from before. Many coaching clients feel as though they are stuck in their current working position, leaving them feeling despondent and as though they have no choices.
As a career coach, you can help them see that they do indeed have a lot to offer for their next employer.
Start by having your client bring in her or his current résumé. Then have the client begin to list out loud and on a piece of paper the skills she or he also offers that are not on that résumé. What does the client bring to an employer that might not be on a proper curriculum vitae?
Some of the skills your client might have to offer:
- strong communication skills;
- networking skills;
- specific knowledge about a certain market;
- passion for a certain topic;
- organization skills.
Have your clients talk to you about all of the things they have been able to do for employers in the past that their bosses may not have been able to see. Have your clients talk to you about what they could have done for different companies if they had been empowered to take on more responsibilities.
This is the time for your clients to talk to you about what they can do, what they have had success doing, etc. As they begin to talk, they might begin to dream out loud about what they could offer to someone else.
They might also come up with the ideal career path for themselves on their own, all because they asked the right questions and began to realize the value they have as an employee or perhaps as their own employer.
An Assessment Checklist for Your Client
- What do you want from coaching?
- What do you expect to learn from coaching?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What is the one talent or skill you have that has never been utilized in a job setting?
- What does your dream job look like?
- Describe your ideal day at work.
Have the client answer these questions at the start of the coaching and then give you the answers to keep on file. This way, as the client continues to work with you, he or she can be reminded of those answers. You can then remind the person of the direction desired initially in the coaching process.
At the end, you also can review what the client wanted from the coaching and make sure the person was satisfied.