Can You Afford Not to Have a Coach?

It seems everyone has a coach. We hear about coaches for lifestyle planning, careers, sports performance, etc. Even Tiger Woods has a coach! So, what is their purpose and value and could you benefit from their expertise? Coaches are often mentioned when discussing careers strategies, and we read about them in resume books.

By definition, a career coach is a trained professional (usually someone in the career counseling and resume writing or professional job search industry) who will guide you through the complexities of skills assessment, job search planning, campaign development, career change marketing and long-term career management. To determine the value, a career coach could bring, go through the following checklist of information, answering Yes or No to each question.

Career Assessment & Focus

  • Can you clearly describe your accomplishments and unique value proposition?
  • Do your skills and qualifications match your career objectives?
  • Do you know what types of activities you do NOT want career-wise?
  • Have you clearly identified the need for a different kind of challenge for your career and professional development?
  • Can you confidently present reasons why a company should hire you?

A career coach will assist you in identifying and assessing your qualifications, work preferences, likes and dislikes, immediate objectives and long-term goals. A coach will help you evaluate your worth in the employment market and your value within specific industries.

Career Change & Transition

  • Are you considering changing career paths, professions or industries?
  • What skills do you have that are transferable to other jobs and industries?
  • Do you feel as though you are going to be typecasted into your current profession or industry for the rest of your career?
  • Do you have the “right” skills to transition into high-growth industries?

A coach will guide you in identifying and evaluating all of your possibilities and provide you with critical market intelligence to formulate your job search action plan.

Personal & Family Issues

  • Do you have personal or family issues that are directly influencing your job search?
  • Is relocation out of the question?
  • Do you have a physical disability that might be negatively impacting your search, but it has never interfered with your work performance?
  • Are you depressed because your job search has not progressed at the pace you anticipated?

A coach can be your sounding board; helping you determine how to assess and prioritize issues concerning your search or objective; how to overcome obstacles standing in your way; and how to position those conditions to your advantage.

Career Marketing & Job Search Management

  • Do you understand that the job search process is similar to the sales process – in that YOU are the product, and you must effectively merchandise and promote the product?
  • Do you know which marketing channels are the best marketing channels for your job search?
  • Do you know how to optimize your networking contacts and results?
  • Do you know how to find unadvertised open positions?
  • Can you spot a job placement scam?

A career coach can help you evaluate your available job search strategy, its value to your search, the risk/reward ratio of each and how to integrate each program into your campaign.

Interview Skills & Salary Negotiations

  • Are you able to “sell” your accomplishments and back it up with quantifiable results?
  • Are you confident, articulate and able to present well?
  • Are you comfortable in deliberately constructed “stressful” interviewing situations?
  • Are you an accomplished negotiator, confident of your ability to negotiate the “best” compensation package possible (various bonus structures, the value of equity participation and other non-traditional compensation models)?

A career coach will help you develop and refine powerful interviewing skills, pushing you to perform at your best, communicate your value and earn a compensation package well beyond your original expectations.


  • Will your references speak positively about your skills, qualifications, experience and track record?
  • Are your references the RIGHT references for your career objectives?
  • Do you know how to improve the performance of your references when they’re talking about you?

If you know that your references or former employers may be divulging information that could be construed as negative, let your career coach teach you how to overcome these situations.


If you can answer, “YES” to most of the questions and are confident in your ability to manage your job search, then you are reasonably well prepared to move forward on your own.

However, if you still feel the need for the expertise, insights, and support of a career coach, don’t hesitate for one minute. Trained professionals can make a huge difference in the speed and success of your job search.

If you answered “NO” to more than just 3-4 of the questions above, I would strongly urge you to consider the value a career coach could bring to your job search, career performance and compensation.

With years of training and experience, career coaches know what works and what doesn’t work, how to optimize your results, and how to help you land your ideal job. With your career coach at your side, you can move forward confidently and successfully.

Should you want to explore this option, or need help mapping out a strategy, or need help clarifying and packaging your gifts, talents, and passions, please contact me or schedule a free 15-minute chat.

Brenda Goburn Smith