Questions About Career Coaching:
How Much Does a Career Coach Cost?
How much does a career coach cost? First of all, if you’re thinking about enlisting the support of a professional career coach —good call: If you’ve been feeling paralyzed about which career path to take, feeling like it’s time for a new chapter, or wanting to grow professionally in your chosen career, working with a good career coach, online or in-person, can make a huge difference in your outcomes. It’s truly priceless.
Even though the value of great career coaching is worth far more than what you’ll pay for it, it’s understandable that you might be concerned about the cost of a career coach, particularly if you’re currently unemployed. When it comes to how much a career coach costs, here’s the short answer: It’s hugely variable.
You can find extremely high-end career coaches that charge many hundreds, or even thousands of dollars an hour for their specialized guidance and mentorship. You can also find free career counseling services through a local workforce center, community college, or social service organizations. Many local charities that support homeless or housing insecure populations will offer career counseling and vocational support services for their clients getting back on their feet.
But the type of career coaching you could expect from each situation is obviously quite different.
So the bigger question is: How much will a career coach cost, for you?
And that depends on your answers to other questions. What do you want to get out of career coaching? What areas of professional growth do you want to focus on now? What level of support do you need? And what is the value of that growth to you?
1. What Kind of Career Coach Do You Need?
Your answer to this question will determine the cost of career coaching because not all career coaching is the same. Not even close. Different types of career coaching and career counseling have vastly different intentions, are meant for different types of career goals, and will lead to different outcomes.
- Would you like to be given a list of all the fast-food restaurants in your community that are currently hiring? Or are you a high-achieving person who has the “problem” of so many talents, abilities and opportunities that it’s overwhelming to commit to one option?
- Could you benefit from being taught basic computer literacy skills so that you can get a data-entry job? Or are you on a leadership track and wanting to grow professionally in your communication, management, and emotional intelligence skills so that you can reach the next level?
- Is your personal situation such that you could benefit from being in a supportive employment situation that makes allowances for a chronic mental health condition? Or are you a successful attorney or physician trying to figure out how to sustain a chosen career path that you’re passionate about and fulfilled by, while also having ample time and energy to cultivate a meaningful personal life?
These intentions are very different. While all of the above incorporate career coaching or career counseling and are all extremely worthwhile for different people, they’re intended for different populations with different goals. The career coach cost will be different too. The type of career coaching experience you are seeking will also determine the cost of career coaching, for you.
Understanding Different Types of Career Coaches
In order to find out what the career coach cost, for you, you need to have clarity about the type of experience you want, and an understanding about the different kinds of career coaching experiences available for you. Different kinds of career coaches have different kinds of training and areas of expertise, and they charge differently too.
Some career coaches, such as the ones you might find for free in a community mental health center or workforce center, have a background in “psycho-social rehabilitation.” This orientation takes the perspective that the goal of career coaching is to assist someone in becoming a functioning, tax-paying member of society.
The goal is to help the client function in a stable way. A specific type of job, or any concept of “professional success,” is not typically on the agenda. This type of career coaching is about helping people develop marketable skills, and to develop the lifestyle habits and coping skills that will allow them to show up to work on time and to sustain employment. A vocational counselor in this environment may have a social work background, or may even have a degree in vocational or rehabilitation counseling.
Non-Counselor Career Coaches
There is another breed of career coaches that are more business-related, and who seek to serve people in professional roles, or those who aspire to be in higher-level professional positions.
Many of these types of career coaches do not have formal education and training in career development and career counseling, which is not necessary. (Like “certifications” in life coaching, career coaching is an unregulated profession and there is no license, education, or credentialing required to practice it). Rather, these kinds of career coaches have had (valuable!) experience working in an HR role, or in management positions, or have been in professional positions themselves, and offer career coaching from the perspective of their own work experience.
These kinds of career coaches can be useful to help hone your interviewing skills, create a networking plan, negotiate your salary, or write a better resume.
Therapists Who Are Career Development Specialists
Then there is a completely different kind of career coach, like the ones you’ll find here at Growing Self. For starters, many of the professional career coaches on our team have actual master’s degrees in Counseling and Career Development. There are only a handful of these programs in the United States, and we’re lucky to have connected with a number of their graduates.
These types of programs prepare graduates to not just serve people seeking professional growth, but also make them eligible for licensure as professional therapists. In fact, all of the career coaches on the Growing Self team have a robust background in counseling psychology and mental health, as well as extensive training and experience in career development.
This depth allows for a greater understanding and exploration of all the important factors that our clients bring to the table: holistic career counseling that takes into consideration your whole-life goals. Therapists who specialize in career development may work to help you gain an understanding of how family of origin issues or historical life experiences shaped their relationship to your professional identity; how areas of professional growth are often tied to areas of personal growth; the intersection between your professional goals and personal priorities (including healthy relationships), and how our personalities, emotional intelligence skills, and patterns in relationships show up in our lives — both on the job and off.
Additionally, professional career coaches or career counselors with this type of formal education in career counseling theories and methods will not be coaching from their own personal experience. They will be utilizing different models of career development (yes, there are such things!). Just like there are different evidence-based models of psychotherapy, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Emotionally Focused Therapy, there are different evidence-based models of career counseling. For example, they may draw from the “Trait Factor,” “Constructivist,” or “Developmental” models of career counseling, depending on your specific needs and goals. Learn more about evidence-based approaches to career counseling here.
As part of this they may use a number of different personality, aptitude, and interest assessments in order to help you get clarity about yourself, and figure out how to bring passion to your career. However, much of what they do is less about your scores on an assessment and more about helping you deeply explore who you are, what you want, and how to get there in a much more personalized way.
If you are on the market for a career coach, finding the right career coach for you depends on what kind of career coaching experience you’re seeking. The background, setting and intentions of the coach all create very different outcomes. All are valid, and all are appropriate, but they may not all be helpful or meaningful to you, specifically. And, the career coach cost will be different for each avenue you pursue.
Our Approach to Professional Growth
Next, let’s talk about the type of career coaching and career counseling we do here so that you can answer the question of how much a career coach costs from that perspective.
Here at Growing Self, we provide a range of professional development services for people in different stages of their professional growth. Career coaches do many different things in service of professional growth, and as such, your actual experience in career coaching with us may look a little different depending on your goals.
But with all of our clients, we take a holistic approach to career coaching and professional growth that emphasizes the “whole person” that is you: your personality, values, hopes, and goals for your future; your relationships with your partner, kids, friends and family; and other parts of your life that matter the most to you.
We sincerely believe that all of these must be taken into consideration when you’re in the process of developing your career. Otherwise, no matter how much professional “success” you achieve, your life may still feel hollow and out of balance to you. While finding meaning and success through your chosen profession is hugely important (it’s where the bulk of your waking time and energy will go, after all), it is not acceptable for it to come at the expense of your mental and emotional wellness, or for it to be in conflict with your most deeply held values.
With that said, our career coaches can help you gain clarity, direction and growth at different stages of your professional development.
Career Coaching Services For Different Stages of Professional Development
If you’re just starting out (or, if you’ve decided that your current profession is not a good fit and you want to pursue something completely different), the goal of the work would be to achieve clarity about which career path to pursue. If “what should I do with my life??” is constantly blaring in your brain lately, you’d benefit from engaging with one of our career coaches for a “career exploration” process that helps you choose a career.
Career coaching aimed at career exploration will help you gain awareness of your personality, values, skill set, and aptitudes, and the different types of careers that would allow you to make full use of your gifts. Because our approach to career coaching is holistic, you’d also be sorting through your larger life goals, and considering how different career paths align with those personal goals as well.
Lastly — just want to normalize this — it’s very common for people to start out in a career and find themselves feeling disappointed, and sometimes more than a little worried when they don’t like it. There are many reasons that people can find themselves in careers that they don’t feel great about: feeling pressured by your family to go in a certain direction, to evolving since you first chose your college major at eighteen, or even just realizing that the day to day work itself is not as enjoyable or meaningful as you’d hoped. It’s okay.
This type of “quarter life crisis” experience is actually quite positive, because it gives you a chance to get honest about how you’re feeling and do exploration about who you are and what you want. Doing this with a good career coach can help you pivot, make a career change, and get back on track in a positive new direction.
Sometimes our career coaching clients come to us knowing what kind of career path they’d like to pursue but needing help in overcoming the obstacles to achieving their desired position. This type of career coaching can emphasize the “getting the job” part of professional development. A good career coach can help you research potential employers, develop your professional network, fine-tune or even write your resume, sharpen your interviewing skills, and become a very attractive candidate for the role.
But of course “getting the job” is not the end of the line when it comes to meaningful professional development. Many of our career coaching clients come to us already in their chosen profession and with great jobs. Their goal for career coaching is to grow professionally.
Many (Most? All?) successful professionals find that, as they advance in their careers, their continued success requires them to continue developing as people. For example, increasing responsibilities at work and at home mean that you must develop increasingly robust time management skills, personal organization skills, boundaries around work and life, stress management skills, and often your emotional intelligence and communication skills too. A good career coach, particularly one who has a background as a therapist, can very effectively help you grow in all of these areas.
Emotional Intelligence at Work
Emotional intelligence gets a lot of press, but many people don’t understand what it really means, or how focusing on this area of growth could help them personally, and professionally. Emotional intelligence is not just about being able to sense other people’s feelings, or communicate well. It goes much deeper.
There are actually four components of emotional intelligence: Being aware of how you feel, and understanding why; being able to manage your internal experience in healthy ways; being able to accurately understand the feelings, needs, and motivations of others; and being able to relate to others in a way that takes their feelings into consideration and strengthens the relationship.
There is a lot going on there. Many people on the lower end of emotional intelligence are actually quite emotional — flooded, in fact. Others believe their emotions are completely under control, and there’s nothing to learn. Heck, they don’t feel anything at all usually and that’s good, right?
The big problem with emotional intelligence is that most people believe they are much higher in it than they really are, and genuinely have zero understanding of what they’re missing, or why their relationships feel hard sometimes. This often comes out at work, where we’re spending a lot of time trying to work collaboratively with people that we’re not in love with, friends with, or parents to.
Underdeveloped emotional intelligence skills have stalled many a career, and for most people who hope to grow professionally (especially if they aspire to leadership positions) can benefit enormously from working on EQ. Learn more about what emotional intelligence is, why it matters, and how to increase it.
Management Skills Coaching
No longer is she the one taking direction and squinting at lines of code. <stress>Instead, she has to delegate, communicate, manage inter-team relationships, provide constructive feedback, and keep everyone motivated.</stress> A good career coach can help you develop all the “soft” skills you need to grow into an effective manager and leader.
Another very common area of professional growth for many of our clients is related to leadership skills. Many business leaders have exceptional skills in operations, finance, salesmanship, and making various systems work together, as well as genuinely visionary ideas about what could be. They are natural leaders because of their creativity, enthusiasm, faith, and their ability to make things happen.
However, many leaders stumble and benefit from support around the “silent structures” that are easy to forget about, yet just as vital to the success and health of a business: company culture and the quality of relationships.
Our leadership coaches often work with successful leaders around how to simultaneously accomplish their business goals while also being very intentional about the impact of their leadership on group dynamics, the priority of emotional intelligence skills in leadership, systems that foster effective communication, the development of positive professional relationships, and the systemic factors related to the sustainability and wellbeing of any company’s most important asset: its people.
Interestingly, we’ve also assisted professionals and business owners in working through work-related trauma. Really. Toxic work environments are unfortunately very real, and can negatively impact people for months and years, even after they’ve left the toxic workplace.
Years of abuse from a narcissistic boss; a founder going through a hostile corporate takeover situation; the fallout from a failed political campaign; a clique-y or disempowering corporate culture; a business partnership that’s become hostile; an office romance gone off the rails; an abrupt layoff or firing — all of these common professional experiences can affect us.
Many people find that it helps enormously to spend time with a good career counselor healing, learning and growing after living through these challenging life experiences, which can hugely impact our attitudes and feelings about our work.
Emotional Wellness at Work
Lastly, another thing that a therapist who specializes in career development can help you with is around how to manage your mental and emotional wellness on the job and off. We spend a lot of time at work, and whatever you’re struggling with personally is going to show up there sooner or later.
For example, if you often feel anxious or have difficulty managing stress, it is highly likely that you’re going to feel anxious and stressed at work — unless you work on it. If you tend to struggle with low self-esteem and beat yourself up you’re probably going to struggle with perfectionism or “imposter syndrome” at work (or possibly both at the same time, which is paralyzing).
Are you feeling unmotivated at work and like you hate your job…. or is that depression? On that note, burnout and depression can seem extremely similar until you get a good clinical assessment — but treating clinical depression is very different than recovering from chronic burnout. (For example, say you’re dealing with chronic burnout and need to make some changes in order to recover: not an anti-depressant). You really need to know what you’re dealing with before you can mange it effectively.
Or maybe you’re having difficulty keeping track of stuff and time and projects and you can’t even look at your task manager because it has a thousand things overdue and your boss is mad at you and you feel like crap about yourself… but you’ve never considered that you might have untreated adult ADHD. Figuring that out matters. A lot.
Or, it may also be true that you are in a work environment that is currently incompatible with your ability to maintain your emotional wellness and that it’s time to make some positive changes.
A good career counselor can help you sort through all of this so that you can get clarity about what’s going on, and what you need to do to feel good again at work, and in life.
Career Coach Costs… Are an Investment
Given the importance of high-quality career coaching and the impact that it can have on not just your career success, but the quality of your life, we prefer to think of career counseling or career coaching as an investment rather than an expense. It’s not an expenditure. It’s something that grows, over time. And, like so many things in life, its value is not measurable in dollars and cents.
I mean, for one thing, if you get into a good career, your lifetime earning potential is increased exponentially. The financial security and stability of someone who has been very intentional and deliberate in crafting a career path vs the financial outcome of someone who takes jobs they can do is often vastly different. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars of a difference, over the lifespan.
But that’s the obvious payoff to the investment of the career coach cost. What I personally believe (as do many of our clients) is that there are actually many things in life that are much more valuable and important than money.
While you can certainly take an economist’s point of view that investing in a lucrative, sustainable career path (i.e., getting clarity about what you’d like to do and be good at, and then investing in the required education to attain it, then getting the job, and continuing to advance in an upward trajectory), is actually, objectively a “good investment” in the hard metric of lifetime earnings… we actually take a different perspective.
Yes, everyone wants to earn a good living. But often, career paths considered through the lens of economics alone can be disconnected from the whole truth of a person, and consequently, can have unintended negative consequences.
- The depressed dentist who lives for the one week out of the year he spends scuba-diving in Aruba;
- the stressed-out, burned-out attorney who’s on the brink of his third divorce and his second heart attack;
- the chief of surgery who spends about four hours a week with her young kids and is consumed with mom-guilt;
- or the senior project manager at a unicorn startup who works 100 hours a week and wants more than anything to have a partner, but doesn’t have any time to date and cultivate a relationship…
These people are all “winning at work,” but they are not having a good time.
While they’re all doing quite well financially and their career choices make wonderful sense from an economic perspective, in our view they are suffering enormously despite having enviable careers. Their career paths are out of balance with their core values, and their mental and emotional wellness. Professional success alone can’t be the only goal.
Because of that, good, meaningful career coaching is not just an investment in your long-term earning potential (although it is that also). Good career coaching is an investment in your entire life trajectory. It’s not about money. It’s about happiness and life satisfaction and wellness and sustainability. Your career is only one manifestation and expression of your most deeply held values and priorities.
We understand that you are more than your professional identity, and that financial security is only one component of authentic “success.” You are a whole, multi-dimensional, complex person, and your personal and professional success can’t be separated. That perspective helps put the career coach cost into perspective.
Yes, But How Much Does Career Counseling Cost?
Thank you for staying with me through this nuanced discussion about the different types of career coaching, different approaches to career coaching, and the different ways that a career coach might assist you in your professional growth, and why investing in this work is so important. I hope that now, you understand that genuinely meaningful career coaching is actually priceless. Its true value is not measurable in dollars.
Trying to figure out what to do with your life is vastly more important than making a purchase — even buying a house. You get the career part right, you may have several nice houses in your future. You’re not shopping for a good deal on a couch that generally fits the dimensions and color scheme of your living room, but could go with grey instead of blue because it’s on sale. You’re looking for assistance in growing yourself and designing your life. This is not the time to hunt for bargains.
But here are the numbers and an overview of the range of options when it comes to career coach cost, so that you can make an informed decision about what is right for you:
Free Career Counseling
The career coach cost in some situations is… zero. There are a variety of good options for free career counseling and vocational counseling. You can go to a local workforce center, or community mental health center for assistance in developing marketable skills, getting basic vocational assessments, and job placement support. Particularly if you are a new graduate just starting out or have been dealing with setbacks in your career that have impacted you financially, these are excellent places to turn to for help.
If you are currently in college (or sometimes even an alumnus) and your university had a career counseling center, you may be able to access their services for free or at a reduced cost. Community colleges have career counseling centers sometimes too. There, you can access systems to research careers and employers, get tips to improve your resume, and more.
Another thing to know is that if you receive social assistance (food stamps, housing assistance, etc.) you likely have a caseworker who may also be able to plug you into local career counseling services, vocational training, job placement support, and work-appropriate clothing, childcare, all at no cost to you. Just ask them about it — social workers LIVE to give people referrals for these types of things. These are fantastic resources and if you could use this type of support I hope you take advantage of it.
Ridiculously Expensive Career Coaching
The career coach cost in some situations might cost more than your car. I believe Tony Robbins charges around $25,000 an hour for a coaching session, but I don’t know the exact figures. It may involve walking across blazing coals in your bare feet but I’m sure it’s an amazing experience. If you can afford it and want to go this route, I hope you enjoy the helicopter ride to the island. Please tell Tony I said “hello” and that I’m a huge fan.
Growing Self Career Coach Cost
The career coach cost at Growing Self is both flexible, and affordable, and also incredibly valuable. The professional career coaching experts on our team charge different rates according to their years of experience and their level of education.
We have PhD-level career counselors (licensed doctoral-level therapists who specialize in career development) who charge around $160 per 45-minute session. We also have advanced clinicians with years of experience and specialized skills in career development who charge around $135 per 45-minute session, master’s-level clinicians who are newer to the field who charge $115 per 45-minute session, and we have very enthusiastic and competent early career clinicians who charge $105 per 45-minute session.
Many of our clinicians can offer income-based sliding scale rates, which (if you work with an early career clinician) could bring your rate per session to as low as $65 per hour.
We offer resume writing services at $105 per hour. There can be different fees for various aptitude and personality assessments ($50-$150, depending on the specific one). We do offer a number of specialized leadership coaching services and organizational coaching, including ESCI assessments for teams, and those services start at around $200 per hour.
We do not offer package rates: All of our clients have individual needs and your experience with us will be tailored to what you need it to be.
You can learn more about the rates for all our services, as well as when we can help you use your insurance here, on our rates and insurance page.
If you would like to explore career coaching services at Growing Self, the first step in getting started is to schedule your free consultation session with the career coach of your choice to discuss your hopes and goals for your personal and professional growth, and how we can help.
Your partner in growth,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
Meet a Few of Our Career Coaches
The therapists and career coaches of Growing Self have specialized education and training and years of experience in helping people achieve their personal and professional goals. We use only evidence-based strategies that have been proven by research to help you get clarity and direction, have better relationships, feel happier, and design your ideal life.
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