How to Become a Career Counselor (And Grow Your Career Coaching Business)

 Sai Blackbyrn/ 8th July 2021

One of the most significant decisions that any person can make when it comes to their professional life stems from the career path they want to settle on.

It’s a task that’s easier said than done, since most people who are thrust into this decision don’t have all the information required to make sure that they – for lack of a better phrase – don’t screw up.

After all, making a wrong choice when it comes to this monumental decision will lead to a lot of regrets further down the line that anyone is just better off avoiding.

To ensure that other people who are just starting off when it comes to their career don’t experience any major regrets later on, you can choose to aid them in their decision-making process by turning yourself into a highly efficient and insightful career advisor.

Of course, it’s not like only newbies will request your services – even people who’ve worked in a professional capacity for a decade or two might need your advice as well.

One thing is guaranteed – you’re bound to meet people from different backgrounds and industries, each of whom will have different problems.

So, sit back and read this article to get an in-depth look at how to become a career counsellor.

Before we start off, it’s time to ask what might just be the most fundamental question of them all…

What is a career counsellor?

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A career counsellor is an individual who is well-versed when it comes to multiple career paths, and has an in-depth knowledge when it comes to directing a person’s career path based on their strengths.

What does a career counsellor do?

The main aim of a career counsellor is to ensure that any person who is availing their service gets a clear idea about their strengths and weaknesses, after which they can consult the professional in question on which path will suit them the best.

Why do people opt for the services of a career counsellor? recently did a study to measure employee satisfaction, and the results were quite glaring.

  • 77 percent of workers sometimes felt that their career choice was misguided.
  • 23 percent said that they were perfectly content with the job they had.
  • 35 percent said that their current job was tedious and they wished for something more impactful.
  • 31 percent stated that they wanted a career path that offered more money.
  • 7 percent wished that the career path they’d chosen wasn’t so stressful or demanding.

This is why career counselling has become such a hot topic of interest; most people want to be more than just an irrelevant statistic in the long term, when it comes to their professional life.

If you truly want to excel in the field of career counselling (and grow your career coaching business by an impressive amount), then the first thing you need to be absolutely clear about is the reason as to why any person would want career coaching in the first place.

  1. Lack of direction:

The majority of people who opt for career counselling services feel like they’re heading nowhere when it comes to their professional life.

This depressing mentality might stem from numerous problems and bad choices that they’ve already made in their career path, or from a general feeling of not knowing what career will give them the highest level of job satisfaction in the long run.

It’s up to you as a career coach to make sure that your clients can shake off this feeling of hopelessness, and figure out what their skillsets will allow them to accomplish.

This is one of the primary reasons why career coaching services are gaining so much traction nowadays, so keep this in mind at all times whenever you are coaching someone about the best career path that can be taken.

  1. Inadequate experience:

It’s human nature for anyone to feel like they might not want to start off on the wrong foot from the get-go. After all, starting careers can prove to be quite hectic, and switching out to something else is even more stressful.

So, people who happen to have these lingering thoughts would obviously like to make sure that they don’t embark on their professional journey with a handicap.

This is where your services as a career advisor come into play. You need to alleviate this stress that your client might be experiencing, and drill it into their heads that they will have multiple opportunities in the lifetime.

Panicking about this – especially during the initial moments of their career – is unnecessary, and they need to look at the big picture.

  1. Little to no focus:

As a career counsellor, you’ll inevitably meet a swath of people, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses.

Sometimes, for these people, the main problem is that they’re simply not willing to apply themselves, even though what they’re doing – or what they can possibly do – is something that they’re extremely good at.

These people need a push in the right direction, so that they’re motivated enough progress down the career path of their choice.

And guess who the person who’ll push these people is? That’s right, it’s – and no points for guessing who it is – you, and your expertise as a career coach.

By pushing all the right buttons, what you essentially need to do is activate the dormant potential hidden in your client, and compel them to work to the best of their ability so that they can find the key to unlock the door of success.

  1. Dissatisfaction

It’s human nature to feel like the grass is always greener on the other side, no matter where it might be. This includes their position in a professional capacity as well.

No matter how impactful one’s position might be, a person might try to fish out reasons why they don’t feel like the work they’re doing is satisfactory. This can be due to various reasons that range from a personal to a monetary spectrum.

As a career counsellor, it’s up to you to figure out exactly what problems are affecting your client, and gauge whether these concerns are legitimate or fabricated.

After doing so, you need to help your client either feel comfortable with what they’re doing, or figure out the best course of action that can be taken to make sure that your client can achieve the sense of satisfaction they’re desperate for.

What skills are ideal for a career counsellor?

In my profession a lot of people ask me where I am coming from. If I have time I explain them that I come originally from that place we call Spain, but that I don’t feel Spanish, I just feel a citizen of the world, a person, a human being… that I don’t see nationalities, I see people, and that the people that are trying to do “good” in this world they are my brothers, no matter where they are coming from. We are just a humanity, and any other category is limiting for starting to think about commonwealth and peace.  Ying yang, the unity.
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  1. Empathy and Insight:

This might seem cliched, but putting yourself in the shoes of your client can do wonders, especially when it comes to making the best decision that will secure the long-term future of your client’s career.

You need to empathise with your client and understand his problems from his perspective – a task that’s certainly easier said than done.

However, only by doing so will you be able to attain a greater level of clarity when it comes to what your client would be good at, considering his skill-set and interests.

After all, the main reason why people seek the services of a career coach is to consult a reliable third-party and receive quality advice, and these insights can only be provided if you understand the ins-and-outs of what your client feels.

  1. Communication and Listening:

However, the points discussed above don’t imply that you need to judge your client from his initial impression.

A first impression does play a huge part when it comes to analysing your client’s character, but taking this to be the golden rule will end up spelling disaster for both you and your client’s career.

Therefore, make sure that you communicate with your client and understand precisely what he wants in a professional capacity.

This includes being patient and listening to what your client has to say, no matter how off-topic or insignificant the topic of conversation might be.

It’s imperative to make your client feel comfortable (especially since they’re talking to someone who is essentially a stranger), and excellent communication skills will go a long way in achieving this goal.

  1. Flexibility and Tolerance:

We just discussed how your client might have the penchant to go off-topic and talk about topics that are not even related to the reason why he even chose to speak with you in the first place.

And, trust us when we tell you that this will be a frequent occurrence, especially in your line of work.

After all, one of the major aspects of human nature is a need to vent, and keeping all of their frustrations (and in some cases, achievements) bottled down can prove to be extremely unhealthy from a mental standpoint for your client.

So, it’s of the essence to have a tolerant mindset and be flexible when it comes to what your client exactly needs from the conversation he’s having with you.

  1. A non-judgmental mindset:

Perhaps the hardest skill that one needs to develop as a career counsellor is to listen to their clients and take their problems seriously, instead of scoffing at what might seem like nothing more than silly complaints.

The truth of the matter is that what might seem insignificant to one person can mean the world to someone else.

If clients can pick up on the fact that you aren’t taking their problems seriously, then you might as well say goodbye to your chances of becoming a good counsellor – let alone a successful one.

So, make sure that your client is comfortable enough to voice their opinions without feeling threatened in any way, shape, or form. Building this rapport will undoubtedly pave the way to success when it comes to your venture in the field of career coaching.

And – as a side note of sorts, if you will – if you’re wondering whether being a career counsellor requires a certification of some sort, let us quell your doubts by saying that any form of qualification is not necessary.

While it certainly won’t hurt to go through a certification course from reputed sources like INSEAD, you can very much start off on your journey to become a coach without having to be certified.

So, what’s the difference between a career coach and a life coach?

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While both designations might have something in common, there are still many things that are essentially different. Of course, looking at the names itself will give you a basic idea on the difference between a career advisor and a life coach.

While a career coach is generally limited to advising from a professional standpoint, a life coach will approach this conversation from a broader spectrum. Anything and everything that might be affecting their client’s behaviour is on the table.

While this certainly doesn’t imply that, as a career coach, you have to ignore these topics completely, you should still discuss certain aspects of your client’s personal lifestyle – especially if they’re affecting his professional life as well.

However, at the same time, you still need to keep in mind at all times that you are not providing your services to improve your client’s entire lifestyle. Your main aim is to shape a person’s career in a manner that will satisfy them the most, and nothing else.

Trying to provide life advice regularly won’t be a wise choice by any means. After all, the same principles that will apply towards making a person’s career better won’t hold fast for their personal life by any means.


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