25 reasons you really do need a career coach

Are you feeling stuck?

This is the number one reason that anyone seeks coaching: they don’t like where they are, and they’ve realised they can’t change it on their own.

But is a career coach really worth it?

Here are 25 reasons why you do need a career coach now (even if you don’t realise it yet).

1) You want to get promotion/ more responsibility/ to earn more

Ambition is a good thing, but it can’t get you there on its own.

You can get very frustrated when you want to go onwards and upwards, but you can’t see how.

A good career coach will help you:

  • position yourself for that promotion you want

  • make best use of the opportunities you have now to lay the foundations for a successful future

  • ask for that raise (ideally without crying from the stress and embarrassment of the situation, like I once did…).

2) You need clarity in a world of confusion

Sometimes we are stuck because we just don’t know what to do.

A good career coach will help you clarify exactly what it is you want to achieve - what exactly your goals are.

That can be enough for some people - once they know where they’re going, they’re off! But for others, that is only the beginning - and a good career coach will help you define a plan on how you are going to achieve your goals.

Going round in circles (either in your head, or in your career) is never helpful. A good career coach will provide that clarity that helps propel you forward.

3) You are at a specific point in your career, and you could do with some expert help

  • You have just graduated and you’re looking for your first job…

  • You are mid-career, and desperately want a change…

  • You want to work more flexibly…

  • You want to plan towards your retirement.

These are all obvious points where it makes sense to get some support.

For most of us, it will be our first time in these situations.

It makes sense to use the experience and expertise of a good career coach who has helped many others through similar situations.

4) You’re anxious and stressed at work

I suffered from both anxiety and stress at work, as well as panic attacks. And I didn’t seek help until I’d already developed chronic fatigue and suffered burnout.

This can be avoided.

Help can come in many forms - from counselling, to support from friends or family, to medical interventions. Or from a good career coach with experience of helping people manage their stress and anxiety in a work context.

Do not let anxiety and stress continue without seeking help! (PLEASE!)

5) You want to nail that perfect job

You know exactly which job you want: it is literally your dream job, and it doesn’t come around very often.

Why leave the application process, and (hopefully) interview process to chance?

I don’t like to say “practice makes perfect” - no-one needs any more perfectionism in their lives… But I do say, “practice makes progress”.

You will have more of a chance of getting that perfect job if you get some career coaching advice on how to show the ideal version of you to the application sifter, and to the interviewer.

6) You want tailored, personalised advice

Dr Google can be helpful for all sorts of things - including career advice. As can books, podcasts, YouTube videos…

But fundamentally, these generalised sources will provide generalised advice in a generalised way.

Without being too icky, we are all unique - and a good career coach will work directly with YOU, tailoring their advice and approach to you and your specific needs.

For example, I always ask my clients, “What style of coaching would you like? More direct, more soft and gentle, more encouraging, more no-nonsense?”

Everyone is in a particular situation, and will thrive on different approaches.

7) You want to hit the ground running in a new job

Starting a new job can be very stressful.

I remember when I started at the National Crime Agency, creating a brand new department and building my reputation from unknown with a lot of hardened coppers, it felt like a massive challenge - my stress levels were astronomical.

A good career coach will help you through these first difficult weeks.

We can provide advice, reassurance and support. And we can make sure you prioritise your time to get the best results possible in the short-term - getting yourself ready for long-term success.

8) You WANT to take action but you’re stuck

Sometimes we know where we want to get to, and we even know the steps we need to take. But we JUST CAN’T DO IT.

The gremlin of procrastination takes over…

Inertia and apathy set in…

The next thing you know, another year has gone by, and you are in exactly the same position.

A good career coach won’t let that happen. We will help you break through whatever is blocking you - whether that is a limiting belief, or poor time management.

9) You lack confidence in yourself and what you have to offer

This is a personal passion of mine - helping my clients really understand their own value. A good career coach will transform your mindset, helping you find the confidence that is within you.

This can be through a clear-sighted, objective skills audit (we are all our own worst critic, and that means we aren’t always good at recognising our own talents).

Or it could be through softer coaching techniques that tackle negative thought patterns and help you develop your inner cheerleader.

Personally, I like to do both…

10) You need some impartial advice

Friends and family are wonderful sources of support. They can also be rather less wonderful sources of unsolicited or thoroughly biased advice.

The best person to advice you on your career is NOT usually your mum - bless all mums everywhere, but they are not generally objective about their child - even when they’re grown up. And to be honest, they might not know that much about the world of work that you want to excel in.

The same is true for friends - rarely will they combine directly relevant experience with skills in mentoring and coaching. That is what a career coach is for.

11) You need some help to define your path to success

You know where you want to get to, but you don’t know how to get there. Either because it’s not obvious (in some industries, there isn’t an obvious career progression path) - or because you can’t quite work it out on your own.

A good career coach will help you define the steps you need to take, in the best order, to make sure you get where you want to.


12) You want to hone your skills - from interviews to difficult management conversations

The problem with real life is that you (mostly) don’t get the chance to press the rewind button and try again when things go wrong.

Which is why it’s worth practising key skills in a safe environment, so that you can avoid losing the job - or causing tears…

There are definitely better and worse ways to go about certain tasks or responsibilities, and a good career coach will help you learn or improve them. You get a knowledgeable teacher, and a safe space.

This means when you are in the situation for real, you are confident and ready to achieve the best outcome possible.

13) You’re not a typical candidate

Thankfully, we’re not all the same - otherwise the world would be a very boring place. You might have taken a year off to sail around the world. Or taken five years to care for a sick parent. Or ten years to raise three children.

I took a one year career break to move to the countryside with my future husband, and it ended up being 8 years, thanks to getting married, having a daughter, and travelling.

Organisations (without imagination) can look askance at non-traditional career paths. But you and I know that these experiences are an asset. Thanks to your time away, you have developed different but complementary skills that will only help you to succeed.

A good career coach will help you define these, and articulate them to best effect, so that you can get the job you want on your return.

14) You HATE something about your job

Your boss criticises you. Your co-workers are deeply annoying. You feel undervalued by your organisation.

You don’t have to carry on suffering - you can find a job at an organisation you are excited by, with a boss you respect, and co-workers you enjoy spending time with (well, most of them anyway - nowhere is everyone perfect…).

A good career coach will help you do this - plus, perhaps work with you on why you stayed when you were hating it, so that you don’t repeat that pattern in the future.

15) You’re overwhelmed and struggling to cope with your workload

I think we all know that terrible feeling of drowning, when you just can’t keep on top of it all.

There could be a number of reasons: your mindset isn’t right; your time management is awful; or you are just being given too much to do.

It’s very hard to differentiate between these when you are struggling to stay afloat - let alone make the changes necessary so you can swim.

A good career coach will help you identify the source of the problem, plus help you take whatever actions are necessary to resolve it.

16) You need some accountability

I don’t know about you, but I am RUBBISH at getting things done without accountability.

The only reason I gave up smoking aged 21 is because I (intentionally) told my family and friends I would give up when I left university - and then I thought I’d look pretty stupid if I didn’t.

The same is true for all goals. You might have the best intentions to polish up your CV; attend that networking event; seek a mentor…

But without someone to hold you to account - and a regular time in which you KNOW that’s going to happen - these things can just drift. With a good career coach, you use the power of external accountability to drive forward.

17) You need help understanding how to invest in yourself

In this fast-moving world, only those that are prepared for the future will excel.

But it can be hard to know what aspect of you or your career you need to prioritise spending your time and money on. You can’t do it all.

But a good career coach will help you identify your weak spots - or the opportunities in front of you - so that you can find the right training, mentorship or qualifications to future-proof your career.

18) You are always late, and can never find anything when you need it

Disorganisation undermines success.

It makes you look unprofessional, and you have to work twice as hard to get things done.

A good career coach will help you implement simply but effective systems that work WITH the grain of who you are. We can also tackle any underlying mindset issues that are contributing to your disorganisation.

I used to be a “late person” - never much, 5 minutes or so. I tried everything, but nothing worked - until I got help to address my underlying limiting belief. And I haven’t been late since.

19) Your work/life balance is out of whack

You’re in the office at 9pm. Again. You haven’t seen your children awake for two days, and you haven’t had a conversation with your partner that doesn’t involve logistics for a week. You are spending too much time at work!

Although it doesn’t even have to be that bad. If you feel like you do not have the time to live a balanced, well-rounded life, which includes family, friends, hobbies and fun AS WELL AS work, then things probably aren’t quite right.

A good career coach will help you identify where the balance has been lost, and identify the actions you need to take to restore it.

Don’t wait for your body to tell you you’ve got it wrong by shutting down, like mine did…

20) You need help building your networks

“Networking”. I love meeting new people, but that word still sends a shiver down my spine. If you are introverted or shy, it can be like walking over broken glass.

But unfortunately, building and maintaining effective networks is a key building block of a successful career. You need people who will have your back in a crisis; or who can open doors that are firmly shut to you.

A good career coach will help you understand what kind of network you need, and help you take the steps necessary to create and nurture it - including helping you overcome emotional blocks like shyness.

21) You feel undervalued, and aren’t getting the recognition you deserve

These days, branding isn’t just for businesses - it’s for individuals too.

Your reputation is what people think about you when you’re not there. It plays a huge part in influencing your success. It is vital to build your personal brand, so that you are valued properly for what you do.

A good career coach will help you understand the reputation you have now, and how to build it to where you want (and need) it to be - and keep it that way.

22) You’ve had burnout and are trying to return to work without getting stressed.

Another one close to my heart, having been there: it is a scary place to be.

You have all the fears that you can’t cope, you’re going to get ill again, or fall apart. But you WANT to work - you enjoy it (and you need the money).

A good career coach will help you through this, supporting you emotionally and practically until you feel ready to fly alone.

23) You have a big presentation coming up, and you’re terrified

Most people are not natural public speakers - otherwise they would have become actors… So it’s completely understandable to feel nervous about presenting to others, especially when it really matters (in a job interview, or to a new boss, or in front of a big audience).

A good career coach will teach you the principles of effective public speaking, and help you hone the content and presentation of your speech.

We can also work separately on your confidence, to make sure that you feel as good as possible about your speech as you walk up to that podium…

24) You’re exhausted, and finding it difficult to perform at work

Managing your energy levels is a crucial skill in this always-on world.

If you don’t understand what your limits are, and how to work within them, you will never have the follow-through you need, when you need it.

A good career coach will help you understand your own energy levels, prioritise the times you need them most, and find ways to preserve and build them for those times.

I know I can keep going well beyond the point I should stop. So I have learned to build breaks into my day, so that I’m not wiped out tomorrow.

25) You’re settling…

You know that your job doesn’t make you happy, deep in your soul. But it pays the bills, and it’s just easier to stay.

Isn’t it…?

Well, possibly. But at what cost?

This first thing I do with a new client looking to change career is discover their values - what are the deep-down principles that make them tick. This may sound airy-fairy, but it’s actually crucial: if you value your family, but you never see them because you work in a presenteeist, long-hours culture, you won’t be happy. If you value honesty, but you feel like you’re having to pretend enthusiasm for something you find boring, you won’t be happy.

A good career coach can help you understand what really matters to you, so that you can then work to build a job around that - not fit your life around your job.


And that’s it!

25 reasons why you really do need a career coach.

One final recommendation: the best time to get a career coach (or any coach) is BEFORE things get desperate.

Don’t wait until you can’t stand your job another minute; or you feel like you are about to collapse.


There are many career coaching services out there.

Somewhere, exactly the right person is ready to help you overcome the obstacle you are facing, so that you can thrive at work.

But how do you know who IS a “good” career coach? How do you find the coach that is going to help you get the results you want?

To get my tips on how to choose the best career coach for you, download my FREE GUIDE HERE.

We spend so many hours at work - let’s make them good ones.

Which of these situations is true for you at the moment? I'd love to hear in the comments…

Kirsten xx