Wondering what on earth you can do as an alternative to teaching? Pondering whether your skills from the classroom can be put to good use elsewhere? Well, why not consider career coaching? A job for those who enjoy helping others and have an interest in personal development.
In this post, I’m going to share with you what exactly a career coach does, as well as the qualifications/skills you will need.
You’ll also get a chance to read some notes from Christine, a career coach who made the transition from teaching to coaching.
What is Career Coaching?
Career coaching helps people who feel stuck in an aspect of their career. It could be that they are considering leaving and starting something completely different. Or it might be that they want to progress within a career they’re already passionate about. In the case of my guest, Christine, she specialises in supporting mums who want to return to work.
Coaching helps people get from where they are, to where they want to be. Career coaches specialise in supporting clients to achieve their career goals, which are unique and individual to them.
Sometimes, as in my case, coaches work with clients who are looking for support in a career that the coach has personal experience in.
What Skills/Qualifications Do I Need?
Now this is a sensitive topic among coaches. Currently, there’s no requirement to have a coaching qualification in order to start a coaching business.
Personally, this doesn’t sit well with me. Coaching is a skill to learn, to give the client the most valuable experience possible. Not everyone will agree with me, but personally, I’d want someone who has been through some sort of training.
Having said that, some coaches who strike out on their own have often had some training within their organisation or have years of experience. Just without the shiny diploma to show for it. You need to do what feels right for you. If you’ve never coached before, I’d always go for a qualification. It equips you to give your clients the best experience possible and gives you greater confidence.
Career coaches tend to start off with a basic life coaching qualification and then do further qualifications within the career coaching niche. But it’s not always necessary to. If you’re interested in looking at what coaching qualifications can offer, here are some reputable companies that offer training:
NB – I’m not endorsing any of these companies – a good rule of thumb is to find a company accredited with the International Coaching Federation (ICF)
There are lots of transferable skills between teaching and career coaching. Being an excellent listener comes at the top of the list, but that’s part of a teacher’s job on a daily basis, right?
You also need to have:
- Great questioning skills
- A good level of empathy
- An ability to help people set goals
- An observant nature
- Good communication skills
This isn’t an exhaustive list and I’m sure many coaches would add further skills to it, but it should give you a good idea of the skills you need.
As mentioned above, it can also help to have experience within the career you’re supporting people in, but it’s not essential. I find that it helps me be more empathetic, as I have lots of experience working in schools, so I know how many teachers feel and the experiences they go through.
What Job Opportunities Are There?
Many coaches are self-employed, so that is an opportunity in itself. You might think that everyone you speak to seems to be a coach, but it’s not a saturated market because everyone brings something unique to their coaching practice, in their particular niche.
You can be employed as a coach within the corporate sector, but this needs experience within this field and is quite challenging to get into. It also requires you to have hundreds of hours of coaching under your belt, which isn’t often likely if you come from a teaching background.
It is possible to use coaching skills within a consulting career – mixing up giving advice and asking pertinent questions to help clients think for themselves. It’s important to share this approach with any potential clients, so that they know the mix they’re getting. This tends to be my approach and it works well for me.
How much do Career Coaches Earn?
As many career coaches own their own coaching business, they are at liberty to charge what they wish to. It tends to range between £75 per hour to £150 per hour. But again, you can set your fee when you start out. It doesn’t have to stay at that fee forever, but this is a good starting point.
One great thing about owning your own coaching business is that, once you’re established, you can decide whether you want to work full-time or part-time. You can fit the hours around your other commitments, e.g. the kids. You can decide what salary you want to earn each year and create your own hours based on that.
Notes from a Career Coach
I’ve been lucky enough to recently get to know Christine from Christine Walker Coaching (IG handle: @christinewalkercoaching) I’m thrilled that, as a former teacher, she’s given some words of wisdom about her experience of transitioning from teacher to career coach. Christine lives and works in New York.
‘I always have been and probably always will be a teacher at heart. I’m the oldest child in my family and I love to learn. Naturally, I spent my childhood sharing everything I learned with my little sisters. My mother is a professor and my father is a brilliant teacher in his own right, so teaching is in my blood. One of my sisters is a teacher as well.
However, something I wish I’d understood when I was younger is how many different ways there are to teach. That might have helped me find my current path more easily.
After majoring in education, I began teaching theatre and dance. I loved my job, but I was at work running rehearsals until well after midnight for a good portion of the year. I was also up late at home planning my lessons every other night too. After having children, I knew that the lifestyle I had been living as a teacher would be unsustainable.
So I quit.
And spent the next 15 years trying to figure out how to go back.
Looking to the future
I missed the sense of meaning and purpose I felt when I was teaching. I missed interacting with my students every day and having a reason to get dressed in the morning! After interviewing for several positions, I concluded that I needed more flexibility than a traditional teaching job could offer me.
Finally, after years of frustration, I changed the way I was looking at my problem. I realised that I wanted to use what I know to help people. So, I went back to school and got my coaching certification. I’m currently working on my counselling licence too.
And even though I’m no longer teaching, I was able to find a career that captures the essence of what I loved about teaching in a way that works with my lifestyle.
It’s the perfect fit for me.
Is Career Coaching the Alternative Career for You?
If career coaching sounds like a great alternative career for you, why not look into it further? It’s not for everyone, but you definitely have transferable skills from your teaching career, including oodles of empathy and superb listening skills.
What appeals to me most about being a career coach is that I help people who are feeling stuck and frustrated. There’s nothing better than seeing the joy and motivation on a client’s face when they work out a plan to leave teaching. When they find a better balance with a new job.
It really is a wonderful feeling.
I offer coaching to support teachers to build a new career outside of the classroom. Why not check out my Coaching page and get in touch if you’d like to book in a FREE discovery call to discuss things further.