Career Coaches, Career Coaching

Last Updated: 03/31/2024

Relational Map coming soon. Learn more about the work we’re doing with AI and view our example prototypes here.


Career coaching is an industry that has grown exponentially in the last decade as the learn-and-work ecosystem has become more chaotic and confusing. As rapid changes in the workforce require more upskilling and reskilling, and as employers increasingly focus on skills, career advising, and navigation services are needed to help individuals make sound educational and career choices.

There is a difference between a career coach and career counselor, but these terms are often used synonymously. 

Career coaches are experts in skills such as career planning, resumé building, negotiation, and interviewing. They often work independently, serving clients from various groups. A career coach helps working professionals and recent graduates make educated decisions about their careers. Career coaches focus on actions, results, and accountability, seeking to inspire and empower their clients to set and achieve career goals.

Career counselors work mostly with the younger population, such as college students and recent graduates. They are frequently found in community colleges, universities, nonprofit organizations, and high schools.  

Most career coaches have a background in human resources, case management, education, social work, etc. They also have training and experience in resumé and letter writing, salary negotiations, interviewing skills, career assessments (e.g., Myers Briggs Type Inventory), and aptitude tests. Coaches use these assessments to help clients discover the most suitable professions for them. Many coaches have completed coach training and certification.

Coaches provide human-centered, personalized information focused on helping workers make complex, high-stakes decisions. They include counselors who provide career services to unemployed clients at American Job Centers, career advisors at community colleges, and staff at community-based organizations such as Goodwill or United Way. They help workers understand how their skills translate to good jobs in industries that are hiring in their community; determine whether education and training will put them in a better position to succeed; compare the available education and training options to determine which programs will best meet their needs; and identify support services during times of transition.

Relationship to Ecosystem

Career coaching has an important role within the learn-and-work ecosystem. Students and recent graduates are trying to make choices about their education and career paths, and more experienced workers are making job transitions and plotting their career journeys. Career coaching also is increasingly recognized as a lifetime need; it can be helpful at any point during the work life of a professional—from finding the first job at the start of a career, to guiding next steps or transitions, even to retirement.

Alternate Terminology

Career Advisors


August 31, 2022Workforce Monitor - (FEATURE ARTICLE)INNOVATIVE ORGANIZATIONS by George Lorenzo  

Master Coach University

Markle Foundation website 

Rework America Alliance Trusts 39 Key Partnerships to Drive Efforts to Help Low-income, Non-degreed Working Adults Advance into Better Jobs

Request an Edit

Have something to add or refine? Your input in this work matters greatly and we look forward to reviewing your additions

Organizations (275)

Initiatives (309)

Topics (93)

Skip to content