Have you ever paid for an elective and non-life threatening medical procedure that wasn’t covered by insurance? Have you ever paid a lawyer to draft a contract for you? Were you taken back by the cost?

I certainly have been. Therefore I’m sensitive to the way people perceive the cost of our career coaching services. We completely understand when people say that they can’t afford career coaching services. Not everyone can. Some prospective clients are struck with “sticker shock” and are unable to look past the costs to the potential return they can gain from an investment in a career coach.

Without a doubt, the out-of-pocket cost for career coaching is a major consideration. This is true for any big investment. But we encourage our prospective clients to consider these 3 other view points:

  • how dramatically career coaching can change your life for the better
  • how quickly the cost of career coaching is returned to you
  • the life-long benefits you gain from a career expert

At this point, you might be saying, “Wait! You’re a career coach. Of course you think everyone can afford it!” If so, I’m glad you mentioned that and I hope you use the comments below (or contact us) to discuss this topic.

But to start things off, I will say, not everyone should invest in a career coach. Not everyone needs to. There is so much free or low cost career advice, information, insight available to everyone and many people just need a little help. In fact, I write my blog to provide free information to individuals. I want as many people as possible to access the free career information available.

If you are someone who has tried utilizing free resources and hasn’t achieved the progress you hoped for, you might consider working with a career coach. I encourage you to read through the three viewpoints below to consider if spending the money with a career coach is right for you.

What is my happiness worth?

Are you getting tired of the same situation, job after job? If you are in a job or career that you don’t like then you likely aren’t happy. It may also be the case, that you aren’t sure how to find/achieve career happiness. Maybe you tried on your own in the past, but have gotten stuck. Maybe you are out of ideas. Maybe you tried it on your own in the past and didn’t see is a difference. If you were happier at work how would that affect the rest of your life and your personal relationships? How much would you pay to enjoy your job and derive meaning from it? Can a career coach can help you achieve that goal for less than that?

How do I use what I am learning?

Career coaching exists, in part, because most people haven’t been taught how to manage their careers. Even then, if you read every book on career management you still might not be an expert managing your career. A career coach can bring expertise in the areas of coaching and career management to help you apply it to your situation. You are not only improving your immediate career but also learning how to do it – on your own – throughout the rest of your career. Whether you work 10 more years or 40 more, you will be educated and empowered to make the most of your career.

Career coaching is analogous to spending the time and money to go to learn a new skill. You may have had to pay for that education/training in order to get your career to the next level. You used that training to find a job you enjoy and receive compensation for doing that job. You invested in yourself… one of the best bets you can make.

What salary am I giving up right now?

Career coaching often has a very good “ROI” (return on investment). The education and benefits you receive from a career coach can sometimes be used to earn more money many times over what you paid, but also so much more.

  • Did you find a better paying job?
  • A job that made a positive impact on your life or your personal relationships?
  • A career that allowed you to use your gifts and strengths in ways that are aligned with your values?
  • A career that doesn’t cause sadness and stress on Sunday evenings when you think about Monday morning?
  • Did you get a promotion at work?
  • Did you get off unemployment quicker?

All of these scenarios add significant value to your life. What is it worth to you to achieve those results? Put another way, how soon will your investment in career coaching pay you back the money you spent, whether in direct compensation or through dramatic changes in the way you live your life?

Let’s look at an example: if a career coach helped you earn an additional $4,000/year in salary then, even if you spent $3,000 on your coach, you would have made your investment back within 9 months. But don’t forget, that extra $4,000 is now added to your base which future raises are calculated from. Year-after-year you are still earning that $4,000 even if you never get a raise. If a career coach helped you identify a career that allowed you to have more time in your life to enjoy hobbies, travel, etc., what is the price you would put on that?

What’s your career ROI?

Obviously, you have to determine if your situation fits into one of these buckets. I recently signed up for a training program that costs $2,700 up front. At first, I asked, “can we afford this?” We looked at our funds and while we could afford to pay that amount we didn’t want to. But then we took a different view point. We realized that the training would give us the skills to grow our business beyond its current point. This is an investment that gives us lifelong skills, empowers us to think in new ways, and has a positive long-term return on investment.

So I challenge you to look at career coaching through these additional view points, but first make sure you are defining your ROI. What return on investment are you looking for in your career and life? Higher pay? More flexibility? More enjoyment? Insight? Alignment with your values? Lifelong skills? Get clarity on that definition to help you as you make the decision of whether or not to hire a career coach.

You may be interested in these related topics:


, Can you afford a career coach?

Amy Wolfgang

Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.

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