10 Skills That Every Career Coach Must Possess

career coaching
November 15, 2022
Table of Contents

Career coaching can be a rewarding experience (as well as a financially lucrative one), especially for those who have a passion and true desire to help others advance in their chosen professions.  

A career coach helps with everything from career retuning to settling into a higher position or demanding job, recharging a slumbering career, transitioning into unknown sectors and mid-career changes. It even includes advising freshers on professional options, interview prep, conducting effective job searches and more.  

Against this backdrop of life-changing decisions, having the right skillsets is very important for a career coach to guide their clients in their professional growth.  

Read on for the 10 most important career coaching skills every career coach must possess…  

1. Social skills  

Interpersonal skills and effective communication are important qualities that all coaches need to possess. This includes: 

  • Active listening – Being a good listener, without interruptions, and assimilating all the information that the client is divulging to understand the client’s true requirements. 
  • Empathy – Strong but empathetic communication (both verbal and written) is also an asset to be able to effectively convey viewpoints and feedback. 
  • Attention to detail – An eye for the fine points can be handy while helping your client  
    prepare resumes or other documents, matching the client’s skillset with suitable job openings, preparing for interviews, etc. 

2. Business skills  

Running your own career coaching business means that in addition to having qualities for core coaching, you also need to have a grasp of the administrative side of the coaching practice. Handling multiple schedules, coordinating legalities, sales and marketing, clerical tasks, as well as customer service are some of the managerial duties that a career coach needs to know and carry out.  

3. Ability to build connections  

Forging connections is one of the cornerstones of coaching, be it with the client or with fellow professionals. Joining a coaches’ community or network, attending conferences, seminars, etc. are a good opportunity to build professional relationships. Not only can you expand your connections, you can also learn a lot from other coaching professionals, share common problems and find a solution, become aware of new coaching trends and techniques or even gain client referrals from other coaches. 

4. Understanding different industries & job markets 

As a career coach you must have your finger on the pulse of the job market. Make sure that you keep yourself abreast of the happenings in various industries, study the markets, research upcoming sectors that may offer lucrative career opportunities, keep track of latest industry trends, monitor job listings, find out which sectors have the potential for growth in the near future, etc. All this information will help you provide your clients with real time guidance and steer them towards the best job prospects. 

5. Resume writing skills  

If you have an excellent command over grammar and language, adding resume writing skills to your offered services can only be a value addition. Many career coaches don’t offer this expertise, but it is one of the in-demand services. You can help clients with spruce up their resumes with relevant content, tailoring them for SEO compliant searches with appropriate keywords, type setting them in readable formats for both mobile and desktop applications, and generally converting amateurish efforts into polished professional résumés.  The odds of a well written resume being picked up by head-hunters or HR personnel are much higher, thus improving your client’s chances of getting noticed.  

6. A comprehensive grasp of career advancement 

As a career coach you must have the entire career development process mapped out. From assessing a client’s strength & limitations to analysing professional information, making them aware of their hidden talents, encouraging them to pursue their dream job backed by solid planning and action steps to helping them achieve their professional goals. In addition, you need to be cognizant of the latest career options and job search strategies that will deliver maximum results, and the ins and outs of the application & interview process to prepare the client for any eventualities.  

7. An eye for strengths & weaknesses  

As a career coach you need to correctly evaluate your client’s strengths and weaknesses, only then can you guide them towards making informed career decisions. Ensure that their skillsets match the job search, that they don’t aim much higher than their abilities nor do they accept options that they are overqualified for. Continued assessments and unbiased & honest feedback from the career coach can help the client gain self-awareness of their skills, drawbacks as well as opportunities that they should explore. 

8. Ability to efficiently create customized plans  

Every client that you coach will have different qualifications, requirements, challenges and opportunities. As a career coach you need to ensure that you chart out a personalised career strategy and road map that is based on their capabilities, professional situation, interests and objectives, while working efficiently to handle multiple clients at a time. 

9. Ability to motivate and encourage clients 

Most clients are looking not only for guidance but also encouragement, motivation and positivity that will enable them to make career changes. An effective career coach knows when to praise true effort, counsel restraint, encourage getting out of the comfort zone, provide solid support against challenges and urge clients to not give up in spite of unfavourable results.  

10. Know-how to promote own business  

As a career coach operating in an ultra-competitive field, you need to make sure that clients are aware of your services. Being an excellent career coach won’t amount to much if no one knows of your business. You need to make use of the many available platforms to market your career coaching practice. A fully functioning website (almost all clients search for services and products online), developing suitable content related to your coaching practice, use of social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, blogs, informative articles, podcasts, webinars, email marketing, paid ads, etc. are some of the ways in which you can promote your business and engage potential clients.  

As a career coach you will need to put on multiple hats – advisor, supporter, challenger, motivator and a trusted ally in the client’s professional transformation. To don all these roles and build a successful career coaching practice, it is necessary that you equip yourself with all these career coaching skills (or develop those that are lacking) and guide your clients towards professional progress. 


1. What skills do you need to be a career coach? 

The desire and passion to help others, strong communication & networking skills, competent administrative capabilities, ability to truly understand the client’s requirements, deep knowledge of the job markets and industry trends, resume writing skills, ability to chart out career transformation road maps, evaluate the client’s strong points, weaknesses, unknown talents, knack for marketing one’s career coaching business are some of the important skills that a career coach must possess.   

2. What makes a great career coach? 

A great career coach is someone who inspires, educates, guides, supports and becomes a partner in the client’s professional journey of self-discovery. However, a successful career coaching engagement requires the client to accept responsibility and commit to the entire coaching process. So, to become great, you need to have equally responsive clients, so together you can achieve real career transformation and advancement. 

About Simply.Coach

Simply.Coach is an enterprise-grade coaching software designed to be used by individual coaches and coaching businesses. Trusted by ICF-accredited and EMCC-credentialed coaches worldwide, Simply.Coach is on a mission to elevate the experience and process of coaching with technology-led tools and solutions.  

About the author

An avid reader with love for books on history, sci-fi and popular fiction, Pallavi is a gifted content writer. She is also a keen listener of Indian semi & classical music. Currently, she juggles her duties of being a full-time mom with part-time content writing.

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