Career Transition Coaching: A Quick Guide

September 17, 2018 by Josh Hrala

As technology has continued to march steadily into the future, outplacement services have followed by utilizing the power of the internet to help displaced workers find new roles. However, the backbone to every great outplacement service is career transition coaching.

But what exactly is career transition coaching and what does a career transition coach actually do for their clients?

Let’s dig in.

What Is Career Transition Coaching?

First off, we need to make a distinction. Career transition coaching isn’t the same thing as a recruiter or ‘headhunter.’

Coaches coach, which seems like a simple enough definition but things can get muddy when it comes to our everyday terminology.

For example, a career transition coach is someone specifically trained to help a client navigate a career change. Normally, this type of coaching is sought out after a layoff or reduction in force (RIF) to help the client get through the tough transition into a new role.

A recruiter or talent manager, on the other hand, may help people find jobs who are currently employed or may work for specific companies to help find them the right talent.

A career transition coach works closely with their clients to help them understand their job search by helping them craft a resume and social profiles, perform online and in-person networking, and – eventually – prep for an interview that will hopefully land them a job.

They do not reach out to companies to see if they can place individuals or anything like that. The client is in total control of their destiny, but the coach is there for them to lean on, providing valuable tips, tricks, and support during a stressful career transition.

In summary, career transition coaching is a a support system designed to help individuals specifically going through a career transition land a new role by working with them on various aspects of the job hunt in ways that a normal recruiter wouldn’t.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at what career transition coaching actually does for displaced workers.

What Do the Best Career Transition Coaching Experts Offer?

When looking at an outplacement program, it’s important to pay close attention to how their coaches operate and what they offer your staff member. After all, you are paying so that the provider will get your staff member back to work in a new role quickly and without all of the stress, right?

Here is what you should expect from expert career transition coaching staffs:

  • The designated coach is an expert in the client’s specific field
  • They offer flexible support and are available when the client needs them
  • Virtual coaching is offered (allowing people to not travel to a physical office)
  • They are tech-savvy and forward-thinking
  • They are understandable and open to the client’s needs
  • They retain current and up-to-date knowledge of the ever-changing job market

The common thread throughout this list is that the career transition coach is flexible and knowledgeable. They firmly understand the modern-day job search but they are also able to work with employees with various needs.

Coaching in the past was all about group sessions, traveling into a major city for advice, and – generally – having clients leave disappointed with the care they received.

Those days should be over thanks to modern technology and the fact that most of today’s workers will find jobs online.

This means it is vital that great career transition coaching teams offer the ability to work virtually with their clients and also keep up-to-date on the current methodologies surrounding the job hunt.

What to Expect When Meeting with a Career Transition Coach?

With all that said, it can seem a little confusing to think about what a career transition coaching team might do on the first couple of days working with a client, but it’s actually a very logical, well-thought out process.

Now, every client is different, requiring different strategies and different approaches, but generally career transition coaching works as follows:

  • An introduction interview for the coach to understand the needs of the client (and to onboard them to any digital systems that might be used to aid the job search)
  • A plan is put down on paper that both parties agree on
  • Resumes are updated to modern formats (hopefully, the outplacement firm will use expert resume writers and keyword tools to help clients get through application tracking systems)
  • Social networks created (LinkedIn updates, for example)
  • Help navigating digital job boards
  • Help understand the power of online networking
  • Interview prep
  • Landing the job

This is a very brief, cut-and-dry list of activities. A lot of things vary from person to person, which is perfectly fine because career transition coaches should be ultra-flexible.

For any given person, they may need more help with certain areas than they do with others. For example, one person may need a ton of interview help because they are nervous and haven’t interviewed for a new role in years, while another may not understand how to actually find a new role or how to write a wonderful resume.

The best coaches are ready for these situations, no matter what they are or how complex they seem.

Career Transition Coaching and Outplacement Services

Most of the time, coaching is a part of a larger outplacement & career transition service.

In today’s digitally-driven world, the human element that coaches offer is still vital for a program’s overall success.

As a quick refresher, outplacement is a service that is offered by companies – usually through a third-party vendor – that helps workers impacted by a layoff or RIF get back to work quickly after an event.

The best outplacement service providers employ digital tools, such as online learning systems, social networking, and resume tools (keyword optimization, etc) and career transition coaching services.

Together, these two aspects of outplacement help workers find new roles quickly without all of the headaches offered by old-school providers who generally work in groups and require participants to travel long distances to receive coaching.

Those days are over. So, when you are looking for an outplacement provider you need to make sure that they offer both – a great platform for participants to learn and utilize coupled with the human side (career transition coaches) – in order to ensure the success of your outbound worker.

You can learn all about the outplacement process here. If you are curious about pricing, download our guide by clicking below:

Download the pricing information for our outplacement programs here.

Career Transition Coaching: Takeaways

When it comes to career transition coaching services, flexibility and expertise are the two major areas you need to look into.

Is the coach up to date on the current job market? Are they ready and willing to tackle any problem that their client may have? Do they allow clients to work remotely with them so that they do not have to travel if they do not want to?

All of these things add up to a great experience for your employee, which is exactly why you offered outplacement in the first place.

Josh Hrala

Josh Hrala

Josh is an HR journalist and ghostwriter who's been covering outplacement and offboarding for over six years. Before pivoting to the HR world, he was a science journalist whose work can be found in Popular Science, ScienceAlert, The Huffington Post, Cracked, Modern Notion, and more.

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