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3 Questions about Career Coaches

Amidst the fast evolving economic situation, career planning and development is now a must-do activity for the us to stay ahead. Based on our survey of 100 people in Singapore, many people want to take ownership of their careers but are struggling to understand what career development means and how they should approach it.

In times of uncertainty or doubt, it's definitely helpful to have someone like a Career Coach who can provide career guidance and advice. However not much is known about this role, specifically what a Career Coach does, how to select a good Career Coach and where to find one. So here are our answers to these 3 important questions you may have about Career Coaches.

What does a Career Coach do?

Some people think that Career Coaches can give them advice and answers to all of their career questions. Some even think Career Coaches are paid to talk, advise and ask questions! If only it was that simple!

Referencing the US National Career Development Association (NCDA) - a century old association of academic research and good practices in the field of career development, they put out a list of 12 skills that Career Coaches need to be skilled in.

Closer to home, we have the Asia Pacific Career Development Association (APCDA) put out a similar list of 19 skills that Career Coaches should have.

So based on these references, Career Coaches use different questioning techniques to help you gain clarity about your career situation. They may use a directive approach (Informing, Advising, Guiding, Mentoring) or non directive approach (Questioning, Facilitating, Coaching) or a blend of both.

Besides using questioning techniques, Career Coaches identify appropriate formal and informal assessment tools and activities to guide discovery and build self awareness. They are in tune with the wider labour market trends and patterns in hiring, growth and decline industries in order to advise you.

Career Coaches help with strategising job search, reviewing your LinkedIn profiles, supporting your resume writing and practice for interviews. Career Coaches are also specialised, giving customised advice and guidance to specific groups of people with different career needs.

Lastly, Career Coaches need to adhere to ethical codes of conduct prescribed by their association or credentialing body. They should be supervised on their practice, to ensure that they are able to give their best to you.

So what makes a good Career Coach?

Identifying a Career Coach is easy but verifying and assessing their services is much harder. It does not help that there is currently no mandatory regulation or licensing requirement that regulates the Career Coach role in Singapore.

Hence the only way to tell whether the Career Coach is competent and effective is based on the list of competencies endorsed by the US and Asia Pacific Career Development associations.

To help you better decide on a Career Coach to support you, we compiled 8 useful questions with answers for you to ask a Career Coach.

  1. Are you trained and certified in the field of Career Development?

  2. What methods and tools do you use in the process of coaching?

  3. Are you supervised by any professional peer or supervisor for your practice?

  4. How have you helped someone with their career situation?

  5. Are you holding any professional memberships with a wider Career Development Association?

  6. Do you subscribe or adhere to any ethical Code of Practice?

  7. What are some of your professional development activities to keep your practice fresh?

  8. How do you keep yourself updated in the labour market practices and trends?

Where can I find a Career Coach?

When selecting a coach or external company for coaching services, Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware) principle applies. Do check the track record and credentials of Career Coaches and the Career Service Provider before deciding.

If you are a Singaporean or PR, there is complimentary career advisory and job matching services provided through the Government Workforce Singapore's Career Connect and the union Employment and Employability Institute (e2i).

If you are a student at a local Polytechnic, or autonomous University, check out your school’s career service office and speak to a Education and Career Guidance Officer.

If you are looking for something more specialised and personalised, do consider engaging private sector Career Services. Avodah People Solutions delivers quality career services to help you find purpose and meaning in your career. Our people are trained and certified in the area of career development and also have industry experience and a good track record of helping people with their careers. Talk to us today!


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