So, you’re thinking about working with a career counselor, and you’re wondering:

1) how long the process might take and how many sessions you should expect (so you can estimate cost)

2) how soon will you see results

If you’re also looking to learn about a career coach’s success rates before hiring him/her, see this post on why that question may not have an easy answer.


I have data from 1,000+ clients per year, across 50+ coaches.  Here’s what I see:

15% of people have 6-10 meetings with a career coach.

62% of people have 3-5 meetings with a career coach.

23% of people have 1-2 meetings with a career coach.

For the times when people see a career coach once or maybe twice, their questions are (relatively) straightforward:  How do I edit my resume?  Can I practice interviewing?   I have two job offers, and I can’t decide, can you help?  These are job-search tactical questions or short-term issues that may take 3-5 meetings, or more.

For more strategic questions around career changes, the career coaching process takes a little longer.  (The way I see it, it took a while to create the career dilemma, and it takes a while to solve it, typically.) When someone’s looking to switch careers, the majority have 6+ meetings.  It can vary by person; some people are good at researching on their own, networking and decision-making, and others need much more support.

HOW SOON CAN I EXPECT RESULTS? If you have a tactical issue (resume, interviewing, LinkedIn, etc.), you should be able to get your questions answered fairly quickly (within days or weeks) and put your knowledge into practice in your job search. If, however, you want to do some career assessment work, career field exploration, or deeper thinking about your career strategy, the process can take months or possibly years (especially if there’s schooling required).

DOES IT VARY BY CAREER COACH? Yes!  Each career coach is different; they all have different career assessments they use, approaches to the career coaching process, and tips/tools they find useful for clients.   Some coaches offer ongoing career support, and some offer a package of services with meetings over time.    Some coaches are more tactically focused, and some offer long-term and on-the-job career growth coaching.

MY ADVICE: Speak with the coach you have in mind; tell them a little bit about your situation, and ask how they’d approach working with you to help you solve your career issue.  They’ll be unable to tell you with 100% certainty how many meetings you’d need; that, ultimately, will be up to you.