Case Study: How Coaching Can Help Boost Your Career Development

Achieving Goals
04/10/23 - Cait Swamy
woman waving her hand at the computer

The names and circumstances behind this case study have been altered to maintain client confidentiality. 

When you need career advice, where do you typically turn? Do you consult a close friend for guidance on how to navigate a difficult situation at work? Do you ask your partner what they would do if they weren’t getting promoted at work? Maybe you turn to Google to understand how to heal from Corporate Trauma.

The truth is our friends, partners, and the internet are not always qualified resources to support you in the way that you need because they don’t have the expertise to help you achieve your personal goals.

Career Coaching is a mechanism to take hold of your career and hold yourself accountable for achieving your career goals so you can reach your personal and professional potential. A career coach is a neutral third party that has been trained in helping clients look objectively at their current situation to further their professional development.

Beyond that, working with the right coach can help you define your career path, align your work with your personal life, and truly become a trusted partner for you as you build your dream career.

Good career coaches meet you where you are in your career journey and help you see your career as a creative process.

woman working on her laptop

But how exactly does coaching help you boost your career? 

When most of us think of career coaching, we think about assistance with career changes and the job search: resume building, writing cover letters, updating your LinkedIn profile, and interview preparation. At Ama La Vida we do all that, but there are so many other ways beyond helping job seekers in that hiring a career coach can help you with your career journey. In a world where we are flooded with content and knowledge is at our fingertips, it can be hard to see the why you’d actually need to hire a career coach.

The many benefits of working with a certified career coach make it a worthwhile investment into your career and your future. To demonstrate these benefits, I want to introduce you to a former client of mine and explain just how this young woman’s life and relationship to her career shifted because of career coaching.   

Meet Rio.

young woman

Rio is a young professional in her second job out of college. She was feeling stuck navigating that challenging crossroads many young professionals find themselves in when they have enough experience to not be entry-level, but not enough to be promoted into leadership. At this in-between point, it can be hard for many professionals to effectively position themselves for the next step. Their managers often say, “You’re doing a great job, but you’re just not quite ready for that next step.”

Rio’s job situation is a perfect example of when working with a career coach can be extremely helpful, even if you’re not job searching. Your professional goals can be bigger than getting a new job! Your career growth is important at all stages of your career.

She came to career coaching to understand how she could develop in her current role without the promise that she would be promoted due to budget constraints in her organization. 

Career coaching can help you build confidence & connection. 

In my initial call with Rio it was clear her confidence was low. She doubted her abilities because work came quite easily to her. Was there something she was missing?

Generally speaking, with my clients seeking to build confidence, I always start with what is right with them: Their strengths.

Through this positive psychology approach, Rio was able to recognize her strengths and where she could utilize them better at work. The tasks that were coming easily to her aligned with her strengths.

What was missing was her ability to leverage her Strategic Thinking strength on a daily basis. Through further coaching sessions, we were able to recognize special project opportunities where Rio might leverage Strategic Thinking on a more regular basis which increased her confidence.

She was better able to recognize the aspects of her work that she connected with and aligned with her strengths to rebuild her motivation and confidence. 

Career coaching can help you enhance your skills. 

There is no doubt that we are facing uncertain economic times. From uncertainty in the job market to the overall economy. Even if you’re fortunate to be employed like my client Rio, it can feel daunting and demotivating when your manager keeps saying that you’re exceeding expectations, but your pay isn’t matching your exceptional performance and you’re not seeing the career advancement you know you’re ready for.

With Rio, we explored the skillsets she’d like to further explore to better understand where she might go next in her career progression. What we found through the exploration is that there was a desire to be exposed to other departments where she could learn and develop new skills.

Through targeted 1-1 conversations with her manager, she was able to identify opportunities to work cross-functionally with other departments to enhance the skills she wanted to hone. While a promotion was not likely in the near future, these opportunities allowed Rio to grow and learn while building connections with other departments for future potential job opportunities.

Career coaching can empower you with knowledge & wisdom 

When navigating tricky conversations with your manager about your career development, a career coach can fill in those knowledge gaps so that you can feel confident about taking the reins on your career.

While Rio’s boss supported her with finding special projects and cross-functional work, he very rarely offered Rio the feedback she needed to grow and develop. She wanted to build her leadership skills, but without clear direction, she didn’t know where to start.

PSA: Telling your employee “You’re just not ready for that promotion yet” is NOT good feedback.

Through providing our Ama La Vida Feedback Framework, Rio was able to be equipped with the knowledge to manage up with her leader, while also sharing with him what good feedback truly looked like. Moving forward, she had more frequent and honest feedback conversations with her manager which helped her understand her blindspots more easily. 

Career Coaching can help you achieve your career goals. 

Career coaching is all about where you are today and where you want to go in the future. Ama La Vida career coaches specialize in creating EPIC goals. They help you identify what your long-term goal is and break that down into small, actionable steps. Rio wanted that promotion and through our work together found great benefit in exploring other aspects of the business.

By exploring these other cross-functional teams she was able to execute her short-term goal of building new skills while tackling her longer-term goal of landing a promotion. Rio has now successfully transitioned to a new team within the business and that move landed her the promotion she hoped for! 

Rio’s story is one of many Ama La Vida Coaching success stories. Career Coaching has the power to boost your career development even if you aren’t looking to transition out of your current role or organization. 

If you’re reading this, you’re likely curious about what to do next in your career and how to move beyond (or within) your current job. While many people come to career coaching while they’re in the midst of a job search or even larger career transition, most career coaches can and do recommend seeking support around overall career planning to ensure you’re staying ahead of your goals.

Want to learn more about how a career coach can help you?

Schedule time with us here to learn more about Ama La Vida’s career coaching services. We promise to keep you accountable to knocking out your short-term goal and get you closer and closer to your long-term dream, one step at a time.


What is career coaching?

Career coaching is a process where a trained professional provides guidance and support to individuals looking to improve or advance their careers. Career coaching can help people explore what success in their career means to them, create a plan for growth, and develop the skills and strategies needed to succeed in their chosen field.

Career coaches can also assist with job searching, resume building, interview preparation, and overall career development. The focus of career coaching is on the individual’s personal and professional potential and how to effectively position themselves for career growth and job satisfaction.

What do you do in career coaching?

In career coaching, a coach will work with you to identify your goals, skills, strengths, and weaknesses. They’ll help you create a plan of action to achieve your career goals and provide guidance and support as you work towards them.

While session structure will vary from coach to coach, typically there will be a combination of reflective questioning, exploration, and then more tactical assignments and follow-ups from each coaching session.

During the coaching process, you may work on a variety of topics such as clarifying your career goals, developing job search strategies, improving your interview skills, networking, building your personal brand, negotiating job offers, and developing leadership skills. The specific focus of coaching will depend on your individual needs and goals. The coach may also provide assessments, exercises, and other resources to help you gain insight into yourself and your career. Ultimately, the goal of career coaching is to empower you to take control of your career, reach your potential, and find fulfillment in your work.

What does a career coach provide?

A career coach provides various services to help individuals achieve their career goals. Many coaches may provide guidance on job search strategies, resume building, interview preparation, networking, and salary negotiation.

Additionally, a career coach can help clients gain clarity on their career aspirations and identify their strengths and areas for development. They can also help clients develop a plan of action to achieve their goals, providing accountability and support along the way.

Ultimately, a career coach works with clients to help them reach their full potential and achieve success in their careers.

How do I know if I need a career coach?

If you’re feeling stuck in your current job or unsure about your career path, a career coach could be a valuable resource to help you clarify your goals, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and develop a plan to achieve your desired outcomes. If you’re struggling with job interviews or the job search process in general, a career coach can provide support and guidance to help you land your next job.

If you’re considering a career change, a career coach can help you navigate the transition and explore your options. Ultimately, a career coach can provide you with the tools, resources, and support you need to achieve your career objectives and reach your full potential.

Is it worth it to pay for a career coach?

Working with a career coach can be a transformative experience for your career development. Here are some specific reasons why investing in a career coach can be worth it:

  1. Personalized guidance: A career coach provides tailored advice and support that is specific to your unique situation, strengths, and goals. They can help you identify blind spots in your career, pinpoint areas where you need improvement, and provide a roadmap to help you achieve your desired outcomes.
  2. Accountability: A career coach can help keep you accountable to your goals, which can be especially helpful if you tend to procrastinate or struggle with follow-through. They can help you stay on track, provide regular check-ins, and help you stay motivated throughout the process.
  3. Expanded Network: A career coach often has a wide network of contacts in various industries and can provide introductions to professionals in your desired field. This can be helpful when you’re looking for job opportunities or trying to make connections in your industry.
  4. Objective Perspective: A career coach can provide an outside perspective on your career and help you identify blind spots that you may not have considered on your own. They can also help you see your strengths and weaknesses objectively and provide guidance on how to leverage your strengths to achieve your goals.
  5. Faster Results: Working with a career coach can help you achieve your goals faster than you might on your own. By having a clear plan and a supportive coach to guide you, you can make progress towards your desired outcomes more efficiently and effectively.

Overall, while there is a cost associated with hiring a career coach, the benefits of gaining clarity, direction, and confidence in your career can be well worth the investment.

What is the difference between a career coach and a career counselor?

While both a career coach and a career counselor can be valuable resources for your career development, there are some key differences between the two.

A career counselor is a professional who provides guidance and support to individuals who are trying to make important career decisions. They typically have advanced training in counseling and psychology, and their goal is to help individuals explore their interests, skills, values, and personality traits to identify potential career paths that align with their unique strengths and personal goals.

Career counselors may use a variety of techniques and assessments to help individuals gain clarity and confidence in their career decisions. This could include administering personality tests, providing job market research, conducting mock interviews, or helping individuals create resumes and cover letters. Ultimately, a career counselor’s goal is to help individuals make informed decisions that lead to fulfilling and successful careers.

On the other hand, a career coach is typically focused on helping you optimize your career path, no matter where you are on your journey. They can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, develop a career plan, and provide guidance and support as you work towards your objectives.

In summary, while both a career coach and a career counselor can be helpful in different ways, a career coach is typically focused on specific career goals and providing practical guidance to help you achieve them.

What is the difference between a career coach and a mentor?

While both a career coach and a mentor can help guide you in your career, their overall approaches are quite different. A mentor is typically someone who has experience in your industry and is willing to share their knowledge and insights with you. They can offer advice and support, but they are not necessarily trained to provide structured coaching. A mentor will tell you, “This is what has worked for me,” or “This is what I’d do in your situation.”

On the other hand, a career coach is a trained professional who can offer guidance and support in a more structured and personalized way. They can help you identify your strengths, clarify your goals, and develop a plan to achieve them. They may also provide tools and resources to help you build specific skills and overcome obstacles. Ultimately, a career coach can provide more comprehensive and personalized support to help you reach your career aspirations.

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