Career Coaching vs. Clarity Coaching – What’s the Difference?

Amy Magyar, Coach

When I first started coaching 14 years ago, I’d get asked “What is a Coach?” way more than I do now. This is a wonderful thing because that tells me that more and more people are seeking Coaches or at least understand what a Coach is. It also tells me that coaching is becoming a more accepted form of support in one’s career, life, or business.

However, the question I do find myself answering often is “What is the difference between job search coaching and clarity career coaching?” Good question!

“Isn’t it all career coaching?” Yes and no…

FromWithin Coaching is proud to support hundreds of clients each year—from students to seasoned professionals. We love helping clients find a career that brings them happiness. It’s our specialty. But in order to understand how we can help you, it’s important for you to understand the difference between these two different types of career coaching – job search coaching and clarity coaching – so you can consider what might be the best fit for your specific situation.

Job Search Coaching is for you if you are asking yourself any of these questions:

  • I haven’t been able to find a job in the industry that I love – what am I doing wrong?
  • I know what I want to do for a living, but it is hard to break into that industry – how do you suggest I do that?
  • I’d like to apply to a position at the next level in my industry, but I think I’ll need to find a different company than my current one in order to get the salary I want. How do I do a job search in a small industry and not get “found out” that I am job searching?
  • How do I interview with a company and explain why I was let go from my old company?
  • I am overwhelmed by the job search process – where do I start?
  • How do I explain my job gap in my resume?
  • How come I apply to jobs that I am qualified for, but get little to no responses?
  • I am unemployed and just need a job – how do I get a job for now that will help me build my experience for my ideal job?
  • How do I negotiate a salary that matches my experience without insulting the company who made the initial offer?

And so on…

What you’ll see is a theme of strategy – “how” or “what” is the key in these questions. A job search coaching client is seeking strategy, tactics, steps, and hints on how to handle a job search.

Career Clarity Coaching is for you if you are asking yourself any of these questions:

  • What do I want to be when I grow up?
  • I feel stuck in my current role (job, industry, level) and I am not sure what might be next for my career…can you help me get clear?
  • I know I can do this kind of work, but do I still want to do this kind of work – how can I figure that out?
  • I want to gain clarity on how I can take my current skills and make them transferrable in a new industry – I just can’t see the connection, can you help?
  • There is so much I want to do, but I just can’t seem to focus on one thing – how can I focus when I love doing so many different kinds of things?
  • I wake up each morning and think how much I hate my job, but I don’t know what I want instead – how can I get clear on what I do want?
  • I want to make a change, but I feel stuck by the “Golden Handcuffs” of the security of the job I am currently in – how do I learn to take those cuffs off?
  • I don’t even know what is out there outside of my current industry – how do I get clear on where to look and what to look for?

What you’ll see is a theme of following up on the “what” and “how” with the “why.” Clarity Coaching is more about purpose and why you want to pursue a career. It helps you identify the problems holding you back from getting clear. Clarity comes by brainstorming solutions that value your strengths and individuality. This greater self-awareness will not only allow you to shift to experience yourself, others and the world in a much more positive way, but will also help you better understand what you need in a career in order to find greater meaning, purpose and fulfillment. And that is the frame you can use in your job search.

To sum it up: Clarity first – Job Search second. You don’t want to leave it to chance that you’ll find your dream job based on who is hiring the week you look at your career alerts, Indeed, or wherever you’re searching.

Now that you know the difference, it’s up to you to ask yourself: “What support do I really need?” Is it getting clear on what might be next in your career, or how to get there?

Finally, to lock in the learning I hope I was able to offer, as a lover of metaphors, I’d be remiss if I didn’t use one to explain the difference.

Job searching coaching is for you if you’re driving your “car” on empty with the orange fuel light on and there is no gas station in sight. You need strategy to find the gas station.

Clarity career coaching is for you when you don’t know which car to get into in the first place!

Still not sure? No problem. We offer free exploratory calls to help you determine whether you need fuel or the clarity on which car to drive.


Amy Magyar, PCC, M.Ed.

Coach of Coaches

Owner/Founder of FromWithin Coaching

Final thought: With heavy rains flooding parts of the east, I write this blog post respectfully and by no means mean to make light of the flooding that is happening. For those who are being touched by this deluge of water, I send you thoughts of safety to your families and your homes.


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