Alumni Career Coaches FAQ


How does career coaching work? What does the process look like?

  • The process is a collaboration meant to support you in understanding what you bring to potential employers and selecting the best strategies to showcase your talent. Career coaching can take on many forms defined by your needs and your coaches’ methods. The goal of a career coach is to support people in making informed decisions about their career development and trajectory, as well as offer various tools that they can use, including résumés, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, personality tests, interest inventories, and accomplishment exercises and job-description analyses. While their methods may vary, clients can reasonably expect to gain career confidence, insight, encouragement and inspiration.

How much does coaching cost?

  • The cost of career coaching varies from coach to coach. Most of our career coaches offer a free information session ranging from 15 minutes to one hour, and a discount of 10-30% for Duke alumni. In addition, many of our coaches offer a sliding scale based on your circumstances. Always contact the coach of your interest for current rates and more details.

What is Duke’s role in my relationship with my coach?

  • The counselors listed on this webpage are in no way affiliated with the Office of Alumni Affairs or the DAA. These professionals are independent contractors and are not being compensated or retained by the DAA.

How do I find the right Coach?

  • Career coaching is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. You want to find the career coach that’s just right for you. Some features highlighted on our roster that can help you decide include:

  • Education & Training. Not only are the career coaches listed here Duke alumni, many of them have gone on to earn further degrees and additional professional training, certificates, etc.
  • Specialization. The career coaches listed here specialize in coaching clients at many different career stages can help with many different career search-related activities such as resume and cover letter writing, interview preparation, and networking.

How long does a Coach work with an individual?

  • While the length, frequency, and duration of sessions is up to each individual and their career coach, you should definitely plan on more than one. Experts agree it takes about eight to ten hours of counseling for the typical client to begin internalizing the key benefits of coaching.

Will a coach find me a job?

  • This is one of the most common misconceptions about career coaching. If you’re looking for a job, try a staffing agency or headhunter. Career coaches provide guidance to help you to find your own career. That being said, many people find it useful to work with both a staffing agency and a career coach at the same time.

What are some typical reasons someone might work with a coach?

  • Career coaching can be helpful at all stages of someone’s career. A few common reasons for working with a coach include:

  • There is something at stake (a challenge, stretch goal or opportunity), and it is urgent, compelling or exciting or all of the above
  • There is a gap in knowledge, skills, confidence, or resources
  • There is a need for a course correction in work due to a setback
  • An individual has a style of relating that is ineffective or is not supporting the achievement of one’s personally relevant goals
  • There is a lack of clarity, and there are choices to be made
  • The individual is extremely successful, and success has started to become problematic
  • One has not identified his or her core strengths and how best to leverage them
  • There is a need and a desire to better organized and more self-managing

Does what I talk about with my career coach remain confidential?

  • Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and career coach. You should feel free to ask a potential coach about their confidentiality policy so you are aware of when and how what you discuss in your sessions will or won’t be shared.

How are career coaches trained?

  • The training for career coaches is as varied as the clients they serve. Some career coaches have clinical training, while others have gained their knowledge and insights by working with clients in the field. Many have sought professional certification or training beyond their traditional education. See the full profiles for more information on each alumni career coach.

Are career coaches like therapists?

  • While navigating the job market might increase the need for a good therapist, the function of a career coach is not that of a mental health professional. Career coaches are not educated or trained in counseling or therapy. Career coaches are trained to help job seekers clarify their goals, take inventory of their skills, make action plans, and get to work.

What is an alumni career coach? What does a coach do?

  • It’s not always easy to discern the best next step in your career. A career coach can help. The Duke Alumni Association (DAA) provides a list of career coaches on its website as a free service to Duke alumni. These Duke alumni work as career coaches and offer special rates and services for fellow alums. They will help you consider how your skills, knowledge, and experience might prepare you for opportunities you hadn’t considered on your own. And they will help you present yourself in the most favorable light.