The right time to hire a career coach varies from person to person. Some people don’t realize they need a career coach until they find themselves struggling to get past initial interviews. Other people hire a coach the minute they realise they aren’t getting results from their 100’s of job / internship applications a.k.a carpet bombing.
In general, the longer you wait, the fewer job openings are at your disposal. Even worse, the chances that HR in some of those organisations recognises your redundant and desperate applications to blacklist you from further consideration.
In general, it is far better to engage us early in the process to have a clear and structured application strategy, identify target companies, and compelling application documents to maximise your application outcomes by sending out as few applications as possible.