What is Career Coaching?

Lily Ruha
Lily Ruha
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Businessman giving a thumbs-up

Career coaching is a service offered to individuals in need of career direction. People who might seek out a career coach include those who are between jobs, unsatisfied with their current positions or looking to challenge themselves in a new way at work. Career coaching services are often delivered by certified career coaches and, in some cases, by executive and life coaches. Career coaching is offered in numerous environments, including colleges and universities, large corporations, community career counseling centers and private practices.

Career coaches help individuals achieve their career aspirations. A person who is not aware of his unique talents can benefit from a coaching session that identifies his strengths. A retired individual who wants to continue working on a part-time basis but is unsure what to do might gain a sense of direction through career coaching. A worker who dreads going to work each day can possibly reignite his passion for a job that he used to find stimulating.

The career coaching process usually starts with an initial meeting between the coach and the client, with a focus on understanding the career-related issues. The coach will generally ask questions that draw out the client’s talents, passions and visions for the future. A career coach also tunes into the client’s personal challenges and concerns. Generally, a customized plan of action is implemented that involves taking career-related steps, including taking job skills assessments, developing specialized work-related skills, conducting job searches and perfecting interviewing strategies.

Career coaching can take place either one-on-one or in group settings. Group work usually consists of a presentation delivered by a career coach who speaks to the group about relevant work-related issues. Group members ask questions and benefit from the wisdom of both the coach and group participants. Individual coaching consists of one-on-one meetings that take place either in person or over the phone. In individual coaching, career coaches generally schedule clients for a series of weekly, biweekly or monthly meetings that involve gauging progress and providing continual mentoring.

There are many circumstances in life that lead individuals to seek out a career coach. A general state of confusion and lack of clarity about a career path is one example. A desire to leave the corporate life and pursue an entrepreneurial venture is another example. Stay-at-home moms also sometimes seek out career coaches to determine a plan of action for reintegrating into the workforce. In each case, career coaches help individuals identify fulfilling career paths that lead to greater work productivity and contentment.

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