By Karen Lomas
So many people are asking me lately how a career coach might help them or their child. What difference will it make to them if I have one or more appointments with a private, professional career coach? If your clients are asking these questions too — or if you’re in the beginning of your journey to becoming a career coach — the below points outline the aspects of a good career coach and how your skills can help your clients.
A career coach needs to be client-centred
Your main responsibilities as a career coach are to:
- Engage – build rapport, develop trust and learn about the client/the client’s child and their story
- Support – provides positive encouragement and gentle guidance
- Teach, train and coach – with one-on-one skills development, expert review and interpretation of career assessments, and guidance through processes such as application platforms
- Mentor – maintain contact over time, encourage, and congratulate
A professional, independent career coach must be impartial
Therefore, as a career coach you should not:
- give any value judgement
- give directives or tell the client what to do
- favour any one school or school system/curriculum framework
- show preference to any one higher education institution.
Skills a successful career coach will have
To give your clients optimal support, you should:
- have a high level of specialist training and expertise at postgraduate level, as well as industry experience
- maintain contacts (a network) of professionals, dedicated specialist agencies and educational representatives
- continue to learn and study as a requirement of your profession
- be holistic in your approach and tap into broad theoretical frameworks based on psychological and career development theory.
Karen is a career coach specialising in early career exploration with school-aged students.