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What is Career Coaching?


Can you recall when you first heard the term 'career coaching'?

This module draws on, and integrates, a range of literature about career development practices and about coaching.

In this introductory presentation, we chart the origins and meanings of career guidance, career counselling and career coaching and look at a number of points of similarity and difference.

Click the play button to view the presentation. Commentary will stop at the end of each slide for a few seconds, to give you time to reflect. If you need longer, hit the pause button at any time.


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Overview of Career Guidance, Coaching and Counselling

10:07, Tue 5 Jan 2016

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A PowerPoint version of these slides is also available here.

Now read this article, written by the course team as a reflection on the course design process behind Career Development and Coaching Studies (link downloads pdf)

Frigerio, G. and McCash, P. (2013) Creating Career Coaching, The NICEC Journal, Issue 30

As you see, we take an integrative approach to career coaching, including in our definition a broad variety of activities from informing to systems change.

Now contrast these with others who seek to differentiate guidance, coaching and counselling. For example

Julia Yates describes coaches as having an "eclectic approach to theories" that goes braoder than the "traditional humanistic practice that is widely seen in career guidance, careers advice and career counselling" (Yates, 2014: 3)

Read more in chapter one of Yates, J. (2014) The Career Coaching Handbook, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Rob Nathan and Linda Hill write abut career counselling, and depict is as overlapping with, but not synonymous with, careers guidance (they use the plural), coaching and personal counselling.

Read more in chapter one of Nathan, R. & Hill, L. (2006) Career Counselling (2nd edn.) London:Sage.

Mark Savickas distinguishes vocational guidance, which helps individuals identified their career actions from career counseling, which enables individuals to author their own career story.

You will find a range of definitions throughout your reading, and we will note these without needing to generate our own.

Some issues to note are:

When is coaching exclusively 'career' coaching? This depends on popular and contrasting definitions of 'career' of course. The Association for Coaching definitions (available here) would define this as 'niche' coaching'. A more expansive defintion of career might struggle to exlude career issues from life coaching, executive coaching or performance coaching.

Many definitions focus on one to one interactions. However, the Assocation for Coaching list includes group coaching and structured processes to support career development learning can be run effectively in groups.

In working out our own understandings of any concept, it can be helfpul to think about 'non-definitions', i.e. what it is not. What activities do you think are not career coaching?

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