CAREER COACHING: WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT IS NOT
Twenty-five, thirty years ago a professional’s career could be compared to a train – get on one career “train”
and you traveled down the same career track for life! You never switched tracks! Period. Today, one’s career is
parallel to riding an ATV. The career professional controls and steers the ATV, the vehicle moves very fast,
there is no “track” to follow, there may be hills and obstacles to jump over, who knows where the journey will
end and, finally, will you land safely??!!
The job market has changed drastically in the last 5 years, and more professionals are reaching out to Career
Coaches for guidance than ever before. Yet, many professionals remain unfamiliar with the term “career
coach” or how they will benefit from teaming with a career coach. This article is designed to give you a very
brief insight into the world of career coaching. Keep in mind the following information is “only the tip of the
iceberg” in terms of describing what career coaching is or the issues it embraces.
WHAT IT IS:
Career coaching is a confidential relationship between a professional and a career coach designed to guide a
professional through the complexities of their career. According to Career Coach University “A Career Coach
partners with clients to clarify vision, purpose and goals and to link strengths, interests and experience to work
that has economic viability to employers and professionals.”
Career coaching is designed to help a professional whether they are deemed an “explorer,” “hunter” or
“conqueror” (according to the stage of their career), terms coined by Susan Whitcomb, President of Career
Partnering with a career coach can be extraordinarily valuable to the Career Explorer. If a professional is
experiencing career frustration and doesn’t know what they want to be when they “grow up,” this is the
platform for self-discovery/self-analysis and an opportunity to discover which of the 12,600 occupations is the
ideal career choice. This is achieved through numerous individual coaching sessions as well as subjective
assessments and objective assessment instruments that measure Career Attitudes & Concerns, Skills &
Interests, Personality, Values and much more. There are no age boundaries set for the Career Explorer. Career
Explorers can be 18, 28, 38, 48, 58 years young! Most people are never given advice about what career path
they should chose once they finish school, aka their “ideal career.” With so many choices (12,600+) and no
expert to guide them in the right direction, no wonder so many people are miserable in their careers. Most
people are in careers because their parents persuaded them to follow in their career path or well-meaning
friends, teachers, professors or supervisors said “be this!”
“Career Hunters” are different. They know exactly what type of work they want to do and the industry they
are investigating. However, they can benefit from teaming with a Career Coach to sharpen their networking
skills, interviewing and salary negotiation skills, discover their career values and interests, in concert with
many other career aspects. “Career Hunters” gain tremendously by working with Career Coaches. Just knowing
“what” you want to do in your career, is NOT the “be all, end all” of your career. There are many steps to
climb on your way to Mt. Everest and all types of issues to sort out along the way!
Examples could include: Rejuvenating A Stalled Career, Regrouping After 9-11, Building a Lifelong Network
of 50, Truly Understanding The Art of Communication, Understanding Why Some People Act the Way They
Do and How to Cope, and a whole host of other career related issues.
“Career Conquerors” desire to accelerate their career by attaining a higher skill level, attaining more
knowledge, or landing new and exciting challenges, additional responsibility, higher income/benefits and
personal satisfaction. Career Coaches examine “roadblocks” that have been placed in the job seeker’s career
path and can strategize to develop a holistic approach to careers while challenging clients to dream and think
big! Similar to the “Career Hunter,” these professionals ignite their career when working with a Career Coach.
Career Coaching: What It is, What It is Not JoAnn Nix, email@example.com
Partnering with the right Career Coach can be one of the most important investments you will ever
make in your career! In summary, career coaching is extremely broad and ranges from helping a professional
with career discovery to guiding the client throughout all aspects of the job search process to working with
clients long after their have landed their ideal opportunity!
WHAT IT IS NOT:
Career coaching is not associated with any form of counseling or therapy that is facilitated by a licensed mental
health professional, nor is it focused on issues such as depression, anxiety disorders, marital issues, financial
problems, or other life issues.
Career coaching is not for individuals who are not going to work hard on career issues, not eager to take
personality, interest, values and skills assessments, not ready to fine tune their careers, or see a bigger picture
of what their career could really look like.
Career coaching is not for professionals who simply will not drill down to the core of who they really are,
personally and professionally. Career coaching is not for professionals who are opposed to new ideas. Finally,
career coaching is never viewed as a stigma nor does it imply that something is “wrong”! After all I’m in good
company with Tiger Woods, Martha Stewart, Oprah and former President Bill Clinton – we all work with
In synopsis, hiring a Career Coach that truly listens to your concerns, is willing to brainstorm with you,
challenges you to grow and holds your “feet to the fire” can help you truly achieve career satisfaction! After
all, isn’t that what you really want?