Career Coaching: Staying within the Lines

Amy Gamblin

Amy Gamblinby Amy Gamblin,

A Career Coach serves as a partner with a client by empowering them in developing a thoughtful career strategy.  In doing so, they work with the client in exploring interests, skills, strengths, values and internal motivations.  The process is a circular one.  A Career Coach may work with a client in strategizing possible career paths, developing job skills while on the job, and transitioning to other positions as career goals evolve. 

Career coaches have a variety of tools in their toolkit.  A Career Coach may implement training by teaching a client a certain skill or technique, administer assessments or inventories for gathering information that brings client awareness, and coaching the client.  With each of these implementations, the Career Coach works with a client on their goals, action planning and timelines.  The skillful Career Coach knows when to perform each role.   

Because a Career Coach may perform a variety of functions, in order to be aware of ethically “staying within the lines” of coaching as compared to training and counseling, following the Core Competencies outlined by the ICF can be a guideline. 

The key points for consideration are:

  • Understanding which role will best serve the client and when.
  • Ensuring the client knows which role you are performing.
  • Using tools such as assessments only if you are certified in that assessment, only when appropriate, and follow it up with the coaching process.
  • Being knowledgeable and up to date on skills that will help your client and to incorporate in training, such as job search, resume writing, interviewing, and negotiation.
  • Accompanying the training with coaching as you work with your client to move them forward in their career journey.

Read the Career Coaching: Staying within the Lines chapter in Coaching Perspectives V for more.

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