Career Coaching Resources

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"Career coaching" sounds different from "career counseling" because, in some ways it is, or at least should be, different. Although there is no universal agreement about the difference between coaching and counseling in any of life's arenas, intuitively, it seems reasonable to expect that a coach, a fitness or GMAT coach, will primarily focus on improvement in performance in achieving the goals you have firmly set for yourself.

On the other hand, a counselor will or should place greater emphasis on examining and even challenging those goals and the means you have chosen to achieve them-rarely, unlike some coaching, in large groups without serious privacy concerns.

So if your main focus is improving your career and job-search performance by tapping expertise in what may be an open group format, as well as one-to-one, consider a career coach, who, as part of the coaching service, may provide many of the kinds of help a career counselor offers through a more private and customized format.

Career coaching, like career counseling, refers to a guided process, professionally assisted, through which an individual may discover what he or she really wants to do with his or her life and then work out a strategy to achieve chosen career goals, while working to improve personal performance in job execution or job searches.

However, to the extent that career coaching can be distinguished from career counseling, career coaching should perhaps be seen as emphasizing career performance, including job searches, job choices and execution, and how to improve it. Unlike career counseling, career coaching can be performed before large audiences, with few, if any, privacy concerns, much as a Tony Robbins lecture or workshop can, and often with a "one-size-fits-all" approach.

Hence, the distinction between coach and counselor is not sharp and probably clearest when expressed in terms of the maximum size of a group and degree of privacy required. Because of personalized, sensitive and private consultation, counseling is almost always one-to-one (one person, one family or one couple), whereas coaching-including career coaching-readily lends itself to a group workshop or seminar format, with an emphasis on fitting the client to the coaching model, rather than vice versa.

Think of a career coach, or any other coach, for that matter, as primarily enabling you to better achieve, in terms of performance outcomes, your chosen goals, while a counselor helps you to decide and set those goals, chosen from a set of alternatives explored with you, and to evaluate your goals or deal with problems and challenges arising from your choice of goals and/or means.

Although work is a major part of our lives, we are often so caught up in the daily routines that we either neglect or overlook the importance of updated planning and reviewing of our career strategies, values, resources, skills, challenges and goals. In addition to working on improving performance, what career coaching, like career counseling, can do, particularly for managers, professionals and executives, is to help them identify what they really want out of life.

For example, what aspects of work would provide the greatest satisfaction? How can one formulate clear objectives in both the working and personal lives, such that they can be achieved in the long run, without having accomplished one at the expense of the other? What exactly are the personal goals, ambitions and values that the individual cherish?

With career coaching, the client usually gets access to various methods and tests that will help him or her better appreciate their existing skills, knowledge and work experience so that they can be utilized to advance the client's short-term and long-term career goals. Career coaches, with their well-developed networks, can also help their clients gain a foothold in an industry or be introduced to a position that might end up being a useful first step to a fruitful career.
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