This article focuses on how to incorporate coaching when helping students explore career options. We’ll explore what coaching is, the role of the coach, benefits of coaching, and I’ll share some coaching techniques. Coaching can be utilized by educators, counselors, recruiters, and others supporting students in career exploration.
What is coaching?
Coaching is a partnering with clients (or students) in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Professional coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal change. (Source: International Coach Federation).
The Coach’s Role
The following items are what a coach will do:
Provide objective assessment and observations that foster the individual’s awareness of others.
Listen closely to fully understand the individual’s circumstances.
Act as a sounding board in exploring possibilities and implementing thoughtful planning and decision-making.
Champion opportunities and potential.
Foster shifts in thinking that reveal fresh perspectives.
Challenge blind spots.
Benefits of Coaching
Professional coaching brings many wonderful benefits: fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence. Those coached can expect appreciable improvement in the attainment of relevant goals. (Source: International Coach Federation).
Visioning: Asking questions such as, “Imagine your ideal career, what does it look like? OR “Let’s step into the future two years from now and you’re in your dream career… what actions did you take to get there?”
Coaching to the Gap: The gap is the space between where a student is and where they want to be. Does the student have a list of career options but needs to narrow it down? You could help the student narrow down the list by perhaps have the student list what he/she likes about each option or asking, “On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your interest level in each?”
Brainstorming: When the student is stuck, rather than telling the student what to do, ask permission to brainstorm. For example, a student is clear on her skills, but is having trouble coming up with some career options that use those skills. You could use a brainstorming exercise to help her create some ideas on how she could create those options.
Assessments: Consider what assessments may be helpful for the student at this time. Is it an interest assessment, skills, personality, or something else? After explaining the assessment(s), ask which one(s) he/she would like to take. After the student has taken the assessment, ask what his/her experience was like taking the assessment. When reviewing the results.ask the student if they agree with the results. Ask the student for key insights from assessment and how he/she will use this information.
Reflect on Learning: Let’s say you’re a counselor and a student comes to you specifically for help selecting a career program at your college. At the beginning of a session, it’s important to clarify the student’s focus & desired take-away for the session. The student is in the driver’s seat and determines the agenda, not the coach. At the end of each session you will want the student to reflect on what he/she has learned by asking: “What was your insight or key take-away from our time together today?” OR “What have you learned or relearned.
Rather than telling a student what to do, these coaching techniques are meant to empower the student and help create a sense of ownership in their future.
Action Step: The next time you’re meeting with a student and discussing career options, consider incorporating one or more of the coaching techniques into your discussion..