Exploring career mentoring and coaching
Exploring career mentoring and coaching

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Exploring career mentoring and coaching

1.3 Defining career coaching

Dr Julia Yates, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at City, University of London, defines career coaching as:

…one or a series of collaborative conversations with a trained professional who operates within an ethical code. The process is grounded in evidence-based coaching approaches, incorporating theories and tools, and career theory and aims to lead to a positive outcome for the client regarding their career decision, work and/or personal fulfilment.

(Yates, 2014, p. 2)

Watch this video to see her explain the differences and similarities between coaching and career coaching.

Download this video clip.Video player: mentoring_and_coaching_week1_1.mp4
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Transcript

JULIA YATES
So career coaching is a collaborative conversation between the practitioner and the client or the coachee. It focuses on something to do with their career, although it doesn't always-- the focus of the conversation isn't always directly on the job or the opportunity itself. It, I think, needs to be, needs to focus on the particular issue of the client. So it's about what they want, and it is the client who defines what career success looks like or what life fulfilment is going to be. It's their choice. And I would say good career coaching is underpinned both by theory and evidence from the coaching world and from the world of careers. So unpicking some of that, and looking at how that might differ from coaching, I think the two are very similar. I think career coaching is perhaps less likely to be behavioural than coaching. So workplace executive health coaching might be focused on changing an individual's behaviour, how they can change what they do, whereas career coaching is more likely to be cognitive and to think about their thoughts and plans for the future. You might imagine that career coaching focuses on different topics from life coaching, executive coaching, but actually in practise it often doesn't. I think career is so central to people's lives that actually the kinds of conversations you have within career coaching is often very similar to those you have elsewhere. And I suppose the other difference then is going back to that idea of the theoretical underpinning, and that with career coaching, good career coaching, is grounded in understanding about career paths and how people make career decisions.
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Activity 2 How could career coaching help me?

Allow about 10 minutes

Now watch the next video in which Dr Yates talks about what career coaches can do.

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Transcript

JULIA YATES
One of the things that I think coaching does best is it helps people to clarify what's going on in their own minds. I use this phrase about the unknown knowns, so things that people do know about themselves, the information that is in there, but for some reason or other they haven't perhaps thought about it or processed it or looked at it in this way before. So it's about helping people gain clarity over what they already know about themselves and what they already know about the opportunities that they want to pursue in the future. I think that's probably at the heart of most coaching sessions. But leading from that are two very positive outcomes, and one is around motivation. So it's very common to find people at the end of a coaching session to feel a sort of renewed vigour with which they want to aim and address their new career plans. And linked to that, I think, is a sense of confidence. I think coaching sessions can often make people see that they can do it. The coach will talk to them about their strengths and their abilities and things that they've done well in the past. And they might look at barriers and work together to see how they can overcome those barriers. And that can lead to a much greater sense of self-efficacy or confidence in their own ability to achieve their career goals.
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Reflecting on what you’ve just heard from Dr Yates, consider how career coaching could help you. Use the box below to make a list of the issues you might discuss with a career coach.

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Discussion

There are many ways in which career coaching can help you, whether you are making career decisions, looking for greater fulfilment in your current role or planning a significant change. Throughout this course, you’ll learn more about the impact that coaching, from the right individual at the right time, can have. You’ll be able to refer to this list later, when you start to look in more detail at what coaching can do.

From these definitions of mentoring and coaching, you can already see that there isn’t always a clear distinction between them. In the next section, you’ll explore the differences and similarities in more detail.

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