Career coaching for your child: What to expect

By Karen Lomas

Working with a career coach is a process involving a journey of self-reflection with your child. The focus is on gaining insight from your child's language and narrative. Here are some more things you can expect from career coaching:
  • Icebreaker and rapport-building questions: These use an open and explorative technique, which will allow the professional career counsellor to unpick the metaphors and use their metaphors so as to get onto the same page. This means that they feel truly listened to.
  • Self-reflection: This process generates some awareness that your child may not have previously had. This leads to a more nuanced level of self-clarity, which in turn brings them to the point of visioning.
  • Goal setting/action planning, then activation/initiation: These steps will most likely be carried out across 3–5 sessions, depending upon the child’s initial career-adaptability self-scoring on their levels of career curiosity, optimism, independence and career confidence. 
  • The pace: This is dependent upon the year level and stage in the academic year at which we have commenced their career development journey. There are a number of different objectives they may be working towards.

The objectives will vary

Here are some of the things a career practitioner can help your child with:
  • Help with interviews: A student in Year 8 or Year 9 may be interviewing for selective entry schools. Parents find assurance in knowing that their child is prepared for tricky, or just random questions, as well as knowing that they have been coached in conducting themselves to their best advantage. 
  • Subject choices: Years 8 to 10 is a time for making some subject choices. Increasingly across these year levels, students are encouraged to pick electives from a range of study options. Choosing well can make the difference between a really painful semester, or a thrilling one.
  • Year 12: When the pace steps up, as, if we have not seen your child in the previous years, we have to make sure that we put some good ‘scaffolding’ around them, to the extent that they need it.
  • Work experience: For some, whose schools require students to find a work experience placement, career practitioners can help with identifying potential supervising organisations, submitting strong applications and preparing for interviews.
  • Getting that first job: Employment is another objective for many students in year 10 (age 15) and upwards.
  • Motivation (or lack thereof): In recent years, many students are lacking in momentum. We can help; however, the student needs to want to be coached. As the old adage goes; 'You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink'.

Trust in the professional career coaching process. There are no guarantees, but give the process room and time to evolve – light bulb moments may not even occur until months, even years later.

Karen is a career coach specialising in early career exploration with school-aged students. This article is an edited excerpt, republished with permission from the author. You can view the original here.

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