Having worked as a careers coach through 3 decades, the last few years have been remarkable for how little interest there has been from organisations in career coaching. An environment of growth provided opportunity,and career coaching conversations have often focussed on ‘what more do I want now that I have experienced success?’, or ‘what do I need to do to get . . .?, Conversations which assumed abundance, and an expectation that will and belief could control outcomes. Career coaching has often focussed on the ‘talented’, and for them a career conversations has had the implication of that more will be on offer.
In that climate career conversations have focussed on skills, interests, values, strengths and motivations – with a belief that once the data was gathered the right opportunity would be available. But things have changed.
The mood of the country has changed. There is no sense of confidence about the future. How can there be when there is now talk of a triple dip recession, and when the statistics show that this recession is outlasting any of the 20th century. Individuals who never expected to be in the job market are finding cutbacks and changing strategies have placed them there. Once there, it is taking them longer to obtain work.
But it is not only those who leave who are facing difficulty. For those who remain the issue of career is still relevant, but the reality of the career journey looks different. Fewer opportunities, changing skills demands, less budget for development. Managers, HR professionals and internal coaches are becoming involved in career conversations which are demanding:
- How to bring the skills of support while not denying reality.
- How to help someone back on track whose resilience has been
sapped by disappointment
- How to balance belief in the resourcefulness of individuals without it seeming like naive optimism
That is why we need a new approach to careers coaching, which can work with the tough stuff skilfully, and with integrity.
That is why Coaching to Solutions has developed 2 new offerings for those who are being asked to coach :
- A programme for those new to career coaching which provides tools
and models for working with range of career issues.
- A programme for those with established coaching skills which focuses
on career coaching to build resilience.
Both programmes lead to a recognised qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management.
Career coaching is easy when times are good, but it is even more essential when times are tough.