Many of the strategies that career managers apply today are the same ones found to be effective in research studies. A Career coach’s job is to develop a hypothesis about the client’s situation, conduct research using both objective (assessments) and subjective (interviews and observations) criteria, gain a deeper understanding about the client and his or her circumstances, and apply various counseling strategies to help the client achieve a successful outcome. Coaches must know how to search for and understand scientific data as it pertains to assessments (i.e., norms) and apply this information to their respective target markets. They need to conduct research and evaluate the types of assessments that work best for certain populations, and understand the implications of using each type during the counseling process. The assessment process becomes an art form during the assessment debriefing phase. Everyone has a special way of delivering information to clients based on their experience. It takes years to learn how to deliver information in a form that is best understood by various populations.
Applying clinical and intellectual strategies to assist clients through a variety of problems integrates the art and science of career development. Various strategies will be described to apply in varying situations, but there is no “standard” way to help a client. Career development involves using one’s interpersonal skills to know when and how to paraphrase certain stories, as well as learning when to dig deeper for more information. It also requires coaches to be sensitive to the intricacies of different genders, cultures, ethnicities, and ages.
What works for one client may not work for another client. Career coaches need to be sensitive to the personalities and preferences of their clients, and apply different methods and techniques as needed to help someone. It is not always possible to get it right the first time, so coaches need to adjust their strategies to become more effective helpers. This is both a blessing and a curse. Career coaches are often faced with on-the-job learning.
The desired outcome of a client’s career development efforts is for him or her to have greater career resilience. Career resilience refers to a person’s ability to successfully adapt to career changes (whether initiated by the economy, an organization, or oneself), make smart career decisions, effectively market him- or herself and their value, and proactively manage his or her career. This resilience would derive from an individual’s strong understanding of his or her strengths and goals, economic value in the marketplace, and ability to anticipate and adapt to career-related changes and challenges.