Clients enter the career management process for many reasons, but usually it is because of an event. These events could be a termination from work, downsizing, merger, divorce, health, or simply because they want a new life. They seek Career coaches to help identify their mission in life and assist them in achieving their goal. Strategies and programs to help people achieve a desired end result are not created in a vacuum. The strategies and goals for a particular person must be in alignment with the person’s life goals and take into consideration market factors.
Assessment and Interpretation
A major factor in the success or failure of career management is whether the strategic elements are consistent with the individual’s learning style. The first step is to understand how the client best learns, and this is an ongoing process. Next, Career coaches will be accountable for learning about various assessments and selecting the ones that are most appropriate in meeting the individual’s needs. The primary purpose of coaching is to ensure effective exchanges between individuals, groups, and the Career coaches. One of the major responsibilities of Career coaches is to analyze the motivations and behavior of their clients. Ethical issues are always paramount in working with people—such as confidentiality, assessment usage, record keeping, and more—so Career coaches need to understand their responsibilities in conducting business honestly.
Resource Toolkit and Organization
Career coaches must obtain useful and objective information to use in career planning. For example, Career coaches must understand where to find occupational information so that individuals can research various careers. Career coaches might also need to make referrals to therapists, financial planners, image consultants, and the like. An overwhelming amount of information exists on the Internet and in the community. It is important to know what information resources are available and organize them for easy retrieval. Having a library system makes it possible to find information quickly and also minimizes the time it takes to research the same information over and over. Technology is also becoming an essential tool for Career coaches. Many coaches make use of current technology, such as online teleconference, chat, and video sessions for long-distance coaching. Staying abreast of current technological trends and innovations can enable Career coaches to extend their services beyond their front door.
Career Program Components
Designing an effective, strategic, career program requires three interrelated sets of decisions.
- The Career Coach must set specific goals to be accomplished in the campaign, such as résumé branding, target market, and timing. These goals must be consistent with an individual’s overall lifestyle mission.
- The Career Coach must decide on overall strategy to target appropriate companies and help the client gain a competitive advantage.
- The Career Coach must then make decisions about each element of the tactical job search program used to carry out the strategy.
Program Management and Monitoring
A final critical factor of a career program’s success is the Career Coach’s ability to plan and implement it effectively. This, in turn, depends on whether the strategy is consistent with the career program components, environment, and skills and experience of the individual. In other words, the Career coach must design a system to fit the individual’s existing competencies or try to engineer new strategies to acquire skills for the future move. The final task is to determine whether the program is meeting overall client objectives and adjusting the program when performance is disappointing to the client.
Organizational Career ManagementThe importance of career management in a company’s ongoing successes can be better understood when one considers the activities it embraces. In essence, career management anticipates and assesses the needs and desires of consumers and responds with appropriate services to meet short- and long-term goals and facilitate the career change process over the life span. Accomplishing this requires a Career coach to:
- Target markets most compatible with his or her offerings
- Offer services that meet the needs of different target groups
- Make service readily available
- Develop consumer awareness of the benefits a coach can offer
- Obtain feedback from customers about the success of his or her offerings
An important aspect of career management as a business function is its focus on identifying customers and delivering services that meet their needs. Enabling this focus allows consumers to enjoy long-term career success by focusing on changing needs, keeping pace with economic changes, offering services that demonstrate high-quality competencies, and using an integrated approach to the customer’s total experience.
One barrier facing all organizations has been the lack of comprehensive career management services. The human resources (HR) function is highly focused on mitigating risk to the organization. HR has attempted to become an integrated strategic partner with other functions, but it still largely remains decentralized. Information about individual employees typically resides in different silos, hampering managers’ abilities to effectively guide and develop employees. At the same time, employees do not have clear views into their own career management and possible career paths within the organization. Career management serves the best interests of both the employee and the organization. The employee benefits from a well-thought-out road map leading the way to future advancement while the organization retains and engages its best talent.
A partnership with HR and the other organization’s key business functions and stakeholders is essential for the success of the business. HR and career management should be separate entities, though, due to the nature and focus of the varying roles (HR on corporate risk and Career coach on employee development and satisfaction).
Career Coaches must learn to understand the nature of the work to be performed in their area of specialty and partner with the HR department to achieve company goals.
Career coaches need to be aware of career management best practices and how they can be applied to the delivery of high quality services. Ongoing professional development is essential to the growth and acquisition of a deeper understanding about the field of career management. This enormous and ever-growing field yields much information about assessments, diversity, and more that can help Career coaches become better educated and on the leading edge of career management. Coaches need to be aware of the signs of Career coach burnout, though, and how to avoid it. Since most Career coaches are practitioners in nature and do not necessarily possess much business acumen, various service delivery models will be discussed.