Virtually every individual and organization engages in career management activities to help employees envision, plan, navigate, and execute strategies for new roles, internal mobility, and external transitions. Some are more successful than others in making strategic career moves, changing careers, or rewriting a résumé. When thinking of who delivers career management services, one thinks first about career coaches, career consultants, recruiters, and human resource professionals. However, a host of people deliver career services, including workforce development professionals, counselors, organizational development professionals, outplacement professionals, and managers. In the past, their efforts focused mainly on tactical items such as making over a résumé or conducting assessments. Now, increasing changes in economic conditions have caused many career professionals to provide more extensive services in order to solve the rapid growth of consumer problems. For example, career professionals used to only work in university career centers. Decades later, career professionals can be found in corporations, government, healthcare, education, nonprofit, and private practice. Today there are 30,000+ Career coaches, and this number grows by 50 percent every year.
Many organizations believe they have developed an internal system to help employees achieve their goals. Unfortunately, people inside an organization acting as “career managers” or “mentors” have had minimal training in the skills necessary for career management. Many organizations assign career development to managers or the human resource department and believe they have no use for an external career manager. The best-managed companies with the highest satisfaction rates use both internal and external Career coaches.
Internal Career coaches are beneficial in large part due to the knowledge they have of the employees, the company culture, and the rules of engagement. This inside information can be useful when dealing with specific factors, such as performance and advancement, and internal Career coaches are usually the better choice when dealing with such departmental factors. However, many internal struggle to put their management biases aside so that they can act unconditionally.
External Career coaches are better equipped at introducing an unbiased perspective and tackling global issues because they are not concerned about how their advice and recommendations will impact their standing within the company. Even if an internal Career coaches has great self-regulation, an employee might perceive a bias and not fully trust that person. External Career Coaches have the ability to grant greater confidentiality and objectivity. Employees typically feel more at ease speaking openly to an external Career coaches and can therefore develop deeper levels of trust.
Levels of Guidance Offered
The art and science of career development are intertwined in all aspects of helping, including the counseling process, assessment, research and evaluation, and developing personal approaches to coaching clients. The science of the coaching process involves understanding the processes, knowledge, and skills required to discover client issues. The art of the coaching process comes to bear when Career coaches apply their knowledge, skills, and experience to serve a multicultural society. A very formal process might be used to serve the American population, while a modified process is used to serve the Hispanic community. A challenge for Career coaches is for them to be aware of the latest clinical research, applied theories, implications for practice, and how to integrate relevant findings into the coaching process. Many types of guidance can be offered to consumers based on their education and experience. See Table 1.1 for a synopsis of the differences in each level.
Levels of Career Management Guidance
|Type of Career Management Guidance|
|Focus||Exchange of wisdom||Results, performance, or success motivated||Career satisfaction over life span||Expert in career development process, relationship building, self-awareness|
|Nature of Relationship||Mostly informal with no goals—employee or co‑worker||Usually focused with goals identified—client or employee||Collaborative, intimate||Formal client-centric relationship, self-awareness oriented|
|Form of Contact||One-on-one, e‑mail, phone||One-on-one, e‑mail, phone||Group, one-on-one, e‑mail||One-on-one, e‑mail, phone|
|Experience||Expert in particular domain||Not an expert in any particular domain||Expert in career change process||Expert in counseling theories and career development field|
|Training for Role||No formal training, limited workshop hours||Self-taught or tele-courses||No formal training to extensive training||Master’s degree|
|Certification||None required||Not required, but professional organizations provide certification||National certification, optional||Required: National Certified Career Counselor (NCCC), licensed career counselor|
|Compensation||Strictly voluntary||Retainer based or hourly fee||Packaged, group, per session||Group of sessions or per session|
|Proof of Value||Personal experience||Highly practitioner-driven, testimonials||Client success, testimonials||Referrals from delighted customers|
|Learning and Feedback||Relies on relationship and discussions||Client-oriented with feedback from client||Task-oriented with feedback from champion ongoing; formal and informal||Client-oriented with feedback from client|