Career coaching is an area that is much in demand, as the number of people who seek guidance and counsel in the many aspects of their jobs and career is a constant. There are numerous industries, millions of jobs, and far more people seeking those jobs – not just to earn a living, but to find fulfilment in them as well. Finding a job may be an easier prospect (not easy though), but finding fulfilment and happiness in one’s job is not something a lot of people can claim they have.
This is where a career coach can come in. People seek the help of a career coach when their pain of either their current status of unemployment or job dissatisfaction has reached its peak and requires some form of intervention.
So how can a coach elevate the experience for their clients so that they reach closer to their desired goals? Using career coaching tools is one effective way of doing it. Here are some tools that have shown to bring great results for career coaches on their journey with their clients.
‘Future Self’ Inquiries
This particular tool usually comes in the form of a guided meditation or visualization practice intended to allow your client to envision what their ideal future self would look like – specifically, with regards to their career.
To help you client get deeper into the process, you can start off by getting your client to relax and guide them into a future state where they are able to see what their future self is up to, what their day looks like, and the things they are doing that make them feel content and satisfied – you can take it further by getting them to describe everything in detail; the view, the sounds, the smells, the feeling – to allow them to completely immerse themselves into the experience. They can even take advice or suggestions from their future selves to help them get answers to what they need to do in the present to reach their desired state that they are envisioning.
You can create your own script for this exercise or make use of several guided practices available online. The book ‘Co-Active Coaching’ contains visualization scripts that you can adapt in your own way too.
‘Past Self’ Inquiries
The purpose of this particular career coaching assessment tool is to help clients who are either feeling like they are in the wrong field or are confused at the beginning stages of their career journey and need assistance to understand what’s the right path for them to take going forward.
This can be done as a journaling exercise, wherein you provide specific prompts to your client to reflect on and write about. These prompts include a series of questions that can go something like: “What did you love to do as a child?” followed by “And what about that did you love?” or “As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?” followed by “What about that still appeals to you, and what doesn’t?”
Once they submit their writings, you can work with your client to look for patterns, cues, and themes that could lead to finding potential careers in the near future.
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Personal SWOT analysis is a great career coaching tool that helps clients gain better insight on their strengths and what careers may suit those strengths and even identify potentially ‘transferable’ strengths or skills that may be useful in other avenues. The weaknesses can help point out roles and career paths to avoid as a result of unsuitability. This is not always the case though – the weaknesses, once identified, can also be used to gain an advantage over going forward by getting trained in those ‘weaker’ areas or finding ways to delegate them, if the role allows.
This exercise also takes a bigger picture look identifying potential opportunities and threats, which can be extremely informative.
Top 10 Values
The process of identifying values is a powerful way to understand ourselves better – even as coaches! Clients especially find this tool rather insightful as looking within to find values that are important to them (an exercise they may have never done in the past) as they may find that the career path that they have chosen so far has been, in fact, rather incongruent with their intrinsic values – thus, the reason they feel discontent or frustrated. Doing this exercise can prove rather eye-opening for clients and even if they do not wish to completely change gears and shift careers, it can still help them re-assess and identify exact aspects of their current role that doesn’t align with their values and find ways to tackle them for better job satisfaction going forward.
Tip: You can ask your clients to score each potential career or role out of 10 for how well it meets each of their top 10 values – this will give you a lot more data to work with in the upcoming sessions!
Work Values Identification
While this may seem similar to the Top 10 Values tool mentioned above, it is actually different. How? Well, the above tool is more so to understand which values are important in a person’s life from a general overview perspective. The Work Values tool, however, helps differentiate the values that are important to an individual specifically in the work/career context. And this may actually end up being contrasting to the values that are important to them in life.
For instance, an individual may look for spontaneity in their day-to-day life, but when it comes to their job, they seek structure and stability. It is often found that we look for different things in work as opposed to life. So, understanding the values specifically related to work helps narrow down and really identify what is important to the client and find roles and careers that truly align in a way that will give them long-term fulfilment in their jobs.
This list of career coaching tools is by no means an exhaustive list! However, these are superb starting points that can help career coaches who are in the beginning stages of their career and are looking for ways to elevate their coaching game and bring their client the success they’re seeking.
1. What tools do career coaches need?
There are numerous career coaching tools out there that a coach can use at different stages of the coaching engagement, depending on what the coach’s individual process is and what the client requires at a given time. Some of the most popular career coaching assessment tools include: Future & past self-enquiries, personal SWOT, must haves and must-not haves, love & loathe list, values identification, ideal job description, career anchor, and many more!