For quite some time now, career coaching is not solely about helping someone to make career choices. Career coaches who are doing a relevant job in the current employability reality in which their coachees find themselves, focus on the development of career identity and adaptability.
The blog below is inspired by the Mark Savickas keynote on the Larios Conference in 2013, which is just as relevant today as it was back then.
Why coachees are served by the development of career meta skills
In general, people are gradually getting more aware that the labor market is complex, filled with opportunities and risk. In such circumstances, having a long-term career vision is paramount, because such a vision can serve as an internal guide for directing oneself in the career.
This is easier said than done. Building a personal career story takes reflection, experience, and often other people who serve as a sounding board for this story. But that is not all. What is true in careers is also true in life itself. People must construct their own stories. What is it they want to do in life and how are they going to organize work, family life, and friends? There are no more clear scripts. Today we have all sorts of stories that were unthinkable a couple of decades ago: divorcees that share the bringing up of children, single parents, reconstituted families, and so on. In terms of work, the stories are equally diverse: part time labor, sabbaticals, independent workers ... How can we facilitate people to bring their story about life and work together and make it work for them?
I think that the more successful career coaches will be working on the more profound layers of career coaching: career values and career attitudes. Career values are about career identity: who are you in terms of your vocation? Do you know your story and do you know when to change it? Career attitudes are about adaptability: do you know how you can get what you want out of your career? Do you know how to change? Identity and adaptability are what Mark Savickas calls meta skills for the career.
By working on these deeper levels, career coaches have a real impact on coachees’ behavior and this, in the end, benefits coachees, organizations, and society as a whole.
I see the following reasons:
If you are a career coach some of these tips might be interesting to you:
In conclusion, I would like to point out that career coaches who manage to work on the level of identity and adaptability with their coachees will be more successful in their practice. On top of that, these coaches do important and highly relevant work, for individual people and for society as a whole.