Most of our career journey is spent in a job, not in exploring or searching, making career management a crucial component of career counseling. Thriving on the job requires a wide range of skills, from emotional intelligence to boundary setting to leadership. Career management counseling focuses on identifying the challenges you are facing in your career and helping you develop and implement solutions. It provides a safe, confidential sounding board to think through risks and opportunities before making a move.
Some classic career challenges
A Big Promotion: Martina has just been hired to take on a senior level position. This is a big promotion for her, and she’s determined to do it right. But the politics at this level are confusing, her boss isn’t forthcoming about what her expectations are, and the staff, while nice, seem to expect an awful lot of attention. There’s no one Martina can talk to at work. She’s feeling desperate and overwhelmed.
Reorganization Ahead: Seth has just got wind that a reorganization is in the works. It could be a good thing or a bad thing, but Seth would like to take an active role in determining his fate, rather than waiting to see what happens.
Getting a Big Raise: Deirdre is in a job she loves in an industry that is booming. She’s significantly underpaid relative to the market for her position. To bring her compensation back in line, her company needs to bump her salary 20-30 percent.
Evaluating an Attractive but Risky Offer: Monique has been a star with her company for a long time, and they are compensating her well. But a start-up has come looking for her expertise. The upside if things go well is enticing, but there’s significant risk that things won’t go well. Part of Monique wants to stay put and stay safe, but a part of her thinks this is her chance to “lean in.”
A Confusing New Boss: Astrid has a new boss, and the job she loved has suddenly become stressful and confusing. Astrid always gets along well with supervisors, but she leaves meetings with her new boss unsure whether they actually speak the same language. Like most people, she falls back on the techniques that have contributed to her success, but now those techniques seem to make things worse, not better.
Strategy versus Tactics: Marco got his promotion because he excels at doing the work, but his boss has made it clear that he expects Marco to take on a more strategic role. Figuring out what “strategic” means to his boss and stepping away from work that his staff should be doing are just a couple of the challenges Marco faces.
The Housecleaning: Matt has just lost his job, despite long tenure with the organization and excellent reviews. His organization hired a new CEO, and the CEO decided he wanted to bring in his own team, so Matt and several of his colleagues were laid off. Matt is in shock. It was a high-profile role, so hundreds of people are emailing him, wondering what happened. Matt needs to figure out what he wants to do next with his career, and how to tell the story of what happened at his old organization.
Colleague Collision: Jackson has been told by his supervisor that he does good work, but that his constant conflict with colleagues makes it unlikely he will get the promotion he is lobbying for. Jackson is stunned—he doesn’t view his relationships that way. But he wants to understand what this means and change it—it’s not the first time someone has hinted at this problem.
Changing It Up: Istvan wants to completely revamp the way his unit does its work. But before he rolls anything out to his boss or colleagues, he wants to carefully weigh out the pros and cons and do some planning—in a place where nothing will leak.
Sounding Board: Jeanine just wants someone that she can talk to in complete confidence to hear herself think. There isn’t one specific topic that Jeanine wants help with—she just wants someone who is in her corner as she moves forward in her career.
A Note on The Difference Between Career Management and Coaching
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), not a coach. There is significant overlap between the worlds of counseling and coaching. You will find both coaches and counselors on my referral list because there is such similarity between the two professions. Probably the biggest difference between my approach and standard coaching approaches is that I will ask about your past to understand your present and your future. Most coaches have a strong future orientation, and tend not to delve too much into the past, not wanting to cross over into “therapy territory.” Because I am licensed as a therapist, I’m more willing to examine the past to understand today’s puzzles. I suggest that you talk to several people—coaches and counselors, to determine who feels like the best fit for you.