Once or twice in your career, whether you are a experienced professional or skilled starter, you will wonder about what to do next in your career. If you wonder, wonder well and start looking around for help. Ask the question, ask for help. There are many people out there, even the one’s do do not know yet, who are available and willing to help you. Mentors, coaches, and outside trainers make us better, stronger, and more than we were before.
However, once you know you want help, some input, feedback, counseling or coaching, you may be overwhelmed by the choices in front of you. So before you decide what to look for, it’s a good idea to firstly understand the difference between career coaching versus career counseling.
Typically, career counseling aims to help you think about what it is you want to do. They may administer personality tests (such as the Myers-Briggs), interest inventories, or other assessments to help you identify potential careers that may be a good fit for you.
A career counselor may work with you on creating a plan for your career path, or simply identify elements that you would value in whatever job you take (such as working with people, managing others, working independently, etc.).
Usually, this broader focus on skills, talents, interests, or values is what you’ll find with a career counselor. A career counselor may give you tips or strategies to get the job you want, but as a rule, it isn’t their primary goal.
Career coaching is much more often focused on helping you meet your goals: get a new job (even if that is a job in a new career area), or move ahead in the career you’re in. They will probably help you focus on honing your interview skills, negotiating compensation packages, navigating office politics, or getting the promotion. They often offer help and advice for your resume and LinkedIn profile so you can better market yourself to potential employers.
A career coach probably won’t administer personality tests or otherwise guide you to discovering your dream career—but they may offer advice on what job you could be marketable for based on your experience. They may offer suggestions you hadn’t thought of. It would be up to you to determine if that’s a route you want to go.
A career coach can also help you realize any underlying thoughts, assumptions, or biases that hold you back from success.
How to Choose
Both career counselors and career coaches can be valuable assets to you—it all depends on what you need. If you’re changing careers and not sure where you want to go, then consider working with a career counselor. If you’re happy in your current career but want to move ahead or get a new job; or if you know what area you want to transition to, you may want to talk to a career coach. We can help you decide. Make an appointment for our Career Services and we will help you on your way.
To determine if someone you’re considering is right for you, investigate. Read through their website, description of what they offer, and their LinkedIn profiles. See what others have to say about them. If you’re still not sure, ask for a quick consultation where you can outline your problem and determine if you’re a good match.