Career Coaching – What is it, exactly?

Most people that know me relatively well know I have an MA in Career Guidance, my Father was a career guidance counsellor of some prestige!  I also have two siblings qualified as career guidance practitioners!!  All in all, I’ve been conditioned!!!  So, people ask me, what’s the difference between career coaching and career guidance?

Not a bad question I suppose, considering the impact American TV has our society!  I can remember movies such as ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ or maybe George Clooney in ‘Up in the Air’ that have career coaches as characters!  RTE even commissioned and aired a show call The Career Coach.  So, what is Career Coaching and what are the differences or similarities between Career Guidance and Career Coaching?

Within this blog post we will look at the similarities between Career Guidance and Career Coaching, a follow up blog post will investigate the differences.

Where are the areas of overlap?

The first and perhaps most important area of similarity is in what we’re all trying to achieve.  Career coaching and career guidance both focus on issues around career choice and career management and both are appropriate for those making initial decisions, considering a career or job change, and those facing an imposed transition such as redundancy or retirement.


The next similarity is the structure of the interaction.  The disciplines have each got their own language and various models, but essentially there is little difference.  Both disciplines acknowledge the need for a structure within the interview and whether it’s a 3 or 4 stage guidance model, or the GROW* model from coaching, they all have a contract, a section where you find out more about the story and consider different options, and an action planning phase.


The third big area of overlap is the skills we use.  Career coaches’ and careers advisors’ most vital skills are listening and questioning, used throughout the interactions to enhance and develop self-awareness and generate and evaluate options.


At we have registered the finest career guidance counsellors in Ireland and the booking and auditing process to match.  To make an appointment to see a qualified and impartial career guidance practitioner or career coach.


*GROW (Goals, Reality, Options, Way-forward) from behavioural psychology


Credit: Julia Yates


Career Coaching