Karen Lomas
February 11, 2021

Career coaching. Is your child motivated?

What do you do if your child is not motivated to study? Does your child feel as if school is a constant struggle?

If your school-age child is not studying, or enjoying their subjects, career coaching is great for helping students to find motivation. But good quality professional career coaching for students is hard to find. There are many career coaches, working in a number of settings in the community. However, it is important to find the right fit for your child.

Professional Student Career Coaching

The best career coaches follow professional standards and are qualified, to post-graduate level, in career development practice. They also bring experience from a range of different contexts and environments.

Also, the best career coaching does not necessarily exist within your child’s school. In fact, it may be hard for your child to access support from a careers teacher who has classroom responsibilities, or a short working week. There may be over a hundred students in your child’s year level, so getting a one-on-one careers appointment at school might be difficult. And they really do need one-on-one career coaching, as this is known to be the most effective kind of career coaching for students. They also need that one-on-one coaching every year, certainly from year 9 onward, which may not be on offer at school.

For this reason, comprehensive and ongoing (progressive) support, is better achieved by engaging a private professional student career coach. This is someone who specialises in working with children and adolescents. Career coaching activities, with a dedicated private student career coach, can help your school-age child to gain motivation to work, or study harder.

The importance of credentials in Student Career Development Practice

To gain accreditation, or credentialing, a career coach must hold the appropriate qualifications. They must also have demonstrated successful ongoing professional practice for a considerable part of their own working career.

Also, a member of a professional career development association, such as the CDAA, is required to commit to regular training and development. This is a essential commitment, so that they are updated across a range of issues, such as employment conditions and trends, as well as regarding the provision of formal training and education for their clients.

Further, career professionals who have a background in working with teenagers and adolescents, rather than coaches who work with businesses, or human resources professionals, are the best fit for student career counselling.

The best career coaching for students involves offering ample time for the career coach and the student to get to know one another, because the coach is rather like a mentor. Fifteen, or even thirty minute appointments are inadequate. At least 60 minutes per session is needed. Having a student career coach providing encouragement, as well as practical activities, helps your child to maintain momentum and be generally more motivated.

Furthermore, the best preparation for the world of work that you can find for your child, is found in the form of career coaching wherein your child or teenager feels safe to divulge their concerns.

Career Concerns addressed by Good Student Career Counsellors

These include:

  • What does the future world of work look like?
  • How to gain a work experience placement.
  • Whether volunteering is helpful for gaining job skills.
  • What training or study path to take.
  • What subjects to study within the curriculum.
  • Whether to get a job, or an apprenticeship.
  • How to come across well in an interview.
  • Whether to apply for a bachelor degree.
  • How to write good job applications.
  • Whether to have a break between studies, ie a Gap Year.
  • How to apply for courses either in- or inter-state.
  • Whether overseas study is an option.

Best Practice Student Career Coaching is Motivational

In my student career coaching practice, I adopt a motivational approach. This is one that pays attention to wellness and satisfaction; to individual differences. I use:

“a curious, receptive, flexible, warm and open attitude, which allows (me) to gain deeper insight into the differences between learners, so that (I) can tailor (my) motivating strategies to these learners’ emerging skills, interests, values, and preferences.”  Contemporary Educational Psychology, 2020.

Professional Career Coaching for students teaches Career Literacy

So how does a student career counsellor help your child to be more motivated? This is achieved by means of helping them to gain what is referred to as Career Literacy. This is a theoretic principle that has been advanced by career academics, Peter Tatham and Peter McIlveen. The Career Literacy approach is now being used as the structure of the coaching at institutions such as Australian National University (ANU).

As Suzanne Jones, at the ANU, states, in her recent blog, Career Literacy coaching for students involves:

  • Understanding yourself
  • Understanding the job market
  • Finding and securing work
  • Creating and maintaining work. Jones, S. (2021)

Babies are eager learners, but motivation drops by year 9

We know from lifespan development psychology that babies are full of enthusiasm to learn. You see this if you watch a baby, or toddler, persevering in trying to speak, crawl, walk, or grasp an object. In years 9 and 10, however, around the ages of 14 and 15, motivation can lapse and the learning momentum falter. Many theorists have put this down to systems of education. Indeed, in my study of Self-Determination Theory, I have learned that it is essential to engage with students in the right way, in order that they feel motivated to learn. Therefore, motivational career coaching is the best and most effective student career coaching you can find.

So if you are a parent of a student who has just commenced secondary education, or in particular have a 14 year old student, invest wisely and embark early. They will gain motivation not simply because I talk to them about themselves, but also because I provide them with the knowledge that helps them to gain the all-important career literacy that makes a difference.

Contact me at www.karenyourcareercoach.com.au/contact/ if you would like to discuss your child’s levels of motivation in their school work. We want the best for them, so let’s make their school-life less of a struggle.

Their Future Matters!


Jones, S. (2021) Of Unicorns and Ivory Towers: Collaborative Career Coaching in the Tertiary Education Sector, Blog posted 09.02.2021 . Accessed 11.02.2021: https://cdaa.org.au/Web/Blog/Posts/Of-Unicorns-and-Ivory-Towers–Collaborative-Career-Education-in-the-Higher-Education-Sector.aspx

McIlveen, P. & Tatham, P. (2021)  Improving the Career Literacy of Australian Students; Accessed 09.02.2021: https://cica.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Improving-the-Career-Literacy-of-Australian-Students-.pdf

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