Karen Lomas
January 29, 2017

How career help works for students

Career help really works!

I have been reading with interest some recently published research, by the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF), which has found that career help works. Here is a key result from this work:

Perhaps the most important finding from a practical perspective is that career development interventions work. Regardless of intervention need or delivery mode, clients demonstrated substantial positive changes in skills, knowledge, personal attributes, employment and quality of fit of employment.

I’m going to say that we cannot be simplistic and say that it doesn’t matter the need, or how the help is delivered. Some students will prefer a particular method of ‘delivery’. Someone who is very anxious and indecisive will benefit from a 1/1 face-to-face meeting. Another student, who is simply undecided, but actually quite pro-active and motivated, will be fine to have a small group meeting, or even a Skype/Facetime, or telephone/email consultation. I have helped students this December and January in this way. Some were in Melbourne, and I was 1.5 hours away, but it was fine to help them online.

Another report, by Elfriede Krebs, from the University of Winnepeg, stresses the need for the careers coach to take into account a student’s moral development and social interest, so as to support them well. This is why a skilled career coach will use a narrative, or story approach, amongst other techniques, for finding out about the client. To do this a professional counsellor will:

  • allow sufficient time, typically 1.5 hours, in the initial appointment, so as to do some ice-breaking and rapport-building. Without rapport, trust cannot develop.
  • listen carefully, using skills such as the exploration of metaphor, and active listening techniques, in order to understand the young person’s deep thoughts and concerns.
  • ensure that the teenager or young adult knows that the coaching relationship is confidential and progressive, so that they can maintain contact over a period of time and feel safe to be completely honest.

I read broadly the research that comes from a number of professional career associations in Australia, England and Canada in particular. The recommendations and findings continue to inform my practice. In this way I can offer the most appropriate support for your young student to help them to clarify their career pathways.

Career work helps for students, but it is essential to find the right coach who is experienced and well trained. See my Facebook and Instagram posts to gain a feel for the way I like to work with children and young adults.


Instagram: karenyourcareercoach_

KREBS, Elfriede. Psychological Aspects of Vocational Maturity: Implications for Counselling.Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy / Revue canadienne de counseling et de psychothérapie, [S.l.], v. 20, n. 3, may 2011. ISSN 1923-6182. Available at: <http://cjc-rcc.ucalgary.ca/cjc/index.php/rcc/article/view/1401/1272>. Date accessed: 28 jan. 2017.

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