Karen Lomas
September 24, 2019

What do I look for in a career coach for my child?

The question that I’m addressing in this blog is around what information parents need when looking for career coaching for their child? There are so many businesses now calling themselves career consultants, career coaches, career counsellors, how can a parent make the right decision?

As a parent of young adult daughters myself, whom I’ve supported throughout their years from babies, to toddlers to primary, secondary and tertiary education, as well as in terms of their employment, I know that what I always looked for was longevity in the professional space, the appropriate and relevant qualifications, trustworthiness and credentials. This was what I wanted from a ballet teacher, a kinder, school, tutor, sporting club; pretty much anyone my children came into contact with, I always checked their suitability. Even when it came to party-going, I would always ring the parents to check on the details of the event. As a parent you cannot be too careful.

Your child is your most precious creation and we do not want ever to take risks with their wellbeing, safety and education. With this in mind, we always do our due diligence, don’t we? With your choice of career coach it is the same. For this very reason, the Federal Government has created the National Careers Institute in order to ensure that best career development practice is adhered to for young adults and youth groups.

As a member of two professional career development associations; the Career Education Association of Victoria (CEAV), and the CDAA, for several years, I have the appropriate experience, training and accreditations. I have a long background of work in the training and development of my staff, in my business management career, and I have qualifications and experience in adolescent counselling.

I have direct experience in the areas of youth mental health and eating disorders, and have trained and volunteered with organisations such as The Butterfly Foundation, for example on the Dove Body Image Project. Such is my concern for the myriad of issues impacting children and young adults.

During my undergraduate study I focused upon lifespan development psychology, youth studies and sociological perspectives around work, masculinity, body image, inter-personal relationships in post-modern society, and girl-power. My capstone study focused upon Australian society, cultures, education, success and affluence, class, relationships, parenting, masculinity and employment, in an article I wrote with reference to the Australian novel, The Slap, by Christos Tsiolkas. In this I explored the tensions around choices, not least the choices we make in terms of educational opportunities for our children.

My post-graduate study, at Monash University, the Professional Certificate of Adolescent Counselling, allowed me to explore further the way in which I wanted to support children and young adults. This study is credited towards the Master of Counselling program into which I have been offered direct acceleration into the final year.

Further post-graduate study, this time specific to Career Development, provided me with a rich body of resources to draw upon to underpin my professional career coaching practice. I was also required to video my practice and was critiqued on my counselling skills and prior to acceptance into the CEAV I had to commit to introductory training and mentoring. Since then I continue to commit to obligatory annual professional development training and mentoring and this is recorded by those associations.

Rapid change and what leading psychologist Benjamin Scheibehenne has referred to as “choice overload”, and what Josh Williams, Chief Executive at the Industry Training Federation of New Zealand, calls the “clutter of schemes” that exists in terms of what appear to parents to be disparate and separate study pathways, cause stress and anxiety to students and young adults. This needs to be watched for. If a career coach has no experience in identifying symptoms of anxiety and stress, then clues can be missed. This can potentially imperil your child, as a confidential discussion with an experienced career coach might be the first occasion that a child has been asked the probing questions around their situation and said; “No, I’m not coping”, or “Actually, I’m super stressed”.

So to provide additional assurance of my credentials as a suitable career coach for your child, I am now able to provide further evidence of my credentials, with Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) membership. I have obtained the necessary recommendations of my peers and this makes me incredibly proud. CICA is the national peak body for the career industry. This is the body that overseas the likes of the CEAV. Equally, CICA is a key stakeholder in the research being undertaken by the National Careers Institute, which among other things sets out to:

undertake research and stakeholder engagement to map the careers development system and identify the needs, priorities and experiences of those who support, administer and deliver career information across Australia, and the people who benefit from it.

I am looking forward to participating in this research and to offering my perspective of what is occurring in career development practice. For parents this is a comfort, as it is so hard to navigate what is on offer. Just because a business has rebranded, does not necessarily mean that its staff have the appropriate experience to describe themselves as professional career development practitioners. Please do ensure that you do your due diligence when looking for a career coach for your child. Find an independent and impartial career coach whose best interests are for the individual personal needs of your child.

To find out more about the work your child might do with me, year level and specific needs permitting, contact me at [email protected]


Image courtesy of Arek Socha via Pixabay

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