Karen Lomas
April 20, 2022

What happens in private career counselling for students?

River Metaphor

What can parent expect from a private and independent professional career coach?

  1. It’s a process involving a journey of Self-Reflection with your child. The focus is upon the student and gaining some insight from their language, their narrative.
  2. Icebreaker and rapport-building questions, using an open and explorative technique, will allow the professional career counsellor to unpick the metaphors and use their metaphors so as to get onto the “same page”. This means that they feel truly listened to.
  3. The self-reflection process generates some awareness that your child may never previously reflected upon. This leads to a more nuanced level of Self-Clarity, which in turn brings them to the point of visioning. Next is Goal Setting/Action Planning. Then Activation/Initiation.
  4. These steps will most likely be carried out across 3 or even 5 sessions, all depending upon the child’s initial Career-Adaptability self-scoring on their levels of career curious, optimism, independence and career confidence. For example, some year 10s are really proactive and self-reliant. Others can be feeling confused and stuck. It’s completely fine either way. We work at their speed and we instill HOPE.
  5. The pace we work at is dependent upon the year level and stage in the academic year at which we have commenced their career development journey. There are a number of different objectives they may be working towards.

Range of Objectives

A Middle-School student, in year 8 or 9, may be interviewing for one or more selective entry schools. The interview is likely to be the first occasion for them to have had a formal meeting with adults they have never met before. This can be daunting. Parents find assurance in knowing that their child is prepared for tricky, or just random questions, as well as knowing that they have been coached in conducting themselves to their best advantage. We talk about what questions they might bring to the interview as well.

Middle-School, or year 8 to 10, is a time for making some subject choices. Increasingly across these year levels, students are encouraged to pick electives from a range of study options. Sometimes these study alternatives have interesting titles (eg, “To the Moon and Back”, is broadly Physics) and it isn’t until they have read the ‘fine print’ that they quite understand what the subject covers. Choosing well can make the difference between a really painful semester, or a thrilling one.

The assessed subjects

At some point in year 9, many students will be encouraged to consider an externally assessed subject, in preparation for more decision-making half-way through year 10, for the senior years.

In Victoria, Australia, they may have the opportunity to opt for Vcal, or a VET subject, should their school offer these study options. Otherwise, it might be VCE, or even the International Baccalaureate (IB). In other Australian States the subjects have different names, but the national curriculum is followed nationwide. In other countries there are different systems. For example, in the UK students can study GCSE’s in the middle years and A’Levels in the senior secondary, or 6th Form College.

Beyond Year 12

In year 12, the pace steps up, as, if we have not seen your child in the previous years, we have to make sure that we put some good ‘scaffolding’ around them, to the extent that they need it.

We offer specialist support in guidance around creative industries and the interview, and/or audition processes that apply. We also provide support for students who have their eyes on competitive entry courses. These include Medical degree pathway options, so the preparation for the testing and interview processes, both at undergraduate and graduate level.

Other objectives

There’s more. For some, whose schools require students to find a Work Experience Placement, there is plenty to do in terms of identifying potential supervising organisations, submitting strong applications and preparing for interviews.

Part-Time employment is another objective for many students in year 10 (age 15) and upwards. This is highly competitive and it isn’t sufficient to simply drop a few generic resumes around neighbourhood. For sure, luck can happen, but your child needs to be open to opportunities that come their way, or seek them out. They then need to be realistic around expectations, as dropping out of their first job in 5-minutes isn’t a great confidence boost, nor is it a good way to begin building a strong resume.

Motivation, or lack thereof

In recent years we have noticed that a lot of students feel lacking in momentum. They have missed out on physical activity when their sports, dance, or drama stopped over the pandemic lockdowns. They spent more time alone and in front of screens. Engaging with your child may have become a vexed issue. We can help to a certain extent, however the student needs to WANT TO BE COACHED. As the old adage goes; “You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. We use approaches of unconditional positive regard; of helping them to revise their thinking/reframing a situation. But if they do not complete the activities, listen to and acknowledge that a coach is with them, it’s THEIR LIFE. They have agency to decide one way or another and old habits die hard. They possess a level of self-determination (beginning at birth a baby does not give up trying – by year 9, this may have flipped into sluggish effort). We will persist, using our training and expertise. Our outcomes speak volumes and you can check our client’s testimonials as well as our Google Reviews for evidence of the efficacy of our work. We will, though, check in the first stage of your enquiry, whether your child wants to engage in the career coaching process.

We advocate for your child and by doing so support you, the parent

Trust in the professional career coaching process. There are NO guarentees, just as there is not promise by, say, a psychologist that their patient will make a miraculous turn-around. Give the process room and time to evolve and nuggets will have lodged in their mind that, maybe he/she is right. Perhaps I do need to go ask my teacher, or turn up to an Open Day. Those light bulb moments may not even occur until months, even years later.

Career development counselling is like a journey along a river. Rocky at times, smooth at others. Sometimes a tributary appears ahead, or a precipitous drop. We support the journey, almost as if we’re in a canoe paddling alongside your child. They have a life jacket on if they are working with an independent, professional career coach. If they strap themselves in they’ll enjoy the ride. It’s fun!

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