HR and recruitment

Careers coaching: area of work

A graduate job in careers coaching involves helping employees to gain a fresh perspective on their working practices and develop their careers.

Coaching is a management technique that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Not to be confused with ‘life coaching’, coaches in a business context work together with employees, and more typically managers, in personal one-to-one sessions.

They talk with the individual to help them discover their strengths and weaknesses, and discuss ways of working that will help them to develop. In times of organisational change, coaches are especially effective in helping individuals to understand their business context, and the importance of their role in relation to the organisation's aims and values.

Some larger organisations will hire full-time coaches, but more typically they are employed on contracts from specialist consultancies. The everyday tasks will vary according to the individuals they are coaching – some will need specialist help and support, while others may simply need a friendly ear and to have their confidence reaffirmed. But this is not the same as lying on the psychiatrist's couch and letting off steam; the coach must always have the business needs at the forefront of their mind, and that of the individual's wider team. While you may be coaching the individual, it is for the benefit of the organisation as a whole.

What’s required

There are specific coaching qualifications available, mostly through the CIPD. As it is an unregulated profession, ensure that you check the credentials of any other institution offering coaching qualifications. If you're really unsure, check with employers to see whether they would accept a qualification from that provider. A related degree, such as occupational psychology, will also be essential. You’ll need to be a good listener, but also a good manager.