Career Counseling vs. Career Coaching: Understanding the Difference

Within the realm of career assistance, there seems to be some confusion as to what many counselors and coaches do. Many are under the impression that there are two titles performing the same job function, both pursuing the goal of getting clients work in an appropriate career field. While the two titles certainly have many things in common, including the word “career,” they are distinctly different services, offering distinctly different objectives. How about a quick and easy breakdown?

Career Counseling vs. Career Coaching

Career Counseling

Most people are quite familiar with what a counselor does within a career environment. They are able to assist clients in preparing for educational and aptitude tests, while helping those clients identify natural talents and employable skill sets. They will often suggest plans of action to begin work in a field that is well-suited to an individual and their talents. These services are invaluable for individuals who have a desire to work, but really don’t know the ins and outs of choosing a career path.

Career counselors are wonderful resources for helping a client rework their resume to a presentable and effective form, while assisting in the development of efficient and effective cover letters. Counselors are also great for interview preparation, and educating their clients about specific needs and requirements for certain industries and specific companies.

Career Coaching

While a career counselor will do their best to help a client identify an appropriate career, and get moving on that career path, their job often ends when employment begins. A career coach offers immediate differences by immediately taking stock of the big picture – not just a career picture, but how a career fits into and is able to enhance a client’s life. Anyone can work a job, but few people enjoy their job enough to consider it a profession. A career coach might first ask such questions of a career-seeking client as: What do you dream of doing? What do you hope for in a career? In setting those goals, a career coach will help put clients on a path to success.

Career coaches are excellent ambassadors for career growth – their mission is to see clients through to their goals. Those goals may include formal education, a process of work and growth within an organization or career placement in a specific field. A career coach isn’t there to take someone by the hand and guide them through every step in the process of achieving goals, but they do offer focused plans of action, appropriate inspiration and the accountability necessary for a client to achieve their goals in the most efficient manner.

Both career counselors and career coaches can fulfill specific career needs for each individual. Anyone interested in employing such a career adviser should simply consider their focus, what they need and the relationship they desire with a career adviser.