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Managing a Career Coaching Conversation

The coaching skills outlined in the previous section can now be integrated and used to manage the overall career coaching conversation.

On this course we have deliberately chosen not to teach one model, but to encourage theoretical integration and reflective practice so that learners can make sense of these for themselves and select approaches appropriate for their context.

It can be helpful to think in terms of beginning a career coaching conversation, the middle of the conversation and its ending (we use this in the next section). These stages might involve:

Begining: hearing the client's presenting need, establishing a rapport, outlining the context and nature of the coaching available, managing expecations and agreeing a contract

Middle: exploring more of the client story, how they are making sense of their current situation and future options, contract revisited if necessary

Endings: the client decides what actions will be taken as a result of the session, contract checked, any follow up agreed.

The table below summarises a selection of models taken from the career guidance and coaching literature. Most are process models and offer an approach to the structure of a one to one interaction. The final one can be described as an outcome model, in that it offers a range of factors to consider as outcomes of an interaction, rather than a process by which to get there.

Models place a different emphasis on aspects of the interaction. For example Ali and Graham place considerable emphasis on the contract for the interaction. Whitmore's GROW model focuses client's on goals.


Pick 2 examples to follow up either by using the reading list or clicking on the links for summary information. Please compare and contrast each of them and consider in relation to the earlier materials. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How applicable are they in your context? If your career conversations are informal, any process model might impose an artificial structure. If your clients struggle to articulate goals, the GROW model might assume too much input to the process from the client.

Ali and Graham The Counselling Approach to Careers Guidance The Clarifying Phase The Exploring Phase The Evaluating Phase The Action Planning Phase   Chapter 4, Ali & Graham 1996
John Whitmore The GROW model Goal Reality Options



Whitmore, 2009
Gerard Egan The Skilled Helper Current picture: what is going on? Preferred picture: what do I need or want? The Way Forward: how do I get what I need or want?     Egan, 2010, Chp 3: Overview of the helping model
Tol Bedford FIRST Focus Informed Realistic Scope Tactics Mignot, 2001, working with Individuals