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How Does Career Counselling Help?

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Are you stuck in your career? Looking to take on a new role or trying to break into a new industry? If current trends continue, it is estimated that people will have ten to fifteen different jobs throughout their lifetime. In hearing this, some of you may think “Amazing! I love trying on new hats!” while others may have thoughts more like myself --- “Oh my gosh! That is a lot of decisions to make about an aspect of my life that can play a big role in my well being and life satisfaction -- how will I manage to make the best decisions for myself?”

Decision making can be light and empowering and it can also be arduous and pressure inducing.

Calgary’s competitive job market and record high unemployment rates, to some, can feel like added pressure when evaluating all of the factors that go into selecting one's next role or career path. How much meaning will the role bring you? Will there be opportunity for growth? Time for work-life balance? Compensation that provides a sense of security for you or your family? Many of us have a habitual way of making decisions that can vary from always opting to do what others think is best for us, getting overwhelmed and choosing one just to get it over with, and then there is my friend’s favorite of asking the magic 8 ball for guidance. If you find yourself perpetually struggling with wanting more (of what, you might not know) from your career, it might be helpful to seek out someone to help guide your exploration or evaluation to feel more confident in taking the next step.

What is career counselling?

Advice, guidance and career counselling - are they the same or different?

  1. Professional instruction or advice: recommendations on a best course of action such as using a particular template for a resume, interview practice, sharing information on job outlook or considerations for reschooling or new skills
  2. Professional guidance: assistance in overcoming personal or professional work related dilemmas such as building the confidence to set better work-life boundaries, letting go of old belief systems that hold you back, learning coping mechanisms to better manage stress (it the source can’t be eliminated), or developing a plan to help you move closer towards your personal and professional goals.

Career counselling in Calgary with our team fits the definition of professional guidance where you will be working with a member of our team who has your best interests at heart, specializes in helping you to get crystal clear about your career goals, helps you work on developing the soft skills needed for advancement (or sometimes just better office interactions) and/or finding new meaning or new direction for your career. Whether you are seeking leadership help, how to have difficult conversations with team members or struggling with questions like “should I stay or go” in this career, meeting with a registered psychologist in Calgary at our One Life office can help you cultivate a growth mindset to navigate these challenges and more from a position of strength.

At One Life we offer adult and youth career counselling as well as specialized career counselling for women with a focus on 6 main topics:

  1. Getting unstuck
  2. Goal clarity and goal setting
  3. Self-awareness (what is it you truly desire? and what is getting in your way?)
  4. Interpersonal skill development
  5. Leadership development
  6. Mindset coaching

What are the steps involved in career counselling?

On a very high level,

  1. Self Inventory: Together we will explore your strengths, career history and get crystal clear on what you are really good at. Sometimes people can underestimate their strengths and it can be empowering to highlight hidden strengths and abilities.
  2. Assessing Options: Next, from a place devoid of judgement, we will brainstorm your options while carefully paying attention to what comes up for you (your inner experience) when sharing and considering each idea. Brainstorming is something anyone can do on their own - it is your career counsellor’s' role to identify and highlight the limiting beliefs and general judgements that may get in the way of your considering and going after a really great option for you. For example, our registered psychologist might notice that all of the options that come to mind for someone are very similar to their current work or role and upon further questioning discover that they don’t believe in their own ability to learn to be great at something other than what they already do --- even though they hate what they do now! Our psychologist would then work to help them to move through what is holding them back.
  3. Setting the Compass: You are always in the driver seat, and this is the stage of setting a course of action towards your goals. In this stage we choose the goals that will best help you achieve success on any of the options that you came up for yourself. The goals you set will be actionable and that you are capable of delivering on to ensure adequate momentum. Keep in mind some of these goals may be what we call learning goals (ie. “I will learn how to be more open to constructive criticism through practicing ways to better manage my emotions in a way that my reports will continue to feel comfortable sharing their feedback) that will be the building blocks for your larger goals (ie. “I will become a better leader”)
  4. Scan for Mindset Busters: The biggest challenge with setting goals is how sophisticated we can be with sabotaging ourselves. In this step, we will continue to examine all the hidden and unconscious ways you might get in your own way and then come up with a plan for overcoming this part of yourself.
  5. Self-Awareness: Here we will work on how you want to show up. How we come across to people immediately sets a tone for how they will expect us to show up. Many studies talk about how we will make up our mind about a person within the first couple of minutes of meeting them. The idea here is to expand your awareness of the behaviors and things you might say habitually that negatively impact others' impression of you.

What is the difference between career guidance and career counselling?

A career advisor can fit more into the first category mentioned earlier where the practitioner provides specific instruction or advice that isn’t necessarily personalized to your individual circumstances (ie. resume writing, interview skills, etc). Working with a career advisor can be experienced similar to your high school guidance teacher, where you might be instructed to fill out some surveys that indicate a direction to go based on your skill set and education.

Career guidance and counselling is different in that it focuses on your beliefs, mindset and what is holding you back psychologically from taking action in your career. The process is built on the belief that you have the answers within you, that you know what is best for you but have run into a roadblock or two. Your career counsellor can help you with the psychological or inner experience aspects of moving past your blocks.

What are the Benefits of Career Guidance?

At One Life our career guidance is specifically centered around goal discovery, self-awareness, and helping you block and tackle what is standing between you and your achieving those goals.

One of the primary concerns raised by our career counselling clients is not knowing what to do next. They come to us with a general feeling that change is needed, but are struggling to find direction. Through skillful questioning and listening in our career counselling sessions, we help our clients to connect deeply with their inner experiences, wants, and desires, so they can discover that sense of direction.

What is the role of the career advisor?

Many career advisors are going to have a set of tools to help you assess your strengths, weaknesses and then come up with a path forward.

That is great and helpful, but we find when clients come in for career counselling with our One Life psychologists the biggest success comes when we help them to understand themselves on a deeper level before jumping to creating a plan. The learning comes from shifts in how we see ourselves, our environment, and then setting micro goals that lead up to our larger desired outcomes.

  • How beneficial would it be for you to understand your personal and professional psychology better?
  • What if we could help you get past the feeling of stuckness that gets in your way and hinders you from living your best life?
  • What would shift for you if you could cultivate a mindset that views obstacles and setbacks as learning opportunities?

Our role at One Life is to help you feel empowered and most importantly accountable to achieving your career goals by asking the deeper questions that help you unblock your career obstacles.

What questions do career counselors ask?

The main goal is not to provide career counselling tips, but rather help you discover the path forward through your core values, principles and leaning into your strengths.

Throughout the process, you can expect your career counsellor to ask you questions along the lines of:

  • What has your career path looked like thus far?
  • Throughout that path, what roles or work has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment? Meaning? Connection?
  • What obstacles have you faced? How did you tackle them? Of those that got the best of you, why do you think that might be?
  • What has been the source of your satisfaction/dissatisfaction lately? What role have your own thoughts, behaviors, actions played in this?
  • What do you feel is your greatest learning opportunity right now? How would things shift for you if you excelled at this?
  • What type of work or interactions make you feel most alive?
  • What critical thoughts do you have about yourself in regards to your work or your future work?
  • If everything worked out exactly as you’d hoped it would, what would be different about your life 5 years from now?

How do I set up my first appointment with a Calgary Career Counsellor?

If exploring the deeper psychology behind your career struggles or aspirations appeals to you, we have a client intake coordinator that is ready to take your call and line you up with the right Calgary psychologist on our team. Contact us today!

Change begins the day you decide to make the decision to invest in you.

Author: Ken Fierheller, Registered Psychotherapist

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