Fern Selesnick Consulting

    Creative Career Services for Challenging Times.


Western Mass Coaching FAQ

What is "Career Coaching?"


"Coaching” is a "Professional-Client" relationship. Coaches help people create or clarify professional or personal goals, collaborate on a plan to achieve those goals, and assist people in putting that plan into action.


What Does A Career Coach Do?


A career coach helps people explore issues, move forward and/or make changes in their work lives and careers through focused discussion sessions. Topics can range from job loss, career change and new careers to job search, and work-life balance.


Do Career Coaches Place People in Jobs? Are They Similar to "Headhunters" or Corporate Recruiters?


As a rule, career coaches don't place people in jobs. Career coaches assist with career decisions, resumes, job search and interview skills.


In contrast, a recruiter is employed by a company. S/he may review your resume and offer helpful but the recruiter's primary role is to find the best person for a particular job and recruit that person on behalf of an employer.


Career coaching also has a supportive component that includes encouragement, time to address career concerns and ways to get "unstuck." Career coaches do not work for employers - they work for you.


Is Career Coaching Similar To Psychotherapy?


Yes and no - mostly no. Both career coaches and psychotherapists create positive environments that encourage constructive communication. Both listen well, be sensitive to feelings and help people gain insight into their needs and wants. Both maintain confidentiality in accordance with the law. However, that's where the similarities end. Career coaching's focus is work.


Unless licensed to do so, career coaches don't provide psychological assistance or make diagnoses, nor do they offer long term, therapeutic counseling or accept health insurance.


Career coaches also don't provide legal assistance, financial advising or medical advice unless trained and licensed to so. If we think our clients would benefit from additional services, we'll recommend this.


It Sounds Like A Career Coach Is The Same As A Career Counselor. What's The Difference?


There are both similarities and differences and it's important to note that one is not better than the other. Also, while career coaching and career counseling do differ, many professionals use both. You may find your counselor "coaching" you and your coach "counseling" you!


Career counselors approach careers from a psychological perspective. While they don't provide psychotherapy or diagnose, they do help people sort their feelings about work and will discuss the relationship between work Career counselors often use career assessment tools and interest inventories to assist clients in clarifying their career goals. They also help people explore such variables as work environment, opportunities for advancement, degree of creativity and desired income levels. Career counseling may also include an educational component, such as resume writing or learning how to research occupations. Many career counselors have an advanced degree in counseling or psychology from an accredited school or university.


Career coaches may have certificates and/or training from specialized career coaching programs or institutes. These programs are generally less extensive than those attended by counselors and the kind of input one might receive from a coach will vary according to the coach's particular training. Some coaches, however, may have graduate degrees or extensive experience from past careers in management, counseling or education. Coaches frequently address problems people are having in their current job or career and may focus on helping people get “,” develop career goals and/or make important career changes. Coaches may also help people improve their performance at work and address such issues as time management, work priorities, and/or dealing with conflicts on the job.


Do You Offer Career Coaching or Career Counseling?


We combine them, We believe that people and careers are complex and that integrating career coaching with career counseling provides the best possible level of service.


Are Your Services Confidential?


Yes. All information that you share verbally and in writing is confidential unless you agree in writing that we can share your information with someone else. The only exception is if we have reason to believe a client is a danger to him/herself or others.


What Happens In Your Sessions?


Each session is a collaborative meeting. While the average length is 60 minutes, sessions can last as long as 90 minutes, depending on your needs.


Although each person’s experience is unique, here's a general overview of what to expect: Sessions begin with a “debriefing" or (in some cases) "venting" time to discuss what's happened since the last session. We then move on to whatever topics we've agreed to cover or that are of primary concern to you at this time.


As we talk, we will listen, reflect, clarify, ask questions and provide feedback and support. You may also receive educational information or ideas for reading and/or assignments to help you move ahead.


We'll close by summing up key points from the session and by agreeing on your best next steps. After a session, you'll receive an email that recaps next steps.

How Do You Help With Job Search?


Job Search Coaching focuses on creating a plan for an effective job search and providing techniques to make things work. Sessions may include addressing "stuck places," practice assignments to help people obtain job leads and ways to network. You'll also receive labor market and employment trend information and ongoing support for the job search.


Interview Coaching focuses on building confidence, increasing interview skills, addressing interview concerns and formulating ways to use job interviews to an individual's advantage.


How Do You Help People With Career Decisions and Career Change?

First, we help people identify and explore important information about their work lives, including positive and negative job experiences, work values, interests, preferences and job needs. We may use career counseling tools such as the Strong Interest Inventory or customized exercises and budgeting assistance when people need to make decisions about their next career moves.


We also supply reliable information on employment trends based on up to date information from the U.S.Department of the state of Massachusetts and local career centers.


Often, an important part of career change may be working on areas where people feel “stuck” or unable to decide how to move ahead. We'll work together to problem solve career conflicts and keep things progressing in a positive direction.


Because career change and career decisions can be difficult, we may include techniques for stress and time management. Equally important, we maintain a personal commitment to listening carefully, reflecting thoughtfully and communicating in a positive and respectful manner at all times. We know that our services can only help if people feel supported and respected.

Do You Provide Other Types Of Coaching or Counseling?


Yes. We may include life coaching services to help people address personal issues affecting their careers. Examples of life coaching topics include help with budgeting, stress and time management. We may also suggest working with additional professionals who can be of help.


We're also available to mentor and coach other career coaches and resume writers.


Do Community Members Sign Any Kind of Contract Or Agreement?


Yes. We'll provide you with a Career Services Contract to clarify expectations, meeting arrangements and fees. We also provide a written commitment to protect your privacy.


We provide all organizations with coaching contracts for our services.


Please feel free to contact us for an appointment.


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