What's The Difference Between Career Counselling & Career Coaching?

August 13, 2021

Posted by BOLDLY

Career Counselling Versus Career Coaching

What Is Career Counselling?

The pandemic has proved to be a career shock for many knowledge workers and professionals, and in response we’ve seen coaches and internal career counsellors step to the forefront to make this shock more manageable (Akkermans, J., 2020). While coaches are primarily external professionals who work on performance and wellness, we saw career counsellors emerge as internal resources (colleagues, leaders, HR) who work with staff on the ‘mechanics’ of their career – how to get experiences, plan for key career moves, network effectively, and understand how an organisations culture works. The career consultants we’ve seen emerge in the past 1-2 years say that their roles are here to stay, because of the positive implications for both individual carer success and organisational health in the long term. (Autin, K. L, 2020).

We organise career counselling into 5 pillars:

  1. Capabilities, competencies and skills
  2. Key experiences
  3. Values and career anchors
  4. Personality and mindset
  5. Social, family and economic context

Career counselling is highly personalised experience, and it’s complex! This model is our simple attempt to consolidate the main influences in a career decision making process, and the related skills a counsellor needs to be savvy in. You can see from this model that career counselling relates not only to an individual’s personal needs, but what’s happening in their functional space, their organisational climate, and so many other elements come into play – it’s infinitely complicated! We work with career counsellors to build internal resources and skills to have key conversations in the critical moments for employees.

Usually a career conversation happens between Managers and HR who have training in career counselling, and employees and mentees who are at a transition point – It might be planning for promotion, reflecting on personal satisfaction and personal mission, deciding about education, and making a move from individual contributor to manager roles for the first time. We describe the skills needed by career counsellors to have these critical conversations as:

  1. Active listening
  2. Social perceptiveness
  3. Service orientation
  4. Organisational navigation
  5. Diplomacy
  6. Influence
  7. Goal setting
  8. Resourcefulness
  9. Functional career knowledge

Career consultants have the potential to change a company in terms of engagement and retention of key staff, and certainly impact the lives of the individuals and their families that they work with. They need to leverage unique and differentiated expertise in service of enhancing the effectiveness and long-term health of the organization – they must know the roles and talent families within the organisation, and understand ‘how’ an individual moves between them. Usually a career counsellor has resources in terms of network, project access, mentor frameworks, and can work with the counselee on their goals.

A career counsellor will often work with you on psychometric or 360-degree assessment asa starting point. This enables personal insights and reflection before a counselee or staff member moves into goal setting and planning. The career counsellor will work with you to define your goals, hyper personalised to your motivations and sector. You’ll be exposed to various activities, including perhaps setting up your personal board of directors, tapping into your happiness, understanding your strengths, visualising your network, and other activities designed to bring your super powers and a pathway to your career success clear.

Lanterne Rouge Works With Companies To Build Career Counselling Capability

Our sister company Lanterne Rouge can work with you! Do you have HR leaders and Managers who you want to train and equip to manage career counselling conversations?Don’t throw them in the deep end! They need skills and resources to be ready for these critical conversations, and likewise you want to ensure your career counselling framework suits your business. Let’s talk about building a simple model for you!

Understanding The Difference For Career Coaching

BOLDLY comes into play with clients who want to compliment their internal career counselling resources with external career coaches who are unbiased, and can work in more detail on behaviour change, competency development, wellness skills and self-reflection.The external career coach doesn’t have the organisational infrastructure knowledge that counsellors have, but they know ‘how adult development works’ and how to think about careers beyond the boundaries of the business too. OurBOLDLY team will always be happy to work with you on individual coaching needs, and broader organisational coaching operations to compliment career counselling frameworks.


[1] Akkermans, J., Richardson, J., & Kraimer, M. L. (2020). The Covid-19 crisis as a career shock: Implications for careers and vocational behavior.

[2] Autin, K. L., Blustein, D. L., Ali, S. R.,& Garriott, P. O. (2020). Career development impacts of COVID-19: Practice and policy recommendations. Journal of Career Development, 47(5),487-494.