Need guidance on Career Coaching/Counseling programs
June 23, 2011 at 1:28 pm #133664
I'm working on a new Career Counseling program for my agency, designed to provide advice to employees on how best to use their IDP, meet their career goals, figure out the best path for them, etc etc etc.
I'm wondering if your agency or organization has an established Career Counseling program, and if you can share any details.
Thank you in advance for sharing your best practices.
July 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm #133666
Ebony Scurry, PHR, GCDF-IParticipant
I've seen some agencies send supervisors to IDP training that includes teaching them how to coach their employees and use their IDPs. The thing is, some employees don't feel they can be honest with their supervisor about their career goals and may also not feel that their supervisor has their best interest at heart as per the best path for them. Additionally, some supervisors just don't "get" the whole career coaching thing and never reach the level of skill they need to actually be helpful to their employee. Effective career counseling also takes time, which they often don't have.
In establishing a Career Counseling program, you would want to have your counselors GDCF certified (global career development facilitator) and have hands-on experience. You can find more information about this from the National Career Development Association. Without starting off with staff who actually know what they're doing, employees will lose faith in your program and it just won't work. Some agencies are open to having counselors coach and advise employees on internal and external federal opportunities, while others just keep the coaching focused on internal opportunities and development. I've found the most successful programs allow people to discuss internal (within their agency) and external (all federal opportunities and beyond). Oh - also consider sending your counselors to Kathryn Troutman's two-day training. This will also add to their toolbox. Things like maintaining confidentiality (you may have a supervisor call you and ask what their employee talked to you about during your coaching session) and deciding to allow or not allow actual work time for the sessions are things to keep in mind.
I think having career counseling programs are great - there are so many federal workers who could qualify for positions that better match their skills and interest and which would add more value to the federal government in general, but they don't have the resume writing, interview, and other skills to showcase what they need to be selected. Even within the agency, career counseling can often increase engagement and thus productivity because there are more people in jobs they actually enjoy in which they're also good at.
I have multiple career coaching/counseling certifications and have counseled within the federal government. My current agency doesn’t have a counseling program, but I provide limited career counseling support to employees who attend my workshops (resume writing, interview skills workshops, etc.) I say "limited" because we have 9,500 employees and I’m only one person. The need is GREAT and I believe every single federal agency should implement a career counseling program. Such programs would benefit the whole federal sector as a whole, especially in this economy with so many of our most skilled workers eligible to retire and many vacancies unfilled due to budget constraints. A powerful program is one that incorporates an IDP, provides flexibility for skills needed now that are linked to the agency’s’ mission in addition to skills desired by the employee for their individual/personal future goals. A powerful program will have a mentoring component, confidentiality, and excellent record keeping. The program must have the support of senior leadership to reach its potential.
Good luck on this!
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