A corner stone of personal careers guidance is reflective practice, as it helps us to consider what went well in our career sessions and where we could have done things differently; the work of Schön and the approaches of reflection in-action and on-action is key to this.

Accurate and regular reflective practice can provide insight and help us to identify further areas for personal development. With this in mind, we have developed a tool for reflection which, we are gifting freely to the global career development community.

Our tool is available to download for free here.

It is based on a model for practice we call Orientations for Careers Work, which will be explained in greater depth next year, in an article which has been written for the CDI Career Matters magazine for career professionals. We have spoken to the CDI, and they are happy to promote the tool for use by both trainee careers professionals and established practitioners.

Overview: Orientations for Careers Work

Each aspect of our careers practice can be described as areas of focus or loci. Within a careers session, advisers may tap into different areas, depending on the needs of the client and context of the work.

Loci of practice:

I. Information – foundation building.
A. Advice – providing direction.
C. Counselling – self-insight building.
Co. Coaching – goal setting and motivation boosting.

An orientation of a primarily Counselling focused practitioner, who uses lots of Counselling in their approach, then Information, followed by a smaller amount of Coaching and then a smaller aspect of Advice, may be described in that session as a CICoA (Counselling, Information, Coaching, Advice) led practitioner.

Reflective Practice

Through considering our Loci in practice, it can provide career practitioners with a means to reflect upon the focus within their career sessions, and in so doing, consider why this is. From such a viewpoint, individuals can weigh up how their approach affects their practice and whether they identify more closely in their work as: “Careers Counsellors”, “Careers Coaches”, “Careers Information Specialists”, “Careers Advisers” or “Pluralistic Practitioners” (a mixture of each without one prime locus).

For many practitioners, different contexts lend themselves to different approaches where their locus of practice will shift. Being self-aware of when and why this happens, can help with self-development, self-awareness and building insight into practice through reflection.

Depending on the work they are doing, practitioners may describe themselves to their clients in different ways. This is especially useful, if a practitioner is trained both as a “Careers Counsellor” and “Careers Coach” and, may work with a wide variety of different clients.

To use the tool

  • Following a session with a client, add the percentage of time you felt you spent within each locus, to build a visualisation in the pie chart of your practice (it doesn’t have to be exact).
  • Consider the pros and cons of the results, as you reflect on your practice in the additional narrative fields.
  • Save a copy of each reflection in a safe place, to build a library of reflections to inform your practice.

If you have found the tool useful or have any comments to share with regards its use, please contact me at: christargett@cxk.org. I am really interested in gathering feedback so we can gauge the effectiveness of the model and develop it further if needs be.

With many thanks to Liane Hambly RCDP, Katherine Jennick RCDP, Dr Oliver Jenkin RCDP, Vicki Love RCDP and Rosy Taylor RCDP, for their assistance in helping to develop this tool by providing feedback and insights on the earliest versions of the model.

Chris Targett, CXK Area Manager and Careers Adviser, Kent & Medway.