In a recent webinar hosted by IVETA Global and Wawiwa Tech, we discussed career counseling and coaching as a lever to professional development. Some of the topics we explored included the essence and importance of career coaching for students, the characteristics of an effective career coach, the benefits and challenges of career coaching programs, and the best practices for institutions aiming to integrate such programs into their curriculum.
Watch the Webinar recording now!
We interviewed two accomplished guests at our webinar, with extensive experience in career coaching in academic institutions:
Dr. Sheila Jacobs – Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer at Arkansas Tech University – Ozark Campus.
Under her leadership, the university inaugurated a groundbreaking career coaching program, designed to help students identify and map out their professional trajectories. Dr. Jacobs holds a doctorate in educational leadership and numerous coaching certifications.
Mr. Eliraz Blau – Industry Relations Manager at Ono Academic College.
As part of his job, Mr. Blau mentors and coaches students on building their CVs, preparing for job interviews, and impressing potential employers. Coming from the industry, as a recruitment manager and talent sourcer at Intel, and now working at an academic institution, Eliraz embodies the bridge between academic pursuits and industry requirements. Mr. Blau holds an M.A. in Organizational Behavior.
Moderating the discussion was: Oded Israeli, our Chief Marketing Officer at Wawiwa Tech.
With over two decades in marketing, strategy, and product management, and a decade of volunteer work helping new immigrants in Israel in finding a job, Oded guided the discussion, offering a 360-degree view on how counseling and coaching play pivotal roles in shaping professional futures.
The Essence and Importance of Career Coaching
Career coaching is crucial in helping students identify and navigate their professional paths. It provides personalized plans, ongoing support, and work-based learning experiences to bridge the gap between academia and industry. “Starting with small achievable goals is pivotal in career coaching, especially since students often aren’t clear about their desires,” states Dr. Sheila Jacobs. Eliraz Blau added, “Understanding what the student wants and highlighting their true potential to secure a job they will truly enjoy are crucial in career coaching”.
For students, it’s paramount to recognize the value of gaining work experience while pursuing their degrees. Delving into the professional world at an early stage, allows them to discern their preferences, understand their positioning within the industry, and gain hands-on experience. Here, the influence of career coaches becomes evident. They guide students in identifying and seizing the right opportunities, underscoring the significance of real-world experience in complementing academic learning and in enhancing employability in the competitive job market.
The Role of Career Coaches
Career coaches play a vital role in guiding and mentoring; from navigating the complex and time-consuming job application process to understanding the intricacies of networking and personal branding, they offer comprehensive support. Recognizing changes and trends in the market such as the demand for AI, robotics, and automation is crucial for career coaches to effectively maximize opportunities. An effective career coaching relationship is deeply interpersonal; it fosters a sense of trust and comfort, ensuring students return for guidance rather than treating coaching as a one-off experience. While institutional encouragement and parental support are beneficial, it’s ultimately the student’s proactive approach that plays a pivotal role in job-hunting success. Nevertheless, it also falls on career coaches to maintain students’ interest and motivation.
In the webinar, several success stories highlighted the transformative power of career coaching. One student, coming from a challenging background with no clear direction in life, consulted a career coach. Through their sessions, he discovered a potential fit in the manufacturing sector, secured an interview, and subsequently landed a position as a paid intern. Another individual, armed with a degree and military experience, struggled to find a job. His sessions with a career coach highlighted areas he’d overlooked: poor self-presentation, inadequate interpersonal skills, a lack of awareness about economic shifts, and misaligned expectations. The coaching not only helped him in getting a job, but also, more crucially, steered him onto a clearer professional path. Modern career coaches are akin to influencers, tasked with expanding students’ horizons and introducing them to the vast realm of untapped possibilities. A successful career coach exhibits qualities like empathy, adaptability, industry insight, and the ability to foster confidence in their students.
Integration of Career Coaching in Academia
For academic institutions aiming to incorporate career coaching into their offerings, it’s vital to approach the integration both strategically and with a student-centric mindset. The initial step involves thoroughly understanding the student audience, delving into aspects like their academic backgrounds, cultural dynamics, professional aspirations, and the unique challenges they face. This foundational knowledge allows the institution to tailor career coaching to address specific needs and ambitions. Equally important are clear objectives that guide the coaching program’s vision, practical evaluation metrics to measure its effectiveness, and nurturing strategic partnerships with industry leaders and professionals to facilitate placements. Such partnerships not only enhance the credibility of the coaching program but also ensure its long-term sustainability and relevance in an ever-evolving job market.
It’s crucial for institutions to ensure career coaches are top-notch. They must be great listeners, adaptable, and knowledgeable about the job market. Institutions need to pick these coaches carefully, making sure they’re up-to-date with the latest trends and skills. This way, coaches can really help students transition smoothly from school to a job they’ll love.
The significance of career coaching in the academic and professional landscape is undeniable. It acts as the guiding light, leading students through the maze of their professional ambitions, making sense of their strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Institutions, recognizing this, are placing increased emphasis on embedding such programs into their curricula, ensuring their graduates aren’t just degree holders but are career-ready individuals. This is the era of informed and strategic career choices, and with the right support, every student can carve their unique path in the professional world.