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Is Career Coaching a Science or an Art?

In short, career coaching helps people to make informed, smart career decisions. The process of coaching someone is a lot more complex than this sentence would lead you to believe, however, and it takes years of practice and experience to truly become an excellent career coach.

I believe that everyone and anyone can benefit from career coaching regardless of where they are at in their careers. I’ve worked with college graduates about to enter to work to corporate executives seeking a career change or some further progression. One of the smartest decisions you will ever make is using the skills and experience of a career coach to help you achieve your career goals.

From a coaching perspective, there are a lot of different ways you can approach career coaching. Coaches have their own unique styles and likewise, every individual client has different needs to achieve their desired results.

Two different schools of thought when it comes to approaching career coaching: a scientific approach or one that takes advantage of art and creativity. Personally I have found each of these approaches necessary with different clients. I thought I would break down these techniques in a little more detail to help you decide when these very different approaches may be most appropriate.

Is career coaching an art?

The definition of art is an expression or application of creative imagination and skill.

I have used the expression of art to my own career coaching. When I am coaching someone one of the first questions I always ask is, “Are you allowed to be creative and use your imagination in your current role?”

If the answer is no, it raises a red flag. Why is this the case? Maybe the person lacks the confidence or the environment to express themselves, or they just don’t have a good answer. Whatever the reason, this is an area for concern, without being able to express who they are they will never achieve the career progression they are after.

I think that art plays a huge part in career progression. Where would we be without the freedom of imagination and creativity in this world, right? Thinking outside of the box is absolutely vital to helping coach someone and guide them in their career path.

Is career coaching a science?

The definition of science is to study physical behavior in the natural world through observation to make informed assessments based on factual information.

Using a scientific approach to career coaching goes much further than just looking at someone’s physical behavior, of course. There are a lot of opportunities to use a scientific approach to career coaching, and it’s certainly beneficial to take a scientific approach to understanding why and how someone has progressed in their career.

I tend to look at how well-suited someone is in their current career or the career they want to enter. Finding ways to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses through studying their previous performances is vital here.

How do you approach career coaching? Or, what has worked for you personally? Today’s working environment is more demanding than ever, being able to adapt as you progress in your career will keep you ahead of the curve. Whether you use a scientific approach, or lead more on the creative side, having an open mind and finding what works is the key.

Thinking of hiring a career coach to help you advance your professional life? Browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!

About the Author Noel Griffith

Noel Griffith has worked as a careers advisor and recruitment consultant for a number of years both on a one-to-one basis and with large corporations. Finding a passion for blogging and sharing his experiences with a wider audience in recent years you can find him at or contact him directly at

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