Why Finding Yourself Has Replaced the Corporate Ladder
December 20, 2021
A recent article, “Career Coaching Today: Forget the Corporate Ladder and Find Yourself” by New York Times reporter Lauren Mechling explores how the pandemic affected the mindset of both coaches and their clients. The pandemic fundamentally changed people’s relationship to work. It’s these professional identity crises, and the increased awareness going into the pandemic of a lack of job security, that’s led to what is being called The Great Resignation– a phenomenon where about 4 million workers have quit their jobs each month for the past seven months.
To serve these people and their changing mindsets, career coaches have evolved to meet their needs. Career coaching right now is moving away from recommending five year plans, encouraging movement up the corporate ladder, and emphasizing productivity. Instead, coaches are customizing their techniques to clients’ needs and starting open conversations about future career paths. The pandemic has upended our model of living and working, and it’s rightfully prompting people to question the conventional wisdom on how they choose to work and live their lives. As executive coach Caroline Webb says,
“One of the biggest priorities today is helping people see not just what job they might want but how they want to work differently.”
This newfound emphasis on self reflection and inner truth however, further blurs the line between coaches and therapists for some prospective clients. The key difference between coaching and therapy has always been the lens. Coaching is forward looking and goal oriented with a limited amount of delving into the past and only to the extent it relates to the future. Therapy, on the other hand starts at the beginning, with the premise that we are outcomes of our history and experience and unpacking this is essential to who we are.
The pandemic amplified the coaching industry’s focus on interiority, but therapy is a necessity in cases where the unpacking of the past is the priority more than the future. Mental health professionals are trained to help process trauma, unresolved feelings, and break bad habits. This could benefit a person’s professional life as well, but coaching’s purpose is helping clients thrive in their personal lives and professional lives. To read more about different coaching styles that emerged after the pandemic and the stories of their clients, read the New York Times article here.