Career Crisis Counselling

Career Crisis Counselling

The client may feel awful.

The effect of a work or career crisis on people may be severe. For many people, their identity, “I am an X”, and their way of life depend on their job. When the job is at risk, everything feels lost, and the person feels valueless, sad and often angry. No one can think and plan, market themselves, or decide about the future well when feeling awful. The loss signalled by job crises often stirs up painful memories of other losses (divorce, bereavement etc.). The client has to deal with these too.

The counsellor helps the client express their feelings

The first part of any counselling process is to listen to, release and accept painful feelings and help the person recover their self-esteem. If the client feels positive and freed by their situation change, allow them to celebrate fully.

The client needs to think clearly.

A crisis opens doors and closes them. When the feelings are out, the client has much work to do. The client can use the opportunity to think broadly about their future work options. A new job in the old organisation or field, a career in a new area, self-employment, relocation or travelling for a year is all possibilities. The openness of the options is daunting, and the temptations are to stay put, to do nothing or, rarely, to be hopelessly unrealistic about what is possible.

Focusing the client’s thoughts on their wants and resources

The counsellor helps the client explore the question, “What do I want to do with my life now?”. Exploring such a question is a very positive experience for most people. They then help the client explore and value their expertise, skills, knowledge and connections.

The client formulates a plan to get what they want

When the client knows what they wish to ideally and their resources, they need to plan. The program includes a detailed and realistic target and a process or processes for reaching it.

The counsellor encourages the client to act positively and realistically.

The counsellor’s task at this stage is to encourage the client to act and test the reality of wants. “What is your track record in the present Company? Will it support your ambitions?”. “You want to develop your amateur acting into a professional career. Have you talked with a professional about what is involved?” The client is also encouraged to look at all the ways of solving the problem and to decide on an initial approach.

The client presents themself to the market.

The client now has to present themself at an interview, on paper, online, and by telephone. For many people, this is new and somewhat frightening. It is challenging indeed if the negative feelings are still present.

The counsellor offers feedback and coaching on self-presentation

The counsellor can help by giving feedback and general guidance on the client’s CV, completing application forms, or creating business plans. People are often insufficiently positive about their achievements. Many do not mention their achievements at all!

The experience of being interviewed can also be daunting. So much seems to depend on half an hour. People are often nervous and, therefore, do not think very well. Gentle practice interviews with the counsellor followed by feedback to the client can improve performance dramatically. People learn that they are much more effective by being themselves than trying to act. CCTV enhances the process.

The client decides whether to accept an offer.

When work or a job is offered, the client has to decide whether to take it. This is an important decision. It does not help to move from the frying pan to the fire. Some people want to talk this over, perhaps over the phone.


This is my approach to career crisis counselling. It works and leaves the client more able and self-confident than they were before. They do most of the work.

Everyone will not need the whole of the above. Some will find an hour of being listened to intently enough to be able to do the rest on their own. Where people need everything, it rarely takes more than four to five half days over two to three months to work through the whole process.

These approaches are also effective in small groups.

If you would like help using this idea, or have any comments or questions please contact me. Thanks, Nick