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How I do career counselling – from my presentation in the Grad Cert tutorial this morning

How I do career counselling

This is the information that I gave in my Grad Cert talk. 

I use a double-diamond strategy when I do career counselling.

My one-on-one sessions last over two hours with a break in the middle. 


The “problem” doesn’t have to be specific. You can start with a general notion about “what to do next”.

Part 1 Counselling (a bit over an hour)

The first part of my session is counselling. 

  1. I ask about their favourite subjects and results. I write it down on paper. I don’t use a computer during the session.
  2. The client identifies a few significant people in their network, parents, aunts and uncles, family friends, and what they do. If a student comes from a family of musicians they are more likely to be a musician. If the family owns a building business, they might choose to be a tradie, engineer or architect. 
  3. We then get down to identifying values. Use your favourite tools. It is essential that you unearth what is important to the client. I use coloured pens and fluro coloured paper and do the activities that I outline in the Year 10 Magic Happens Handbook. There are lots of tools around. Find what works for you. 

Based on all this information, we then narrow it down so that we can define the problem more specifically.

For example:

To find a path out of school that is helping people, that allows me to do my sport, where I can use social media communications.


4. We go for a walk. We will be tired, the counselling is draining. 

Everything about counselling must be about trust so there is no contrived agenda during the walk. We just relax, but often the client will reveal information that helps me to identify solutions. 

Part 2. Career Knowledge (a bit under 1 hour)

5. This part is easier. It is a discussion about opportunities generated from my knowledge of courses, employment and networks that could support the overarching goal. This is the information that I deliver every month through In Focus Careers News. 

We then narrow down the opportunities to a specific goal: 

To find a social media course that would help me to work in the disabled sport industry. 

At the end of the session, I undertake to get their personal career plan to them that day. They commit to doing at least two of the actions within a few days. 

Part 3. Personal Career Plan

  • As soon as the client leaves I write up a project plan with 3 separate goals and 3 or 4 associated actions that work towards each goal.  This is usually 4  pages long. 
  • I send that to the client. They are asked to email back the 2 actions that they will undertake this week. They can contact me any time. Many do as they are motivated and happy to be getting somewhere.
  • I contact them after a week. Sometimes further actions change based on the information they have learned.  
  • I continue to encourage and support and nag and deliver suggestions until the client achieves a direction that they are happy with. 

Hope that helps.

Subscribe to In Focus Careers to discover new opportunities for the career challenges of today and tomorrow. 

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