‘Career Coach’ Dearbhla Kelly

20161201_145002A step-by-step guide to help your teen find their life’s purpose.

‘Career Coach’ is an insightful read for any parent who wants to support their teen as they go through the Leaving Cert. year. It encourages parents to take a ‘hands off’ approach and allow their child the autonomy that they deserve to make their own decisions knowing their parents trust and support them along the way – helicopter and lawnmower parents beware! Dearbhla Kelly teaches parents how to communicate with their sometimes uncommunicative teen through opened ended questions derived from genuine curiousity and loving concern. Threats and accusations are replaced with compassionate support to gently persuade and encourage your teen to engage in some reflective thinking and personal development to find the career path most suited to them. Parents are warned against the temptation to emulate their own unfulfilled dreams through the lives for their children. Conversely parents are asked to reflect on their own goals and dreams in life in an exercise to empathise and understand the huge questions we are asking  of our young people. This book serves as a reflective journey for both parent and teenager.

Kelly covers a wide variety of topics in this book such as: communication, values, interests, skills, motivation. There are various exercises to really get you thinking and reflecting on  career exploration. This book stresses how personal reflection and taking the time to get to know yourself is crucial to making the right career choice. Kelly does emphasise how careers are fluid and there is no such thing as a job for life anymore. Instead parents and students are encouraged to think of careers as a developing process.

The layout of the book is to be commended. There are 10 steps to career coaching. Each chapter outlines the objectives of the step; there are tasks for parents and students to undertake and ample anecdotes to describe how Kelly herself has used these exercises and had success. Each chapter ends with a summation of the key points and a Career Profile. The Career Profiles span various different disciplines and show how people in successful careers have overcome adversity to get where they are today; teenagers might recognise some of the names such as Diarmuid Gavin and Neven Maguire.

Overall this book makes for some interesting reading. It is an Irish publication making it very relevant to Irish Leaving Cert. students. There is information on just about all you need to know about making informed choices on your pathway beyond the Leaving Cert. I would recommend that parents and students use this book in the latter half of 5th year. A lot of the personal development tasks are time consuming if you are to do them properly. There is also a lot of reflective work required. Students in 6th year may find this an extra chore to add to their heavy workload. The tasks would prove to be more fruitful exercises with a student nearing the end of 5th year when leaving school is on their radar but they aren’t yet in the full throws of the Leaving Cert.

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