PRP’s Philosophy of Coaching

Painting Resume Profiles – Coaching Philosophy

As Workforce Development Consultants and Career Coaches, we are irrevocably wedded to the ideal that every individual has agency and can/should find work that reinforces their intrinsic dignity, sense of personal worth and coherence.
We work from the heart and serve our clients from the overflow of a full integrated life. Thus, we are committed to continuous learning and professional improvement. As such, “we would rather have our clients drink from a running stream than a stagnant pool”.

We incorporate in our practice, the principles of anti-oppression, equity and inclusion in responding to service needs of our clients, while actively working towards removing systemic barriers to their socio-economic independence and psychological well-being.

We live with integrity, we pursue excellence, we serve others, and we are accountable. We believe that one’s life should stand behind what one does as a vivum vadium of authenticity that the eloquence of example may indeed be the formidable force (it has always been) for positive change and transformation.
The approach we take to career counselling is decidedly eclectic but fundamentally constructivist in orientation and principle. It is heavily influenced by the work of the late constructivist career educator, Dr. Vance Peavy, who believed that every person is the final authority on her/his own life. This approach draws on social constructivist ideas that applies equally well across all ages and cultural groups. The approach emphasizes the search for meaning as clients take responsibility for constructing their own work-life; the identification and validation of client strengths, values and assumptions, and the use of mapping, metaphor and mindfulness in assisting clients to tell and to understand their ‘career-life story’ and the major influences on how that story is assembled.
As observed by Chartrand et al., (1995), all of us have a ‘story-bank’ about who we are and how we fit into the world of work. This approach to counselling assumes that we all choose to live according to the stories from our “story bank” which suit us in particular situations and at particular times.
The existentialist aspect of our approach follows a specific philosophical method of enquiry involving description, understanding and exploration of the client’s reality, known as phenomenology. Challenges in the client’s life are confronted and perceived possibilities and limitations are explored. Through dialogue, a client’s “world view” is deconstructed and revealed, and their coping mechanisms and assumptions about their dilemmas re-examined.
This approach encourages us to be realistic about our limitations which in turn help us to identify our possibilities. By re-examining our assumptions about ourselves, others and the world we live in, we create the possibility of seeing new opportunities for meaningful living which may well have been obscured, denied or not envisaged. An existential approach does not eliminate anxiety but encourages us to engage with it courageously.
We all know from personal experience that doing meaningful and satisfying work make us fulfilled and engaged and in many respects are more important than monetary incentives. Our intention is to help clients engage with their work in a more meaningful ways. It’s about accepting that life and work involves pleasure and pain, sadness and joy, success and failure, good and bad. We all live with the tension of these paradoxes everyday but our response is often to move towards one end or the other of those polarities and seek to eliminate or deny any value or influence of the other.
These approaches to career counselling are therefore significantly different from the traditional approaches to social thought that has dominated theory over the last century (Chartrand et al., 1995; Cochran, 1997; Collin & Young, 1986; Peavy, 1992; Savickas, 1993; Savickas, 1997; Young et al., 1996). Savickas (1997) regard career constructivism as a meta-theory that stresses proactive features of human knowing. They acknowledge the recent trend for practitioners to use constructivism to understand career behaviour, with the result that career counselling is being reshaped ‘from an objective enterprise to an interpretative science’ (p.150).
These approaches are internally congruent, holistic, culture-based and respectful of the individual. They accept that each individual is capable of constructing her/his own lives through the recognition of what brings meaning, personal significance and coherence.
We utilize narrative discourses and other constructivist techniques when helping our clients by asking them to:
• Describe their “stories” in developing an understanding of their experiences (real & imagined) that have shaped their career-life.
• We co-investigate stories as to how and why they came into being. What were the ‘systems of influence’ (see STF Patton & McMahon), on the client self and on their main relationships. It is important that any problem is seen as an influencer on a person’s life rather than a part of that person’s life. Dr. Peavy whose work has help to frame my understanding of career counselling, frequently said, “the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem”
• Reflect upon and connect with client’s intentions, values, hopes, and commitments. Once values and hopes have been located in specific life events, they help to “re-author” or “re-story” a person’s experience with reference to the future.

A Workforce and Career Development Consultancy

Professional opinions are common. Wisdom is not.