Career Coaching Your Children:
Sample Content

Section 1: What is Parental Career Coaching?
1.25 hours
Delivery System: Traditional model, classroom with media center/computer lab

Download Section 1 Activities

Section 1 Objective: Describe, role-play and reflect on the purpose, and benefits, of parental career coaching.


1. Introductions and Icebreaker (10 min.)

  • Instructor will ask each learner to select a “ticket out the door” from a bowl as they enter the class. This “ticket” lists a career. The learner will need to tell the class the education needed for this career for their “ticket out the door” career research assessment, retention and transfer. The instructor will ask the learner to put the ticket in their pocket for later use in the course. Instructor will ask class to conduct online research about this career, during Section 2, via the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  • Have learners review syllabus and activity packet while waiting for class to begin.
  • Introduction of instructor (includes briefbackground) and course objectives.
  • Icebreaker: How did you answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” at age six? How does that align with what you are doing today?


1. Instruction: Career Coaching Overview and Purpose (5 min.)

  • Parents are a primary influence on the career development of their children (motivate, support); you know them better than anyone else.
  • Career awareness and small choices beginning in elementary school lead to the big picture (i.e., decision making) of active preparation in high school.
  • Creating strong self-concept (believing in your child allows them to believe in themselves).
  • Importance of learning what you like to do (interest), what is important to you (value) and what you can do well (skill).

2. Ask learners to complete the Interest, Value and Skills Assessment (5 min.)

3. Read instructions for, and ask learners to complete, the Career Reflection Exercise/Assessment and “The V. Family” case study. (15 min.)

4. Instruction: Identifying Coach’s Career Resources and Case Study (10 min.) Instructor will review concepts behind each question on Exploring Career Resources form and then prompt students to think about and respond accordingly. In addition, instructor will review the case study of Emily and have learners compete the applicable assessment.

  • Importance of remaining current in your career (past, present or future).
  • Review professional development and continuing education opportunities.

5. Instruction: Effective Questioning (5 min.) Instructor will present the following communication tools, which will serve as motivation for role-play activity. Learners will be given a copy of these tools as a memory aid.

Do you feel like a career “dentist”? Effective questioning can help.

  • Asking insightful questions and listening closely (and openly) is one of the best career tools you can offer.

Clarifying likes and dislikes.

  • Define thought-provoking questions. For example begin with, “If you had a magic wand and could do anything you like, what would you do?”

Present open-ended questions and listening.

  • Avoid yes or no questions. For example, “Do you want to be a dentist?”
  • When your child responds to a question, try to pick up on any underlying feelings. Pose probing, open-ended questions to help uncover what is holding them back. For example:

You: “What careers have you thought about?”

Child: “I wish I could do something related to art, but…(voice trails off)

You: “It sounds like you have some doubts or fears about that…” (Leave open for their reply.)

  • Try to avoid asking, “why,” as it tends to put people on the defensive.
  • Prepare for an unexpected response by responding, “Interesting, tell me more…” vs., “What?! You want to move to California…?”
  • Find out their interests. Some sample questions are, “What is your favorite school subject?” and “What have you done that you are most proud of?”

KISS: Keep it sweet & simple

  • Stick to one question at a time; avoid multi-part questions.

Offer time to think.

  • Think about your child and how they make decisions. Do they like to think about things for a while, even a few days? Encourage time to think.

Knowing when to say when.

  • If you are going nowhere, try another day when minds and spirits are refreshed.

6. Role-play Activity Assessment (25 min.)

Role-Play Instructions for Instructor:

  • Have learners take out the role-play checklist and preview.
  • Break learners up into groups of two.
  • Facilitate role-play activity. (10 min.)
  • Facilitate a debriefing session at the end of the role-play activity. (10 min.)


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Updated: 4/25/07
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