What is vocational coaching?

 Individuals may have an idea of what they want to achieve but not know how to achieve it. This solution focussed process applies psychological approaches to help set clear vocational goals and identify exactly what the individual needs to build their motivation and effectiveness for work. They are supported to identify their strengths and to build resilience, confidence, emotional intelligence and ability to adapt and make changes to accommodate their health condition (neuroplasticity). Neuroplasticity can be defined as the brain’s ability to change and adapt to situations following injury or disability through the development of new neural pathways. Evidence shows that the use of coaching techniques creates new neural pathways in the brain, subsequently allowing the individual to think differently about their goals and to enable them to engage in the new behaviours that support those goals.

The specialised coaching is focused on goal attainment and facilitates change by identifying different ‘routes’ to achieve particular goals depending on the individual requirements.  This approach has been shown to increase client motivation and engagement, subsequently increasing the likelihood of them moving into employment. 

Why would I choose coaching versus the more traditional Vocational assessment?

This is a different approach from the more traditional vocational assessment in that it is more proactive and practical rather than academic. It focuses on action planning. Our vocational coaching service identifies transferable skills, strengths, interests and values etc. to assist the individual to identify the right job for them. In addition to this it uses psychological analysis to help the individual dig deeper and understand themselves better, thus raising their awareness of the underlying limiting beliefs that have been holding them back. The psychologists will then assist the individual to make changes that address the obstacles. The coaching approach is particularly effective in moving people forward who have become stuck or had difficulty overcoming barriers. This time limited focused intervention has enabled such individuals to progress more rapidly into work. 

 Coaching definitions

“Help people set better goals and then reach those goals. Coaches ask their clients to do more than they would have done on their own and help their client to focus better so as to produce results more quickly. Coaches provide clients with the tools, support and structure to accomplish.”
“Coaching Psychologists constructively challenge the beliefs and assumptions clients make that prevent them either from reaching their full potential or find a different path to follow”
“The focus is directly on solutions, progress and action, and additional time is not spent dwelling on the problem, Solution Focused approaches bring about more immediate change”

Case illustrations  

Jenny an accountant who had been off work for 2 years due to cancer had been going through the motions, agreeing to start return to work preparation tasks agreed with the case manager, but putting them off and not making any progress. She was unaware of what was stopping her from successfully carrying out the tasks needed to get back to work, tending to focus on building up her fitness and blaming the lack of progress on various things like fatigue. 

The coaching psychologist helped her to look underneath the surface to realise that the trauma of her illness had resulted in psychological issues that hadn’t been addressed, including low self-esteem and confidence which meant she didn’t trust her own judgement. She said the coaching enabled her to turn a corner and with help from the psychologist she was able to make the changes and rebuild her confidence to enable her to move forward again into work. . 


Neil, a landscape gardener had been off work after a breakdown, was fearful about making a return to work because of the stress he had experienced in his previous role. He had been ‘foreman craftsman gardener’ on a large site and was responsible for running the project. He was worried that if he went back into his industry, he would find himself in a position of responsibility again and this could cause him to become unwell. Working with the coaching psychologist, he was able to recognise the self-imposed barriers he had created that were preventing him from moving forward. 

He had convinced himself he wouldn’t be desirable for any other job role and that his lack of confidence and low self-esteem meant he would never be able to get back into work. He was supported to build his confidence, which focused on his CV building. He had many transferrable skills and strengths but had never realised their versatility. 

Coaching helped him explore his motivation for work and he engaged in exercises that generated a desire to pursue a role in the environmental industry. He benefitted from 4 coaching sessions and an additional interview skills practice which prepared him for an interview. This preparation was to talk confidently about his skills and his health, especially as he had so much to offer. 

Fundamentally, it was his personal belief and confidence that had been restricting a positive move forward. He got the job and was even able to negotiate with the new employer that he would build up to full time hours over a month period!

How do I choose which assessment or service?

A discussion with one of our experts about your claimant’s situation will enable us to advise what level of assessment is right for each individual and their situation. We may suggest the more traditional vocational assessment or one of our new vocational coaching packages, or possibly a combination.