This past weekend, I attended the Art of Powerful Living workshop held at Easton Mountain, where a number of strong and spirited gay men gathered to look at their lives and learn some things about themselves and how coaching can help them move forward in their lives. As you can image, I do similar things in my work with people and their careers. While coaching techniques can certainly be used in the career development process, it’s not the entire process and there are more tools that I use. I got a few more tools for my toolbox and some more clarity about some of the goals t I want to work on.

Note: one strategy is to speak them out loud, so here we go: My goal is to have a syndicated career advice column for the GLBT media by the end of 2011. More on that later! (Let me know if you’ve got any leads/suggestions on this.)

This has brought more into focus a distinction that I’ve seen in my work. As you have probably seen, the title that I give to my work is a Career & Professional Development Consultant. Some shorthand terms for that would be career counselor or career coach. For me those don’t completely fit.

Someone who is a counselor specializes in the investigative process. What’s going in? What’s behind these feelings?  It seems to me that it’s about a lot of unearthing of the past to get to desires. Once found, it’s left up to the individual to manage that. While I really appreciate the work done here (I think that everyone can benefit from therapy), my work is a bit more action focused than that.

The more recent term that has come up is Coach. Coaches say that they aren’t interested in the past as much as the future. What do you want to accomplish? What’s the next step you can do to make things move forward? While I definitely work with people on action steps and moving forward, a big part of my work is making sure that people are moving forward in the right direction. Making progress in the wrong direction is the equivalent of wasting time!

I don’t have a degree in counseling or a coaching certification. My approach comes out of the field of adult professional development. I feel that the best term for what I do is Educator. I make sure that we can identify the proper goals and then take the action steps towards them. I do some aspects of counseling in that I dig up stuff in people’s background and some aspects of coaching where I help people plan for success.

So, can you identify the role you play? What do you call what you do?