Adlerian coaching and style discovery

Have you ever felt lost when it comes to choosing the right career path? Do you find yourself struggling to figure out what you truly want to do? The key to finding fulfilment and success in your career is to discover your unique career style.


Understanding your career style involves identifying your strengths, interests, values, and personality traits to find a job that aligns with who you are and what you want to achieve. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of discovering your career style within the context of 'Adlerian career coaching'. 

What does 'Adlerian career coaching' mean?

In Adlerian psychology, occupation represents one of the main tasks of life. We actually start training for our careers in early childhood – when we form our core beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world. Often, lack of fulfilment in the career task is fundamental to those in society who are discouraged.

Adlerian career coaching focuses on the uniqueness of the individual and tries to explain how individual interests develop. When working with a coach, together you will clarify the meaning of career decisions, big or small. You will explore your coaching goals and how you might achieve them. You will also look at your unique way of moving towards previous goals to get a sense of the present guiding lines.

The 'career style' discovery process

The 'career style' discovery process starts with a simple question, “How can I be useful to you as you construct your career?”. As a career coach, I firmly believe that starting with a clearly defined, client-generated goal is paramount to a successful outcome. 

The more specific the goal is, the higher the chances of success. However, there is a good chance you might not know what a precise goal might sound like for you. That should not stop you from turning to a career coach or advisor. Career coaching is not only about hitting milestones, it's also about gaining clarity in what you want to achieve!

Career style discovery questions

Because we are in search of a synthesis between our unconscious beliefs and reality, it is valuable to bring the former to our awareness so we can start joining up the pieces of the client movement puzzle. One of the best things about Adlerian psychology is asking creative questions to facilitate that discovery. Never underestimate the power of an innocuous career coaching question.

Here are two stimulus questions that I ask when working with career coaching clients:

1. Whom did you admire when you were growing up?

This question looks at role models and addresses the client's self-concept. It is important to focus on what is admired about the model, not on whom. Not only do the models identify a central life goal, but they also articulate the client’s central concern. Furthermore, the models can disclose what the client thinks it will take to overcome that problem. 

Most of the time, clients choose role models who share the same predicament as them, yet they have found a way out of that trouble. 

We tend to pick role models from a wide range of sources, so it does not have to be a famous person or a fictional character. I have encountered client role models ranging from 90s sitcom characters to commonplace next-door neighbours. The crux of the matter is to collaboratively unearth the narration of the client's self-concept and strategies as the role models are presented. 

2. What were your most liked and disliked school subjects?

Even if we start our unconscious preparation for the task of work when we are small children, the school setting may represent the first rehearsal of a work environment. When we start school, we are confronted with deadlines in an organisation-like setting – we experience having random adults tell us what to do, and we discover our vocational tendencies. 

Exploring school subjects in career coaching helps to examine the client’s talents, skills and abilities. Asking about grades and satisfaction brings to light the client's beliefs about success and happiness at work. For example, clients can recall obtaining excellent grades, but with a low level of satisfaction, due to the taxing amount of effort they had to put in. So they can grow up with the unconscious belief that the only acceptable cost for success is back-braking, unsatisfactory toil.  

Examining school subjects aims to identify what skills each course requires and what skills the client took away as being valuable or unimportant. Excelling at foreign languages can necessitate a proclivity towards pattern discovery, just as disliking arts and crafts can indicate an inclination towards the abstract. 

Isn't it fascinating how seemingly unremarkable questions can spark so much insight about our career orientation? These are only some examples of what may be involved in career coaching and seeking the support of a professional. I, personally, would love to hear about your role models and favourite school subjects, and how they left a mark on your career choices! 

If you're interested in career style discovery coaching, or career coaching in general, or you want to find out more about my work, get in touch and we can book a discovery call. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Surbiton KT6 & London EC2R
Written by Madalina Galie, MAC, life coach with a therapeutic focus.
Surbiton KT6 & London EC2R

Hi, I'm Maddie. I work with women to claim a sense of power over their relationship dynamics. I help them understand what their life movement is so that they handle the next hurdle with courage and grace.

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