Category Archives: Changing World of Work

Digital jobseekers, digital employers

Modern day jobseekers will find it increasingly difficult to find employment without having a digital presence and using digital skills to search for and apply for jobs online. Similarly, employers need the digital skills for succesful online recruitment. The ability to interact in these online environments is often referred to as digital literacy. Having a presence in an online environment gives you a digital identity. This unit looks at digital literacy, skills, identity and jobsearches.

Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy is a popular topic for educators with many national curricula around Europe being re-written to encompass digital skills but what does it mean for you and for clients searching for jobs?

Jisc defines it as the capabilities which fit someone for living, learning and working in a digital society. (Follow the link and select ‘guide to developing digital literacies’ for further reading)

The report by ECORYS (2016) encompases digital literacy as a digital skill (you have already seen this document in a previous unit);

Over recent years, the definition of digital skills has broadened out to the concept of digital literacy encompassing multiple types of skill-sets such as basic, operational, cognitive, social and attitudinal. 

The policy paper shows a useful map of digital skills shown below but you can find a bigger version on page 49 of the document. (Click on the image to be redirected to the document then scroll to page 49)

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Thinking back to the last 2 units and the diagram above (also on page 49 of Digital Skills for the UK Economy ) answer the following;

  • What digital skills do you need to be able to do your job effectively? 
  • What skills might others need?
  • How do you learn these skills?
  • How will others learn them?

Activity – You might like to try this digital literacy skills test with a certificate of achievement at the end.

Digital Identity

Everyone who uses the internet leaves a trail of information about themselves, even if you do not create or share content you are still leaving footprints in the form of search history and cookies. Digital marketers use this information to target you with tailored adverts and even tailored search results.

Search for yourself on-line, what do you find? What do you want people to find when they search for you? You might want the answer to be nothing, but equally you might want to present your professional skills, qualifications and achievements.

In some occupational areas having a multi-platform, online presence can be very important. For example, if you were an employer looking for a computer games developer or a marketing professional or a researcher you would expect the successful candidate to show up on a variety of social media. If they didn’t, then you might question their enthusiasm or abilities. In other jobs it is far less important. A jobseeker would need to consider carefully whether a future employer would expect them to be an active social media user, and if so, how to construct an on-line presence that demonstrates they have the skills an employer is looking for before they ever get to the interview stage.


Consider the following digital items you may have.  Arrange them on a continuum from ‘very private’ to ‘very public’.


Complete some of these Digital Identity activities from EmployID.

Digital Jobsearch

Jobseekers increasingly need to be tech savvy not just in searching for but also in applying for jobs.  A recent advert for a bar-tender vacancy called for applicants to upload a short introductory video about themselves. It is clear that digital literacy is fast becoming an essential skill in a competitive market.


Read this handy guide from Dr Judith Done and Professor Rachel Mulvey.

Let’s try to bring together your thoughts and ideas

  • What digital skills do you and others need to be able to do your job effectively?
  • How do you learn these skills?
  • How do you present yourself online?
  • How does online presence impact on a person’s ability to find a job?
  • How does job search and recruitment differ around the world?


You can find more in the book;

Done, J. & Mulvey, R. (2016) Brilliant Graduate Career Handbook. 3rd edition. Harlow: Pearson available from Amazon

International Perspectives

The Future of Work and Skills

Digital Jobs, Digital Workforce

Digital Jobseekers, Digital Employers

Reflection and Further Resources

Digital jobs, digital workforce.

In this unit we look at how the new digital era might affect the types of job available and how new technologies might mean some jobs become automated. Will the rise of the machines affect you and how can you future-proof yourself?


Jobs of the Future

Listen to ‘Futurist’ Mark Pesce talk about how work will be different in future (55 seconds in) and the suggestions of possible future jobs.


Think of some possible job titles for the future, here are some ideas to get you started.

      • Digital architect – Designs a selection of virtual buildings for advertisers and retailers to market their products;
      • Body part maker – Creates living body parts for athletes and soldiers;
      • Nano-medic – Creates very small implants for health monitoring and self-medication;
      • Vertical farmer – Farms crops upwards rather than across flat fields to save space;
      • Climate controller – Manages and modifies weather patterns;
      • Avatar manager – Designs and manages holograms of virtual people;
      • Memory augmentation surgeon – Helps preserve and improve memory in an ageing population;
      • Child designer – Designs offspring that fit parental requirements;
      • Omnipotence delimiter – Reins in our belief that anything is possible and we are all-powerful;
      • Personal medical apothecary – Provides a bespoke range alternative therapies;
      • Haptic programmer – Develops technology around the science of touch, such as gloves that make your hand feel warm, or wrapped in velvet.

In the video above, Mark Peske says that if a job can be automated it will be. Do you agree?

Have a look at these fun quizzes designed to help you think about yourself and digital transformation.

Thinking about future technologies – Will a robot take your job? Follow the link then type a job into the search bar, will the job become automated in the future?

There’s another similar quiz here if you’d like to double check!

Now we will look at ways to future-proof yourself. If your job is at risk of becoming automated you will need to think about career adaptability and resilience in the face of change.

Try this reflective quiz

Thinking about yourself – What animal are you?


Take a few minutes to reflect on what steps you can take to future-proof yourself, then watch the video about resilience.

If you’d like to find out more, there is a substantial body of literature on ‘career adaptability’ (Savickas et al., 2009; Savickas, 2011) as discussed in Week 1.

Building on this and reflecting on career resilience (Lyons, Schweitzer, and Ng,2015). we can think of resilience as ‘the process of bending and rebounding to overcome adversity’ (Hunter, 2001, p. 172) as noted by Lengelle et al. (2016).

This is a multi-dimensional phenomenon that varies according to contexts, internal variables, and external changes. Resilience is often viewed as a positive outcome ‘which is defined by the presence of positive mental health (such as positive self-concept and self-esteem, academic achievement, success at age-appropriate developmental tasks, etc.) and the absence of psychopathology, despite exposure to risk’ (Metzl and Morrell, 2008). This concept is also interpreted as a dynamic learning process dependent upon interactions between individual and contextual variables that evolve over time. In this sense, resilience refers to the capability to ‘bounce back’ from negative emotional experiences associated with adversity.

So what steps can you take?

You could employ some of the techniques discussed in last week’s lesson on Coaching and Peer coaching to help with problem solving and finding creative solutions.

You can look at your digital skills – see the next unit for ideas.




Bimrose, J., Brown, A., Barnes, S-A., & Hughes, D. (2011) The role of career adaptability in skills supply. Wath-upon-Dearne: UKCES (UK Commission for Employment and Skills). (UKCES Evidence Report).

Hunter, A. J. (2001). A cross-cultural comparison of resilience in adolescents. Journal of Pediatric
, 16, 172-179  Lengelle, R., Van der Heijden, B and Meijers, F. (In Press) The Foundations of Career Resilience,

Kettunen, J., Sampson, J. P., & Vuorinen, R. (2015). Career practitioners’ conceptions of competency for social media in career services. British Journal of Guidance & Counseling, 43, 43-56. Retrieved from doi:10.1080/03069885.2014.939945

Lengelle, R., Van der Heijden, B and Meijers, F. (In Press) The Foundations of Career Resilience, Springer Books.

Lyons, S. T., Schweitzer, L. and Ng, E. S. W. (2015) ‘Resilience in the modern career’, Career Development International, 20(4), 363–383.

Metzl, E. S. and Morrell, M. A. (2008). ‘The role of creativity in models of resilience: Theoretical exploration and practical applications’, Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 3(3), 303–318.

Savickas, M. L., Nota, L., Rossier, J., Dauwalder, J. P., Duarte, M. E., Guichard, J. and Van Vianen, A. E. (2009) ‘Life designing: A paradigm for career construction in the 21st century’, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 75(3), 239–250; and Savickas, M. L. (2011) ‘Career Counseling’, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Springer Books. 41 Metzl, E. S. and Morrell, M. A. (2008). ‘The role of creativity in models of resilience: Theoretical exploration and practical applications’, Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 3(3), 303–318.

International Perspectives

The Future of Work and Skills

Digital Jobs, Digital Workforce

Digital Jobseekers, Digital Employers

Reflection and Further Resources

The Future of Work and Skills

Skills for a Digital World

A report published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris (OECD, 2016) provides some evidence on the effects of digital technologies on the demand for skills in differing economies. It discusses key policies for skills development adapted to a 21st century digital economy. The authors argue workers across an increasing range of occupations need higher level ICT skills to use new technologies effectively. More fundamentally, the diffusion of digital technologies is changing how work is done, raising demand for complementary skills such as information processing, self-direction, problem solving and communication. You can read the full report here.

Want to delve into some country specific examples? See: Norway (p.18); Spain (p.21); Ireland (p.22); The Netherlands (p.25); Korea and Ireland – insights to SMEs and digital innovations (p.26); Canada (p.29); Italy (p.37); and the UK Open Source Data (p.44)

This poses both challenges and opportunities for greater responsiveness of governments to national skills shortages and skills gaps. For example, here is a UK government policy paper ‘Industrial Strategy’ (January, 2017) that highlights:

  “Within the next two decades, 90 per cent of jobs will require some digital proficiency, yet 23 per cent of adults lack basic     digital skills. This is a barrier topeople fulfilling their potential and to a more productive workforce.” (House of Commons,     London: Science and Technology Committee (2016) ‘Digital Skills Crisis’)

In response, Tinder Foundation CEO Helen Milner indicates that a wider proliferation of digital skills would release a surprising amount of value into the economy. “Some of our research showed that every £1 invested in growing people’s basic digital skills put £10 back into the economy. But it’s not enough to save money – you’ve got to show how you can make money out of it as well.” (NewStatesman, October 2016) –

Another report, the DCMS Digital Skills Report has the following to say about digital skills;

“The rapid rate of technological innovations requires the current workforce to continually update their skills to equip them for emerging roles in the sectors in which they work,which have been influenced by new technologies. In the context of social inclusion, the application of digital skills offers wider opportunities for society and democracy.”

“Digital skills range from those that enable basic social interaction (communication skills, literacy,smartphone usage etc) through to skills that enable interaction with systems and services (for example, e-commerce and e-government services) through to skills that match the needs of employers and which maximise employability.

We will look at the DCMS Digital Skills Report again in the next unit.


Reflect – What digital skills do you use every day? Are there any you would like to improve?

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Image Pixabay cc0

Data Driven Innovation

Today, the generation and use of huge volumes of data are redefining our “intelligence” capacity and our social and economic landscapes. This is spurring new industries, processes and products and creating significant competitive advantages. In this sense, according to the Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD, 2015),  data-driven innovation (DDI) has become a key pillar of 21st-century growth, with the potential to significantly enhance productivity, resource efficiency, economic competitiveness, and social well-being.

Greater access to, and use of, data create a wide array of personal impacts and policy challenges, ranging from privacy and consumer protection to open access issues and measurement concerns, across public and private health, legal and science domains.


The UK Commission for Employment & Skills (2014) identified 10 key disruptions:

1. Reverse migration

2. Changing values of employees’, where workers select employers on the basis of alignment with their own values

3. Zero-hour contracts, and similar flexible arrangements, become the norm

4. Anytime, anywhere skills delivery, enabled by virtual and peer-to-peer learning

5. Artificial intelligence (AI) and robots, penetration of AI and automation into highly skilled occupations

6. De-globalisation

7. Geographically alternative centres of excellence, a nations leading position in key economic sectors is lost to high growth economies

8. Disrupted Internet developments due to cyber crime

9. Resource conflicts or climate disasters threaten supply

10. Partial fragmentation of the EU.

Think about differing scenarios now and in the future, have a look at these four possibilities fromThe Future of Work: Jobs and Skills in 2030 (page xiv):

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Let’s try to bring together your thoughts and ideas

  • Reflect – What digital skills do you use every day? Are there any you would like to improve?
  • How do you think access to increasing amounts of data will impact the future of work and skills?
  • Consider the key disruptive factors likely to impact on economic, educational and/or social outcomes in your town, region or country.
  • Think about differing scenarios now and in the future: What are your thoughts and experiences of going digital?
  • Are there other likely scenarios? If yes, what might these include?


Remember you can interact with us via Twitter using #EmployIDMOOC

International Perspectives

The Future of Work and Skills

Digital Jobs, Digital Workforce

Digital Jobseekers, Digital Employers

Reflection and Further Resources

International Perspectives: A New Digital Era

The Next Industrial Revolution

Billions of people are connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, the possibilities are huge. These possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing. The digital age has been referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.

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Infographics by Angela Rees cc4.0 


This video originally shared by World Economic Forum

Digital Economy

Digital technologies are central to international and European economic growth. For example, while 250 million Europeans use the internet daily, 18% have never used it at all. The digital economy is growing 7 times as fast as the rest of the economy. Much of this growth has been fuelled by broadband internet.

Recent European Union trends (DESI, 2016) show country variations when it come to  (i) connectivity; (ii) human capital; (iii) use of internet; (iv) integration of digital technologies; and (v) digital public services.

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For example, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands have the most advanced digital economies in the EU followed by Luxembourg, Belgium, the UK and Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Italy have the lowest scores in the DESI. In 2016, all Member States improved on the DESI. Slovakia and Slovenia progressed the most (more than 0.04 as opposed to an EU average of 0.028). On the other hand, there was low increase in Portugal, Latvia and Germany (below 0.02). See here to download country reports, studies and open datasets:

“Digital technologies are going into every aspect of life. All they require is access to high-speed internet. We need to be connected, our economy needs it, people need it.” Jean-Claude Juncker, State of the Union Address European Parliament, 14 September 2016.

You may also find this presentation on the possibility of a digital single market for Europe puts forward some interesting ideas.

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Today’s high-speed broadband networks are having just as great an impact as electricity and transport networks a century ago. They are also paving the way for innovative services such as eHealth and Social Care Strategies, for example in Scotland: A draft vision for the new Strategy 2017-2022.

Click on the link in each part below to view case study examples that show how the eHealth and Socal Care Strategies’ digital vision will be realised.

As a citizen of Scotland:

I have access to the digital information, tools and services I need to help maintain and improve my health and wellbeing.

I expect my health and social care information to be captured electronically, integrated and shared securely

to assist service staff and carers that need to see it, and

digital technology and data will be used appropriately and innovatively to help plan and improve services,

enable research and economic development

and ultimately improve outcomes for everyone.

Jobs and Growth in Europe

Europe 2020 is the European Union’s ten-year jobs and growth strategy. It was launched seven years ago (2010) to create the conditions for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Five headline targets were agreed by the European Commission for the EU to achieve by the end of 2020. These cover employment; research and development; climate/energy; education; social inclusion and poverty reduction. You can find out more about the strategy here and watch this short intro video 

International Perspectives

The Future of Work and Skills

Digital Jobs, Digital Workforce

Digital Jobseekers, Digital Employers

Reflection and Further Resources



EmployID peer coaching practice


In this unit you will learn more about what is necessary to form a peer coaching group. Without further training you will probably not be ready to practice the entire peer coaching process just yet, but you could practice some of the techniques in a group. (You can learn more about the whole peer coaching process in our 3 week course here)

What do you need for peer coaching with your colleagues?


  • You have participated in EmployID peer coaching online course OR you are a professional/practicing coach and informed yourself about the peer coaching process.

  • You are motivated to facilitate others learning and you are also interested in bringing in your own challenges.

  • You accepted the code of ethics for your peer coaching group OR actively created this code of ethics and then accepted it.

  • You are okay with organizing the first sessions (e.g., meeting schedule, facilities, moderation of the group).

How do you start a peer coaching group?

There are different possibilities to start a peer coaching group:

  • Ask other participants of a peer coaching training (e.g. peer coaching online course of EmployID) if they want to participate in your peer coaching group.

    • Either ask participants directly (personally) or

    • write a post in the comments, that you are searching for members for your peer coaching group

  • Ask other peer coaching interested colleagues to take the next peer coaching course of EmployID or use the open one to start with you a peer coaching group.

Testimonials of peer coaching training

Comments on Public Employment practicioners from Public Employment Services in Slovenia and Croatia on EmployID peer coaching and the peer coaching training.

Practice EmployID Peer Coaching  process with our self-coaching approach

Now this introduction on how to start a peer coaching group was very theoretical and you need clearly some more input on that. And you might not be able to join a peer coaching course yourself… so, to ensure that you benefit from the peer coaching process without a training course we have provided you a self-coaching process that is conceptualized to fit the peer coaching process. You can do this on your own whenever you need it.

Phase 1: Problem & situation

  • Which concern would you like to work on?

  • How would you describe the actual problem curtly and bold?

  • What have you tried so far to solve the problem?

  • How far are other persons concerned by the problem situation?

  • Can you feel the problem physically or spring suitable pictures or metaphors to your mind?

  • If your problem is solved optimal, how will you recognize it?

Phase 2: Vision, resources

  • Imagine you’re on holiday and your problem has been solved overnight. What happened to solve your problem?

    • How do you feel now that the problem is solved?

    • Can you feel anything physically after the problem is solved? What do you feel?

    • Which thoughts are running through your mind now that the problem is solved?

Phase 3: Collecting resources

  • What helped you in past resembling situations?

  • Search for resources that could help you in the current situation.

    • Think of internal resources such as strengths, values, capabilities.

    • Think of external resources such as other persons, communities, tools.

Phase 4: Setting goals

  • How will you recognize in your actual situation that the problem has been solved?

  • What’s different?

  • Which goals can you derive for your concern?

    • To which part of my concern refers the goal?

    • How can I notice that I have reached my goal?

    • How attractive and challenging is reaching the goal for myself?

    • How realistic is my goal?

    • Till when is the goal to be reached?

Phase 5: Solution & next steps

  • How can you put your goal/ goals into practice?

  • What are possible steps?

Now, you can start your Self-Coaching right away!

One step further: Receiving feedback!

If you want you can improve your Self-Coaching process by getting others involved in giving you feedback just like in the peer coaching.

In Phase 3 ask others (collagues, friends, family) about what they think are your internal and external resources. You can also take the resource wheel as help.

After clarifying the goal, you can ask others (colleagues, friends, family, even strangers) on their ideas for solutions and next steps.

EmployID Peer Coaching Online Tool

As an additional information we want to present to you the peer coaching online tool in short.

To support peer coaching done over distance we developed an online-tool which is available in a beta version.

Interest in further details on concept, training and tool? Contact us!

Are you interested in having a peer coaching practice implemented in your organization?

Do you want detailed information on peer coaching training or the EmployID peer coaching tool and how we implement peer coaching into Public Employment Services so far?

Then contact your tutor Carmen by emailing

We also have a handbook on concept, training and tool implementation.


EmployID Academy (2016). Open Peer Coaching Online Course. URL:

What is Coaching?

EmployID Peer Coaching

Core Skills



EmployID peer coaching core skills

Core peer coaching skills

There are five EmployID peer coaching core skills:

  • peer coaching process knowledge & transfer

  • active listening

  • emotional awareness

  • powerful questioning

  • growth mindset

In this unit we will explain shortly what they are. Since emotional awareness is a skill that is very good to use during stressful times, we will go into more detail here. If you are also interested in a more detailed look at the other skills check out our EmployID Academy peer coaching open online course.

Peer coaching process knowledge & transfer

For this you need to learn the peer coaching process and practice it. You can either practice it with colleagues directly in peer coaching or you can use our self-coaching approach to practice the process. This approach will be shown in unit five.

Active listening

Active listening is important for building trust between coach and client. It is a way for the coach to show the client that he is completely with him and his concerns. Understanding listening enables the client to talk open about stressing, burdensome, unpleasant and even embarrassing situations. Individuals tend to maintain along their self-picture no matter what. So every attempt to convince them differently is threatening, since their whole identity is built upon their beliefs of their self-picture. This means that even a well-meant praise can be uncomfortable and displeasing for someone who believes he is not worthy of the praise and is not good in what he was praised for. This keeps the person from changing. With active listening the attempt is made to change indirectly. The person is able to explore for himself, see for himself and make his own decisions to become in a position to change.

Emotional Awareness

One of the indirect results of coaching is the emotional self-awareness and it is activated by the coach through questions focusing on feelings, affects, etc. But this is not only a result from coaching for the client, but also an ability the coach needs.

For the client it means to be aware of one’s feelings and attitude it is the knowledge or perception of the self. Knowing about your current emotional state and what influences it, is the first step to changing this state.

Powerful Questioning

Sometimes they are also called reflective questions, open questions, coaching questions etc. Powerful Questioning is a method on using questions that support the client to reflect and think more deeply about what for example the situation the problem occurs really is about. For example the question “How would your supervisor feel about this?” This forces the client to take in another perspective and role, which can change the current view of the problem and lead to ideas for solving it.

Growth mindset

The concept of Growth Mindset was developed by American psychologist Carol Dweck. It is a combination of many concepts that lead to be growth mindset oriented.

A Growth Mindset…

… embraces challenges,

… persists across obstacles,

…views effort as a path of mastery,

…learns from criticism,

…gets inspired from success of others,

… believes that necessary skills and knowledge to be talented can be developed,

…believes that intelligence can be increased by learning,

…knows that it sometimes requires tenacity and persistence and

…knows when to best seek for assistance.

(Dweck, 2007; Richard, 2007)

Emotional Awareness in EmployID

In this video there is a detailed description on emotional awareness explained by Pablo:

Dealing with emotional issues

Why people get angry or upset? From your perspective, some people may be angry and appear to be difficult. Why do you think this is? The reasons could include be any of the following:

  • They feel unfairly treated.

  • They feel you are being unreasonable.

  • They are not getting what they want.

  • They perceive a lack of respect.

  • They feel devalued.

  • They feel little control over their situation.

From a psychological view, hostile behaviour is more complex than you would imagine. It is not just about getting what the person wants, believe it or not, but about controlling the situation. In many cases there is no conscious purpose at all – the person is emotional and operating on ‘auto-pilot’. It is vitally important that you manage the interview. This means:

  • acknowledging the emotional response,

  • being empathetic,

  • remaining confident,

  • being clear about what the person should do; and

  • not becoming confused.

Effective behaviour is assertive, firm, confident, but especially, aiming to be collaborative.

Note: empathy is about understanding how the other person feels in the situation, not how you would feel. It means trying to understand how and why a person feels the way they do, in other words, putting yourself in their shoes. Demonstrating empathy with someone’s feelings doesn’t necessarily mean that you agree with them, only that you can understand why they feel that way.

Tips for Effective Behaviour with difficult persons

Usually there are no tips in coaching, but in EmployID peer coaching there is a step in the process where advisors can bring in their experience and their solutions. These could be solutions to handle difficult persons for example at your work or in a training or even during a peer coaching process, when a participant does not stick to the decided rules and ethical guidelines. (Originally those tips were used in a closed MOOC for work coaches to support them with difficult conversations with clients/ claimants.)

  • Persistence (Broken record)

Be persistent and stick to the point of the discussion, to keep saying what you want to say, and not to pursue to side (deflecting) issues brought up by the person (protesting). Essentially, this is the situation, these are the rules, and we need to agree what we need to do. Repetition cancels out diversions and helps the person to focus on what needs to be done.

  • Responding to criticism

Do not respond to the person’s criticism with denial, defensiveness or argument. Instead break the manipulative cycle by actively promoting more information and then stating you will (or have) consider(ed) this information, then try and progress the converstation.

  • ‘Going over your head’

The person may try to go over your head by asking to speak to the manager. This is usually meant to intimidate. Inviting the person to speak to him/her comes across as confident. For example, ‘I know you’re unhappy about xxxx. If you believe that it’s best to talk to my manager, I can certainly help with that. Do you want me to help you arrange to talk to him/her?’ Then try to progress the conversation.

  • Topic grab to stop a tirade

Use something the person has said that you can relate to. For example, ‘I’ve got two kids too…” – a neutral comment, but the person will be interested as it’s based on what they said earlier.

  • Do not give cause for complaint

If you sigh, roll your eyes, show frustration or impatience, mutter, or do similar things, or slam the phone down, then you are giving cause for complaint. Showing ‘positive’ body language is important.

  • the person’s face-saving

If the person has made a mistake or does not understand the requirements, do not challenge (for example, ‘You’ve broken the rules or ‘you’ve done this or that’, or ‘you fail to understand’). Instead say ‘Let me talk you through this’.

  • the person clearly wrong and stubborn

For example the person may say ‘You can’t do that!’ Do not respond by saying ‘Oh yes we can!’ Allow face saving outputs for the person. Avoid embarrassing or humiliating the person. Your objective is not to win the argument, but to deal effectively and professionally with the person, whether they are right or wrong.

All these tips do not only help you to calm down and reassure another person, but they are also good to keep calm yourself.

In dealing with difficult people it is also very important to be mindful of our own thoughts and emotions. People who are hostile and not acting very nice to us also trigger thoughts and feelings in ourselves that we have difficulties to handle. In dealing with that, we do not only have to deal with other people’s emotions, but also, our own.

  • be mindful with yourself

Be mindful of your own feeling that you feel in that situation, to accept it, and not acting upon it – if it triggers you to act unprofessionally or any other way. After acknowledging what you feel, you can accept it, and focus on client/customer and deal with your emotions later.

  • have empathy for others

Try to understand others anger and behaviour is hard to deal with. Thinking what is behind that behaviour could help you to understand the person and act in a positive and constructive way to another person.


Now try to change your emotional state:

Think of a current challenge you have and try show it by your mimic, your gestic and your posture and remain there for a few seconds (yes, right in front of you computer :-)).  Afterwards please think of a very happy event in your life and show it likewise. Reflect on how it feels and what you think by taking in the different states!

  • What was different?

  • Was is useful to you?

  • What did you feel?

Dealing with difficult people:

  • Think about characteristics that they find annoying in people or have difficulties with.

  • Then name behaviours that are helpful for dealing with those people


Dweck, Carol S. (2007). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine Books.

EmployID Academy (2016). Open Peer Coaching Online Course. URL:

Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick (2016). EmployID – Changing World of Work [closed MOOC on FutureLearn].

Richard, Michael Graham (2007). Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset: Which One Are You? Retrieved from:

What is Coaching?

EmployID Peer Coaching

Core Skills



EmployID peer coaching


Peer coaching “refers to a specific form of coaching carried out among colleagues. The members of the group take turns in adopting the role of coach and thus provide coaching to each other. All members are responsible for the coaching process. Synonyms are: ‘Intervision’, ‘Collegial Coaching’” (Ajdukovic et. al 2015, p. 37).

Peer coaching comes from Supervision, where an expert works with one person or a group on their cases at work. It is often used for reflection of counsellors, coaches, and educators.

Characteristics of peer coaching 

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Fig. 3. Peer Coaching Characteristics based on Lippmann 2009

There a certain characteristics on intervision you need to understand:

  • group of equal rank

The group that does peer coaching is of equal rank. That does not mean, that persons in the group can be differently qualified, but it means, that everyone in the group may bring in his problem equally and no one of the group is a professional coach who leads the group or process.

  • common professional focus

Another thing is the professional focus. Usually there is a common professional interest. People in the group have a common objective, because they have maybe the same professional background.

  • target-oriented process

The process is target-oriented which means it is about a solution-focused exchange to find one or more solutions that can be transferred into work afterwards.

  • mutually defined structure

There is a mutually defined structure that supports the peer coaching process.

  • voluntariness, liability

Peer coaching should be voluntary, but within the group there is a need of liability to take part actively and feel responsible for the processes.

  • idea of „giving and taking“

There is the idea of “giving and taking” which means that you learn from each other and help each other.

  • counsel without fee

The peer coaching is without fee, because there is no professional needed, there are trademarked concepts. (Lippmann, 2009, pp. 17-19)

EmployID peer coaching group

To perform peer coaching there is the need of the group members to take in different roles. In this peer coaching model there are three roles: client, peer coaching facilitator and advisors. In each coaching process there is only one client and one peer coaching facilitator but many advisors (the rest of the peer coaching group members). There should be at least three advisors in order to have a helpful process.

EmployID peer coaching process

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Fig. 4: EmployID Peer Coaching Process Model concept based on Lippmann 2009, Berg & Berninger-Schaefer 2010, Berninger-Schaefer 2011

The EmployID peer coaching process is based on Lippmann (2009), Berg & Berninger-Schaefer (2010), Berninger-Schaefer (2011).

The actual coaching process is divided in:

    • start, problem selection

The contact person of the group welcomes everybody, problems of group members are collected and selection. Afterwards roles for the peer coaching session(s) need to be assigned (client, peer coaching facilitator, advisors).

    • problem & situation

The peer coaching facilitator asks the client about the problem. The advisors listen actively and observe.

    • vision, resources

The peer coaching facilitator asks of the last time the client was enthusiastic about something and helps the client to visualize the feelings, thoughts, strengths and resources of that moment.

    • collecting resources

The advisors add their ideas on which strengths and resources that are still needed or which strengths they feel the client has hidden beyond. They can also ask, if there are e.g. supporting systems like family, friends, other persons, rituals, places with a certain atmosphere, etc.

    • setting goals

The peer coaching facilitator asks the client what the client wants to achieve  in this session and the client formulates a specific goal and an order to the group, to find possible solutions for achieving the goal.

    • solutions & next steps

The possible solutions given by the advisors are being collected. The client prioritizes and plans steps after the collection of solutions.

    • feedback

Everybody of the group starting with client and peer coaching facilitator explain what they learned for themselves in the process. Afterwards the session is closed and another session can be started.

In unit four of this week you can practice this process by yourself!

You want more?

For more information on peer coaching and EmployID peer coaching concept check out the EmployID Academy open online-course on peer coaching!



Ajdukovic, Marina; Cajvert, Lilja; Judy, Michaela; Knopf, Wolfgang; Kuhn, Hubert; Madai, Krisztina & Voogd, Mieke (2015). ECVision. A European Glossary of Supervision and Coaching. Retrieved from 

Berg, Thomas E. & Berninger-Schaefer, Elke (2010). Die Kollegiale Coaching Konferenz. Stuttgart: Boorberg Verlag.

Berninger-Schaefer, Elke (2011). Orientierung im Coaching. Stuttgart: Boorberg Verlag.

EmployID Academy (2016). Open Peer Coaching Online Course. URL:

Lippmann, Eric (2009). Intervision. Kollegiales Coaching professionell gestalten. Heidelberg: Springer Medizin Verlag.

What is Coaching?

EmployID Peer Coaching

Core Skills



What is coaching?

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Fig. 1: “coaching and peer coaching” created with

What is coaching and what are coaches doing?

Coaching is a form of pre-structured and process-oriented communication between a coach and a client to support the client in finding a solution for a work-related challenge. To separate it from other forms of coaching, e.g. sports coaching it is often also called business coaching. There is  “a whole lot of asking and not much telling” in coaching, meaning that the coach is NOT telling the client what to do, but supports the client by asking questions on what would be useful in the client’s situation. The coach is the expert of the process (the coaching process) and the client is the expert of the challenging situation. Only the client knows all for him or her visible aspects of the situation.

The coaching understanding in this MOOC is based on the understanding of coaching associations e.g. the German Federal Association for Executive Coaching (DBVC) and the systemic-solution oriented coaching approach by Berninger-Schaefer (2011).

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Fig. 2. Professional coaches based on SmithLeadershipLLC, 2012

Why do we use coaching?

It is important to recognise that coaching is different from advising, instructing or teaching.

Some characteristics of Coaching:

  • it avoids telling the person what to do,

  • it helps to build rapport which leads to more effective communication,

  • it encourages the person to identify for themselves what they need to do, rather than being told,

  • it draws out the person’s potential; and

  • it enables the person to move forward.

Let’s think about coaching in a sporting context.

If you think about a coach who works with an athlete, the coach’s job is to transfer their knowledge and experience to develop the athlete’s skills. The coach does not run the race for the athlete, nor do they run alongside the athlete during the race telling them what to do. But they do work with the athlete in advance of the race to improve their technique and performance so that they can perform well in the race even when the coach is no longer with them.

We have said that sports coach draws out the person’s potential. They do this by:

  • encouraging the athlete through difficulties

  • challenging the athlete to raise their game and do everything they are capable of

  • being firm when the athlete needs it, but supportive when they need it too; and

  • drawing out the best performance by challenging/encouraging as needed.

The Benefits of Coaching

By coaching clients, you are involving them in decisions about their future and gaining their commitment. Involving people in the decisions that affect them increases their sense of ownership. This in turn increases their commitment and motivation. By coaching, you enable them to identify their goals and think for themselves.

If people are told what to do, they may go along with it to a degree, however they tend to be more committed to the ideas that they have come up with themselves. This means they are more likely to actively pursue these targets and undertake the steps to achieve them. By coaching, you enable them to plan how to meet their goals. Setting a goal is all very well but you need to put in the effort and have the willpower to actually achieve it.

People are far more likely to achieve their goals if they:

  • identify the goals themselves,

  • make a plan for what they will do, and how, when and where they will do it.

By coaching, you help individuals to find inner motivation for themselves. Having identified their own goals, people have a vested interest in achieving them – they want to achieve them. This gives them the motivation to take the action needed. Once they start they make progress which in itself is a great motivator.

By coaching, you help them to build confidence in themselves. Coaching is empowering as it enables people to take ownership and responsibility for their own future. It encourages them to consider their situation and discover for themselves the changes they can make and how to make them. By asking the clients to discover the answers for themselves you reinforce the message that their opinions, knowledge, experience etc. are worthwhile.

Code of Ethics

One of the most important points in coaching, before a coaching process can be started is to be clear and transparent about ethics. Since coaching is at the moment more and more professionalized there are a lot of associations and the members there who engage themselves to keep the ethical standards of their association.

One example there is the code of ethics by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) to give you an understanding on what is meant by ethics in coaching.

Maybe you know ethical guidelines from your country’s coaching associations? Then share them with the whole group in the comment section below.

This is very crucial. In coaching and in peer coaching the whole coaching group needs to engage themselves to keep ethical standards and this has to be discussed in the very beginning.

In summary:

Coaching is a very specific technique which enables you to build the client’s confidence and self sufficiency.


Berninger-Schaefer, E. (2011). Orientierung im Coaching. Stuttgart: Boorberg Verlag.

DBVC (German Federal Association for Executive Coaching) URL: 

EmployID Academy (2016). Open Peer Coaching Online Course. URL:

Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick (2016). EmployID – Changing World of Work [closed MOOC on FutureLearn].

International Coaching Federation (ICF) (2015). Code of Ethics. URL:

SmithLeadershipLLC (2012, July 17). What is Coaching? [Video file]. Retrieved from (YouTube).

What is Coaching?

EmployID Peer Coaching

Core Skills



Career adaptability: conceptual framework plus tool for effective practice

To survive and thrive in the current volatile labour markets across the world, individuals need to develop career adapt-ability competencies. Here, we examine what is meant by career adapt-ability and competencies and the individual characteristics that play a key role in their development. There’s also an online tool for you to use.

These individual characteristics include aspects of personality that influence how well individuals:

  • adjust to working in different work contexts
  • how flexible individuals are when faced with change
  • how proactive they are in looking for new challenges, and
  • how willing they are to make plans with implications for their future career.

Individuals also differ in their willingness and ability to:

  • explore possible future career roles, identities and work environments;
  • be resilient in the face of change; and how
  • be decisive around making career decisions in the light of changed circumstances.

Finally, we explore career adapt-ability competencies (control, curiosity,commitment, confidence and concern).

If you want to delve deeper, chapter 2 of the reference below expands the relevant theory. The whole of this report is worth reading because it includes engaging stories and powerful quotes about career adapt-ability from ordinary people in England and Norway.

Bimrose, J., Brown, A., Barnes, S-A. and Hughes, D. (2011) ‘The role of career adaptability in skills supply’, Wath-upon-Dearne, London: UK Commission for Employment and Skills, Evidence report 35. Main report.

1. What is career adapt-ability?

Career adapt-ability is ‘the capability of an individual to make a series of successful transitions where the labour market, organisation of work and underlying occupational and organisational knowledge bases may all be subject to considerable change.’ (Bimrose et al., 2011). Until the early 1980’s, the developmental concept of career maturation was used widely to denote an individual’s vocational progression. Once, however, it was accepted that becoming mature was not necessarily contingent on ageing, the uncritical application of the concept of career maturity to adults was challenged. Career adapt-ability came into use to define the ability to make career choices and adapt to vocational tasks. For adults, this term was regarded as particularly apposite since it focused on the relationship between the individual and the environment and accommodated the notion that adults engage in both career transitions and career change by developing coping responses and behaviours.

2. Career adapt-ability: associated individual characteristics & behaviours

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Self-regulation and control figure prominently in the literature and research into career adaptability. Self-regulation is regarded as part of control and in this particular context refers to the strategies that individuals employ to adjust to different occupational settings. Control refers to the strategies that individuals employ to influence different settings. Research indicates how individuals need to feel in control of their lives to adapt their careers and that individuals with a clear sense of control engage more in career exploration activities, take responsibility for their career development and are more decisive in terms of their career.

The concepts of flexibility and openness are also embedded in the literature on career adapt-ability. Flexibility relates to an individual’s willingness to transform and develop themselves, in response to demanding circumstances, with openness being part of flexibility, since it relates to receptiveness to change. More particularly, flexibility is defined as fluidity in a dynamic environment. For change to occur, an individual needs to be convinced that they can be flexible in learning new competencies, as well as the skills to develop and adapt, such as keeping abreast of technological developments and changing work processes. This is achieved through a process of reflection, during which ‘defensive reasoning’ should be reduced, so that individuals can learn from their experiences. Flexible and open behaviour then enables individuals to incorporate new roles and responsibilities into their personal identities as well as learning continuously throughout their career.

Individuals who are proactive anticipate change and react accordingly. Proactivity, that is, being investigative and looking for fresh challenges, is strongly associated with career adaptability. Its importance in career development has been emphasised since it can drive the willingness to seek out new contexts in which to work, together with the readiness to face change and engage in transitions.

The ability to plan for the future, or a planfulness aptitude, is also widely regarded as integral to career adaptability. This refers to being able to plan, map out the future direction and anticipate change. Integral to planfulness is goal setting. This is not limited to an individual’s ability to shape their own career goals, but also their ability to set and achieve realistic goals. Those facing job loss and involuntary career transitions need to be able to anticipate and react to changes, as well as understanding how to achieve realistic goals to navigate themselvesout of the situation in which they find themselves.

A major element of career adaptive behaviour is exploration, which is defined broadly interms of career exploration, self-exploration and environmental exploration.

Resilience refers to the capability and capacity to withstand change, implying the development of individual (and institutional) coping strategies. Career resilience refers to the capacity of an individual to respond to both positive and negative events and to moveforward. It is about being able to tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity, whilst at the same time being flexible and autonomous. Some have argued that career resilience is close to the definition of career adaptability. However, resilience seems to imply the ability to survive change once it happens, where as career adapt-ability has a stronger proactive dimension. So developing career adapt-ability is particularly useful where the future seems uncertain or unclear.

How do all of these fit together? In any individual, there will be a complex interaction, depending on the context in which the individual is operating. There are of course other influences to take into account. The diagram below tries to give a sense of dynamic inter-relatedness.

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3. Career adapt-ability in practice

More recent work on career adapt-ablity, comprising an ongoing international research investigation, firmly adopts a psycho-social perspective and has produced the most developed conceptualisation of career adapt-ability. It emphasises a contextual dimension by referring to the impact of various changes on the social integration of individuals. The four career adapt-abilities are: concern, control, curiosity and confidence.

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For a brief powerpoint explaining each career adapt-adapt-ability, click on study materials (4 C’s – emma mooc) below.

4. Tool for practical use

From this international research, an inventory has been developed that has cross-cultural validity, for use in practice. It can be used to help individuals identify the career adapt-abilities on which they are strong, and weak – and interventions are indicated for addressing any weaknesses.

 It is free and simple to take online – it really won’t take long and having your own scores to hand will help you see how the tool works in practice. 

Click here to access an online tool which has been developed in the UK (by CABA) to help individuals in a particular occupational group develop their career adapt-ability.

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Total the score for each section and attribute an overall score for the section of ‘low’ ‘medium’ and ‘high’ using the table below.

Category Low Medium High
Concern Below 15 24-15 Above 24
Control Below 18 26-18 Above 26
Curiosity Below 15 24-15 Above 24
Confidence Below 17 25-17 Above 25

Explanations of these broad scores for each of the 4 career adapt-abilities is given below.

Concern (High)

You are interested in your future; you may already have a Plan A for your future. It is always a good strategy to have a Plan B up your sleeve, as even if you know what you want to do next, things may change in the future. Develop an action plan for your future and keep checking it from time to time to make sure everything is in place.

Control (High)

You are likely to have a positive approach to your future and you may have given thought to what you want from your future working life. But have you talked it over with someone with relevant expertise who can support you, such as a career coach?

Harnessing the knowledge of others around you is also a positive step. For example asking others about the recruitment and selection processes that they experienced.

Curiosity (High)

You may have begun fact-finding about your future plans, now you need to focus on making sure you have covered it all. Dig deeply into information about your chosen occupation or sector of work – what are the upcoming challenges? What might change in the foreseeable future? Which employers offer the best training or pay? Where do the best long-term promotion prospects lie? Will there be opportunities to travel overseas? Important questions – know the answers.

Give yourself time to think about what you have found out. Mull things over before making your decisions.

Confidence (High)

You have a strong score on confidence which suggests you are good at getting things done. Now you should make sure you are doing the right things.

Resilience, tenacity and honesty with yourself are your best allies in making the transition into further training or employment and remember, it’s a strength to ask for help sometimes.

Concern (Medium)

You have a balanced approach to thinking about how your working life can develop- aware that it is something you need to focus on but it’s not something that worries you a great deal. A good thing to do now is to make sure you know about all the opportunities available to you.

Form a plan of what you want to do after you complete your studies, but try to make sure that you build in some flexibility because the plan may change or your ideas about what is important to you, may change.

Control (Medium)

You are positive about your future and know that responsibility for what happens next is down to you. Now it is important to give some time to thinking about what is really important to you and how you can balance aspects of your life.

Think about what you have learned about yourself so far. What are your strengths, interests and limitations – what kind of feedback have you had from others in your life – what do these difference perspectives suggest to you? It can take a while to work it all out.

Curiosity (Medium)

You have started to find out about options and you may have made some choices, so now is the time to refine your knowledge about what might be available. For example, find out where your dream job is available by using a trusted career information website.

Sometimes it’s obvious – to be a deep sea diver you need sea! but sometimes it is not so obvious – accountants work for accountancy companies and also charities, manufacturers, public bodies. So think about the job and its setting and you might be able to combine more than one aspiration together.

Confidence (Medium)

You are confident about the future, but not so certain that everything will work out right the first time; you’re wise to think this. Ask yourself, where does my confidence come from? Is it from success in previous experiences? Think about your strengths and whether you want a future that builds on your personal skills and abilities what is sometimes called ‘transferable or soft skills’.

Concern (Low)

Are you thinking about your future? Don’t be reluctant to talk about your future with those who might listen: friends, colleagues, family. Career coaches are used to talking to people who know what they would like their future to be as well as those of us who don’t! They can help you to start to plan for the future and look at how you can achieve your goals.

Control (Low)

What to do now? Decisions, decisions. It’s important to be positive and not be put-off by media scare stories about the job market – consider the other side of the story, which is that many employers report offering good jobs they cannot fill.

Take one step at a time; the first step is to find out what support there is available to you. Talk to friends and family about what motivates them at work and use this to think about whether you have similar or different motivations. Find ways to broaden your knowledge of what is ‘out there’ and what might fit with your ideas and values.

Generally, the more energy we put into things, the more we get out of them – so don’t wait for someone to suggest what your future will hold – take the initiative and make one important step each day – you’ll be pleased you did.

Curiosity (Low)

Few of us can know about all the potential job opportunities – there are so many, it’s almost too daunting to read about them all – so start with broad occupational sectors on a general career information website- from here you can see case studies of what others have done. Interesting, isn’t it?

Don’t just consider the first job/course that looks good – you have choices and this includes jobs that have not been created yet. For example, 10 years ago, no-one had heard of being a ‘web optimisation executive’, so keep an open mind, ask questions, and research all of the options available.

Take a risk. Yes, we are serious – do something you have not done before, such as volunteering in the community or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for charity. Not only does it look good on your CV and give you plenty to talk about with prospective employers, it helps you to see your own strengths in a new light.

Confidence (Low)

You never know what you can do, ’till you try. Volunteering, taking a course or starting a new hobby are all things you can try without any previous experience – and you might surprise yourself about how much you have to offer.

You have skills and abilities already – You can probably think, count, analyse, write, paint (you get where this is going?) so give some thought to how you can hone and extend those abilities.

Focus on what you are good at and interested in – whether it’s designing rockets or icing cupcakes – follow your passion, and see where it leads you. 

The following two diagrams show how career adapt-abilities relate to attitudes and beliefs, competence, coping behaviour and career problems.

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Another way of looking at how careers develop over time is through the use of career stories or narratives. Savickas and Hartung have developed a workbook which is designed to enable a person to ‘tell, hear and author’ their life story. It can be used individually or in groups, it works through 3 phases, the final ‘enacting’ being a realistic plan for putting a story into action. It can be accessed here: Savickas, M. and Hartung, P. (2012) My Career Story: An Autobiographical Workbook for Life-Career Success.


Bimrose, J., Barnes, S-A., Brown, A. and Hughes, D. (2011). ‘The role of career adaptability in skills supply’, Wath-upon-Dearne: UK Commission for Employment & Skills.

Bimrose, J. and Hearne, L. (2012). ‘Resilience and Career Adaptability: Qualitative Studies of Adult Career counselling’ Journal Of Vocational Behavior 81, 338 – 344.

Brizzi, J. S. (1990). Career Adaptability in Adult Vocational Development. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Counseling and Development, Cincinnati, OH.

Dix, J. E. and Savickas, M. L. (1995). ‘Establishing a Career: Developmental Tasks and Coping Responses’, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 47(1), 93-107.

McMahon, M., Watson, M. and Bimrose, J. (2012). ‘Career Adaptability: A Qualitative Understanding from the Stories of Older Women’, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80, 762 – 768.

Savickas, M. (2008). Report of framework and follow-up studies (Meeting 19 July 2008). Berlin: Life-design International Research Group – Career Adaptability Project, Humboldt Universität.

Savickas, M. L. (1997). ‘Career adaptability: An integrative construct for life-span, life-space theory’, Career Development Quarterly, 45(3), 247-259.

Super, D. and Knasel, E. (1981). ‘Career development in adulthood: Some theoretical problems and a possible solution’, British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 9(2), 194-201.

Savickas, M.L. (1997). Career Adaptability: An Integrative construct for Life-Span, Life-Space Theory, Career Development Quarterly, 45(3), 247-259.

Savickas, M.L., Nota, L., Rossier, J., Dauwalder, J.P., Duarte, M.E.,  Guichard, J., Soresi, S., Van Esbroeck R. & van Vianen, A.E.M., (2009). Life designing: A paradigm for career construction in the 21st Century. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 75(3), 239-250.

Savickas, M.L. & Porfeli, E.J. (2012) Career Adapt-Abilities Scale: Construction, reliability and measurement equivalence across 13 countries, Journal of Vocational Behaviour, 80, 661 -673

External film resources:  

Seven lessons about Career Change: Professor Herminia Ibarra explains all seven lessons in turn, each illustrated by someone talking about their own experience of change.

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Whilst acknowledging that things don’t always go to plan, that desired jobs sometimes just aren’t available, this film offers lot of constructive advice which comes out of direct experience of career change – and from Prof Ibarra’s analysis.

Life Design: Professor Mark Savickas’s keynote video from 2013 International conference (Larios) goes the distance (40 mins) in taking us through the theory of life design, tracing the development of his own thinking and that of other researchers across the globe.  He traces societal changes ‘from standardization to individualization’ (sic) and argues that Adaptability and Identity are the two meta competences which are needed in the current context.  From minute 24 he focuses on career counselling as a means of supporting clients in telling their story – even when one chapter ends – and explains why keeping the story going is essential.

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Mind: Personal Identity (The Narrative Self) Elisabeth Camp (Rutgers University)

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This complicated still (above) maps the entire talk, but it all makes sense as  Elisabeth Camp (Rutgers University) takes us through the narrative view of personal identity, step by step.  Starting from philosophical beginnings to how we live now as constructed selves, telling our stories as an ongoing process of development, she poses the key question: What makes me, me?

Professional Perspective

Working Well With Others

Supporting Your Learning and Development

Six Key Drivers of Change

How Work Identities Change

Career Adaptability