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What ChatGPT and Career Exploration Have in Common

I have no idea where to begin.


This is how career coaching sessions often start. Clients (many after years of contemplating a career change) simply don’t know where to start. Exploring a new career can be exciting for many reasons: gaining new skills and knowledge, meeting new people, or entering a different field. However, the process can also be overwhelming and lead to uncertainty.


Career exploration can be overwhelming because there are many ways to begin, and the process is ever-changing. How career exploration begins depends on the client’s needs and what they want to achieve – what outcome they want to derive from the exploration process.


Maybe your client has strong values and wants to exercise those values through work. You might begin the career exploration journey by having your client complete a values card sort or read a book on values-based career decision-making. Perhaps your client enjoys working with computers, is good at organizing, and wants to refresh their skills. Their career exploration might include taking short courses to learn more about systems administration or network security, or other computer-related fields of interest.


Career exploration can be overwhelming because there is a barrage of content to comb through. A simple Google search using the terms ‘career’ and ‘exploration’ yielded 346M results. Include the term ‘activities’ narrowed the results to 123M.


Search aborted!


Getting to know Chat GPT is kind of like exploring a new career. I have gained new skills and knowledge, met new people in various industries not related to my area of expertise, and am getting better acquainted with a new field: AI! Yet, the journey has been overwhelming and at times, uncertain.


ChatGPT emerged on the AI scene very quickly, so we are just beginning to understand its value or how to use effectively use it. Just the amount of conversation surrounding new AI technologies has been dizzying, as I navigate their impact on my career coaching practice and university teaching.


Max Rascher, The AI Guy, has been a huge help in my AI learning journey. I’ve been following Max for the past year, and much of his content is quick and easy to digest, offering a starting point for deeper topics to explore that relate to my interest areas. Max created an Ultimate ChatGPT Guide for Beginners that quickly brought me up to speed on this particular tool.


Below is a chat illustrative of the types of conversations you can have in ChatGPT (ChatGPT, March 21, 2023).


Question: “How are ChatGPT and career coaching similar?”


ChatGPT Response: “While there are several differences between ChatGPT and career coaching, there are also some similarities. Here are a few:


1) Both provide guidance and support: ChatGPT is an AI-based tool developed to provide guidance and answers to questions on a wide range of topics, including career development, just as career coaching provides personalized guidance and support to individuals seeking career development.

2) Both seek to help individuals make informed decisions: While ChatGPT provides information and suggestions on various topics, including career options, career coaches work with individuals to help them identify their skills, interests, and goals and make informed decisions about their career paths.

3) Both can be accessed online: ChatGPT can be accessed through online platforms, such as websites and apps, just as career coaching is increasingly being offered online and through virtual sessions, making it easier for individuals to access career help from anywhere, at any time.

4) Both can help individuals overcome obstacles: ChatGPT can help individuals overcome obstacles by providing information that can lead them to better solutions, just as career coaching can help individuals identify and overcome obstacles to career success.

5) Both can help individuals set and achieve goals: ChatGPT can help individuals identify and set achievable goals, and career coaching can help individuals identify and work towards career goals, such as landing a new job or advancing in their career.”


ChatGPT offered this concluding response:


“It is important to note that while ChatGPT can provide general guidance and information, career coaching provides personalized guidance and support tailored to an individual's unique needs.”


Question: “Will ChatGPT ever replace the need for career coaches?”


ChatGPT Response: “While ChatGPT can provide guidance and support on a wide range of topics, including career development, it is important to remember that career coaching involves personalized guidance and support tailored to an individual's unique needs, goals, and aspirations.


While ChatGPT can provide helpful suggestions, it cannot replace the experience and nuanced guidance provided by a skilled career coach, who can work with an individual to develop an actionable plan, provide feedback and encouragement, and offer personalized resources and guidance. Career coaches can also address issues or questions that ChatGPT may not be able to cover comprehensively or personalize adequately, such as navigating cultural differences, addressing personal barriers, or building professional networks.


Additionally, career coaching involves building a relationship of mutual trust and respect between coach and client, which can involve discussions and activities beyond the scope of information-gathering and analysis. Coaches aim to foster a supportive and nonjudgmental environment where clients can feel safe to explore different possibilities, overcome challenges, and develop the skills and self-awareness needed to achieve their career goals.


Therefore, while ChatGPT can be a helpful tool in career development, it is unlikely to entirely replace the need for career coaches. Instead, they can complement each other as resources for individuals at different stages of their career journey, or depending on individual preferences and affordability.”


The last part of ChatGPT’s response is what was most interesting:


“…they can complement each other as resources for individuals at different stages of their career journey or depending on individual preferences and affordability.”


People seek out career coaches because they need help identifying and defining their new direction.


So far, my experience working with ChatGPT has been nothing but helpful as a career coach and an educator. We talk about its use frequently in the Facilitating Career Developments course I teach for career coaches. Chat queries produce interesting, useful information to kickstart brainstorming, information-gathering, and conversations. I encourage you to check out the resource I’ve shared in this and my previous blog and test out this AI tool (or similar … Bard is pretty cool as well!) and see how it might be useful for your coaching practice.


Tune in to the next blog posts to learn how I use ChatGTP for resume and cover letter writing!


If you already use ChatGTP in your career coaching practice, tell us how!


My DALL-E-2 prompt of "symbol of AI technology human partnership" on 5/21/2023



*All links in this article are recommendations based on my knowledge of the content and material. I derive no monetary gain from endorsing.

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