It’s not my intention to give full information or an extensive discussion on every theory. This website is intended to be a starting point and the main difference with other websites is the visual representation of the theory, which I hope will help get to grips with the theory. There are also links it the bottom to get your further research started.

Coherent Career Practice

Kris Magnusson & Dave Redekopp 2011

“Coherent career practice is not a ‘component’ to add to the 21st century learning picture. It is the larger frame within which the picture is placed.” –  Kris Magnusson

 

Definition:

I would define coherent career practice as a holistic approach because it is about the different roles we play throughout our lifetime. Magnusson and Reddekop define coherent career practice as “a systematic way of looking at career issues that “stick together”” (Magnusson & Reddekop, 2011). They further see that “the challenge is to bring the various services and interventions of career development together into a logical framework that builds upon and complements each component” (Magnusson and Reddekop, 2011). They identified 4 key elements to coherent career planning: career literacy, career ‘gumption’, career integrity and career context. They further argue that if one of these is underdeveloped or disconnected from the others, there will be an issues with career planning for the client.

 

What does this look like?

The 4 key career development challenges look as follows, in more detail:

  1. Career literacy: The more complex the world gets, the more need there is for career literacy to be successful. There are 3 elements to career literacy: Skills, Knowledge & Attitudes. A lack in any of these could result in career incoherence rather than career integration or coherence.
  2. Career gumption: The Cambridge dictionary defines gumption as “the ability to decide what is the best thing to do in a particular situation, and to do it with energy and determination”. This definitioin gives us a good indication of what this means for career guidance and planning. A lack of gumption is often because of fear, according to Magnusson and Reddekop and can result in reactivity and a passive attitude to change and planning (Magnusson & Reddekop, 2011).
  3. Career context: entails how the client sees the larger world and their place within it, both consciously and subconsciously. “What is my role in the world?” A good contextual view is realistic in the short term and creative and imaginative in the longer term, while being flexible and not overwhelmed.
  4. Career integrity: congruence and balance between the personas, private and professional, you play in the world and how you do this are key. Not making choices bound in with this but because of superficial reasons or ‘because you have to’ through lack of choice or because someone told you so is lack of career integrity and another source for lack of career integration.

If all works well together and is balanced, then there is career integration and coherence.

If one of the 4 elements is weaker or disconnected, in this case career literacy, then there is a career blockage and incoherence.

The 3 fundamental tasks to help resolve this are:

I find the 3 fundamental tasks very helpful in putting this together as something a practitioner can use in relation to the 4 key challenges.

 

Use of this theory in practice:

I am personally keen to find out more and explore more but I find myself up against the academia paywall each and every time. However, a quote from Redekopp and Magnusson reminds me how this can fit together: “Creativity and Passion are enabled and enacted on when we foster career literacy and act in our career context.” Looking at this model, I feel it could be very useful for analysing where a client is getting stuck or lacks motivation/dedication. It places the client’s difficulty in a framework that makes it easier for me to support the client in resolving this. If you view the framework in this way, adding the 3 fundamental tasks, I can see this work with clients. I haven’t tried this yet but I’m tempted. I would take the client through the 4 key elements asking probing questions about each to find any weaknesses or breaks between these and then working on resolving these using appropriate techniques. Have another look at this theory. How would you use it in practice?

 

Critique

If I’m honest I have to admit that I have some trouble getting to grips with this theory, or rather, how to apply it in practice. I’m sure that a closer look will resolve this. How are you gettting on? Questions I’m wondering about are:

  • How does this compare to other theories such as Life is Career and developmental approaches?
  • The 4 key career development challenges, do they describe enough of what can be challenging when workign with clients?
  • How can you define ‘what is enough’ of the four elements to be ‘healthy’?
  • Can you tell which other theories have inspired this approach, and has Coherent Career Practice taken over some of the downsides as well as upsides of those?

 

Useful links:

Reference:

  • Magnusson, K. & Redekopp, D., December 2011. Coherent Career Practice. Journal of Employment Counseling, Volume 48, pp. 176 – 178.