Creativity and Play in Career Services


By Skye Berry.

Anyone who follows my work knows that I love to add a splash of creativity in my resume design services. So when my CPC Mastermind Group presented me with an opportunity to examine creativity and play within career services, I took it!

Creativity, overall, has gained increasing value around the world. According to Mary Ann Hollingsworth, the creativity process in counselling includes encouraging clients to:

  • Think differently or newly about important issues.
  • Temporarily set emotions and fears aside when feeling stuck.
  • Remove barriers to decision making or problem solving.
  • Let the natural joys of life become a fertile ground for the creation of new ideas.
  • Clarify a problem or remove possible erroneous mental messages and cognitions, which serve as barriers.

In her article for the National Career Development Association, Mary Ann outlines several creative interventions that career practitioners can use to help guide clients to become unstuck from their career indecision. Activities like guided imagery and mind-mapping, brainstorming and inside/outside thinking are examined. These are mindfulness activities that most of us are probably already aware of, but perhaps unsure of how to implement in our service offerings.

Clients have time constraints…

There is a time management trend I am noticing with clients. Many of them feel overwhelmed with family and life time constraints. The thought of adding more time into personal coaching can be the point at which they walk away from taking the step to invest in their career and your services.

…but what if you could add creativity and play into your services without clients even noticing?

Prior to starting my research into this topic, I didn’t even realize I was offering creativity and play with my services. They are not part of my package offerings and I do not advertise them.  However, I do speak with my clients during our 60-minute client consultation. I listen to them. I reframe their responses. And, I always encourage them to visualise their future career and what it looks like to them. Part of this visualization is for me to gain a better perspective of their career goals; however, it can be useful for them as well.

I find I am always encouraging my clients to think positively and to re-examine their thought-processes. I find when most clients come to me they are in a slump. This is normal; it comes with the territory of helping people in their career. Sometimes they have lost a job and feel that their life is hopeless. Other times, they have been in a job search for months and months, and simply don’t know where to turn next.

Pay attention to what your clients say during your consultations. Encourage them to embrace the law of attraction and work on changing their “inner voice.” When you can guide a client to re-evaluate their own thought-process it can be enlightening for both of you.

To do this, you don’t need a degree and you certainly don’t need to call specific attention to the notion of the law of attraction. You can simply steer them into a more positive way of examining their situation. Help them feel heard, and understood. Peacefully guide your client to look at their situation from another perspective.

Creative strategies to consider.

Positive thinking only works when a client is “in-tune” with him/herself and is “at peace.” This is a great challenge for many people who are stressed by the prospect of their situation. So what can you do in this situation?

Adult Colouring

You might suggest to a client that seems stuck, hesitant or indecisive about their career to incorporate adult-colouring into their daily routine.

I somewhat stumbled upon the adult-colouring strategy in my career services by accident. I introduced the art into my own routine last year and found it really helped me to step away from the world around me and truly shut my mind off. I noticed that I was only focused on the picture I was colouring in the moment and that after about a week, I was actually starting to feel more relaxed in my work/family life and obligations.

While talking with a client about their career history, I noticed they were becoming anxious. I made mention of what I was doing. I discussed the benefits I found with adult colouring for myself. At the time, I didn’t realize it was a strategy to implement in my service. It wasn’t until this same client emailed me a few weeks later to say they started and loved adult-colouring that I realized its practicality in my service offerings.

Mind Tools

Mind Tools offers some great resources that you could easily implement into your services. Worksheets and templates on:

  • Choosing the right career move.
  • A form of brainstorming, called ‘star bursting’.
  • Career choice worksheets.
  • And so much more…

Don’t ignore the traditional theory – innovate from it!

Traditional career development is not to be ignored. It has its value and merit in the industry and must stay. Yet, there isn’t anything stopping you from augmenting your services with interventions that promote creative and non-linear thinking.

It isn’t until you start to examine your services in detail and search for creative and innovative ways to improve them that you will gain a new and enlightened approach to working with your clients.

Use your own emotional intelligence to guide your practice and approach with clients. Not all will be flexible in your dynamic and creative solutions.

If you are looking for even more playful coaching ideas and techniques, here are some links:

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