What does a holistic approach mean in career coaching?

The term Holistic approach made it to many ‘Overused and Annoying Business Buzzwords” and “Clichés to avoid in your writing ” lists because of its ‘fuzzy’ meaning or because it is ‘overused’ and therefore has lost its ‘value’.  

How fuzzy is the word truly? In this article, I explore the meaning of the word ‘holistic’ and how a ‘holistic approach’ translates to the coaching and consulting I do with my clients.

What does ‘holistic’ mean?

According to Merriam Webster, the essential meaning of holistic is:  relating to or concerned with complete systems rather than with individual parts. The full definition of the word is described as:

1 : of or relating to holism
2: relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts

In short, holistic refers to dealing with or treating the whole of something or someone and not just a part.

Holistic Approach

Holistic a fuzzy term?

The word holistic is not a fuzzy term at all. As you can read above its original definition clearly states what it is about.   However, it may have lost its true meaning due to overuse in the wrong contexts. 

This does not mean that we just should ‘ban’ the use of this word. Rather, there is a need to re-educate ourselves about its true meaning and value. This way we can ensure that the term loses its ‘hollow marketing term’ reputation. 

How does a ‘holistic approach’ translate to career coaching?

A holistic approach in career coaching means that we look at the whole person. We don’t just look at your work-related needs, such as salary or working hours, we also consider other elements of your wellbeing (physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wellbeing) and see them as interconnected.

This leads to a  career vision that positively impacts all aspects of your life.

From there we develop a plan to get you there.

Moreover, where traditional career coaching is mainly focused on strategies and actions, a holistic approach includes more space for reflection, mindset work, and finding alignment between different aspects of your life. 

Why is this important?

Your career serves more purposes than simply earning a living and the choices you make are influenced by a variety of factors to consider that also affect, or are affected by, our careers; for example, our family and culture, the labor market, and our geographic location.

Taking into account the ‘bigger picture’ helps you to make choices with more confidence.


Who benefits from a holistic approach to career coaching?

A holistic approach to career coaching can be beneficial for those who experience that they want more out of the coaching than ‘just’ a career change. You may also have related goals such as improving your work-life integration.

Another reason why you might want to work with a coach who takes a holistic approach to career coaching is if you tried the traditional job-search advice, tips, and strategies that primarily focus on finding a job that fits you but even after changing role, industry, or organization, you feel like ‘something is missing’. 


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About Lian

Hi, I’m Lian Angelino, a certified Career coach passionate about helping women move through their careers and daily lives with more ease and meaning.

I combine my background in Work Psychology, Mental Health Sciences, and Leadership development to help you get clear about what makes you tick and gain clarity around difficult career choices.

If you would like help in searching for your next role, finding clarity around a career challenge, or are looking for a structured way to approach your job search, learn more about my services here

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