Career Coaching: The Wandering Map Activity

May 1, 2018 | By Kate S. Brooks

Organizational Structure
two figurines on a page with directional lines

TAGS: coaching, journal,

NACE Journal, May 2018

This article is a companion to “Career Coaching: A New Paradigm for Student-Centered Career Services.”

One of my favorite coaching activities is teaching students to think visually as a method for clarifying their career decisions and career development plans. I use a variety of techniques from vision boards to SWOT analyses to mind maps.

One variation of a mind map is my “wandering map”* that encourages students to explore their lives on paper, placing everything from a singing performance in kindergarten to a complicated research study in college on their map. After completing the maps, students uncover themes and threads that have been present throughout their lives, revealing their natural strengths and mindsets. Students develop their personal “network of possible wanderings”: the unique places their minds can take them due to the experiences they have had.

We recently created a career maker-space called “The Vision Place” in the Career Center at Vanderbilt University to provide a relaxing, creative environment for students to think visually about their futures, design their social media platforms and stories, and develop “go-to-market” campaigns to present their talents to potential employers. Equipped with computers, art supplies, lots of paper, whiteboards, magazines, and additional graphic organizers, the Vision Place provides the perfect setting for students to explore all their possible lives and focus on taking their best possible selves into the future.

* The Wandering Map is detailed in Brooks’ You Majored in What?

Kate S. Brooks is the Evans Family Executive Director at Vanderbilt University Career Center.

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