Improving expertise in career counseling and coaching

Terence Tracey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There has been recent attention on the psychotherapy literature (Tracey, Wampold, Lichtenberg, & Goodyear, 2014; Tracey, Wampold, Goodyear, & Lichtenberg, 2015) about the lack of demonstration of expertise for psychotherapy as a profession. This conclusion is based on the work of Shanteau (1992) who defined expertise as improved performance being associated with experience. Many professions were found to not demonstrate expertise, clinical psychology among them. The key defining issue involved in this assessment of expertise is demonstrated outcomes. Do outcomes improve with greater experience? And the literature indicates no they do not (Goldberg et al., 2016). This literature in no way counters the demonstration of the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic interventions (Lambert & Ogles, 2004; Smith & Glass, 1977; Wampold, 2001a, 2001b) nor does it mean that specific individuals cannot attain or demonstrate expertise; it relates only the profession as a whole where there is no demonstration of an association of greater professional skill with experience. The premise of this chapter is that the profession of career counseling and couching could similarly demonstrate a lack of expertise. This supposition is based on the many similarities between these professions and the lack of research literature in career counseling and coaching indicating otherwise. However, this posited lack of expertise is argued to be alterable. Generalizing from the field of expertise, four principals are presented that are associated with improved outcomes and expertise: (a) the provision of quality feedback information regarding outcomes, (b) focused, deliberate practice, (c) avoidance of hindsight bias (reduced usage of heuristics), and (d) explicitly testing hypotheses in a disconfirmatory manner. The literature on each principal and examples of each of these approaches will be provided to assist in application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCounseling and Coaching in Times of Crisis and Transition
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Research to Practice
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781351970570
ISBN (Print)9781138290082
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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