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Career Coaching Today: Forget the Corporate Ladder and Find Yourself

“Therapy helps people address unfinished business, like trauma and habits we have trouble breaking,” said Terrence Maltbia, the faculty director of the coaching certificate program at Columbia. “In coaching, there has always been an element of helping people discover their purpose, but the pandemic has amplified that aspect of it.”

This paradigm shift is seeping into corporate domains where seeking one’s true purpose in life hasn’t always been seen as a priority. Katie Burke, the chief people officer of HubSpot, a Boston-based software company, said her company’s human resources department encourages employees to tap into their innermost desires and move around — and not necessarily up — the chain of command.

“If you’re trying to think about how to prevent people from finding their passion,” she said, “you’re fundamentally doing it the wrong way.”

The questions Rana Rosen asks her clients are both practical (“What’s the next micro-step?”) and geared at “unlocking knots” and “finding your deeper truth,” such as: “Tell me who you’re jealous of,” or, “Tell me what you do when you’re distracted?”

Ms. Rosen and the company she founded, “Henceforth,” are highly sought out by media professionals, some of whom are looking to escape the contracting industry. Magazine editors pass around her phone number as if it were a buzzy restaurant’s secret reservation hotline. (For her part, Ms. Rosen chalks up her popularity to her “knack for seeing people’s essence.”)

The two most popular programs that Ms. Rosen, who recently moved from New York to Dover, Del., offers are “Align” ($555), which she calls “a concise deep dive,” and “Potent,” (ongoing, $333 per month), which includes more access to Ms. Rosen and the regular exchange of text and voice memos.

In conversations with more than a dozen career coaches, every one said that the pandemic had profoundly shifted what clients were looking for. Ms. Rosen said she had seen a newfound sense of resilience in many workers. “I’m finding people are more open to taking the perceived risk of finding work they like and care about,” she said.

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