Your annual review is coming up and you’re not sure how you should answer that “where do you want to be in five years?” question.

Or you’re smart and dedicated, but you see peers who are less conscientious with less competence getting better assignments or positions.

Or your company is going through a reorganization, and you don’t want to get lost in the shuffle.

Where do you turn for advice? For a growing number of people, the answer is to seek guidance from a professional called a career coach.

Career coaches fill a void. In the age of rapidly changing technology and global competition, managers are often too busy to provide employees with career advice as did managers of old. And even if their supervisors had the time, many employees would feel uncomfortable confiding in their supervisors in today’s work climate, private counselors say.

Counselors say their clients consider it an investment in their future. “It all comes down to, how much is your career worth to you?” said career counselor Rhonda Dablain LoBrutto, owner of CareerFit in Avon.

LoBrutto had a client who was an abstract, creative thinker, speaking more about ideas and concepts. But that client’s boss was more of a concrete, detail-oriented thinker. They weren’t speaking the same language.

“I encouraged her to provide him with numbers, data, facts” when posing an idea “to try to get on the same communication wavelength as her boss,” LoBrutto said.

(Excerpts from The Hartford Courant, Sunday, August 17, 1997)