Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
today I got a call from a reader asking if I could help her figure out her next career step. She is 55, facing job loss,
and after decades in the financial sector, would like to start in a whole new kind of work.
The funny part was when she asked if I could recommend an ‘intuitive’ who could point her in the right career direction!
Perhaps to her surprise, I told her that good intuition, and the ability to read people well, is an important tool in the toolbox every career coach should have, but that career direction is not based on magical thinking, fortune-telling, or sensing one’s aura. It is based on asking probing, thoughtful and reflective questions that help the client see themselves clearly and make sound decisions going forward. The process involves assignments where clients are asked to identify their strengths, skills and preferences. They are asked describe times they were at their best and felt great about their work. They are asked to write out specific projects or job parameters, the goals, the team (or solo work) the challenges, the tasks, the required skills, outcomes, types of rewards and compensation and how they prefer to be managed. Together, we develop a profile of what they bring to work, what they enjoy at work, aspects to stay away from and new areas they might want to explore and develop. We also construct a profile of the kind of management, culture and colleagues that they prefer and an environment that suits their style and preferences.
Next, we research to identify the work environments, industries and kinds of work that will result in a win-win for them as employees and for their prospective employers.
Career coaching work is not voodoo or magic, but a carefully designed process. In the case of looking for a new career direction, it’s based on going from the inside-out and back in time to reflect back to you your best work profile. Then, it involves a process of seeing there that work profile can best fit into the market place; what kinds of industries, companies, organizations and job descriptions best match.
Self Awareness as a Key Differentiator
The other benefit of this process is that self-awareness if an extremely attractive feature to a employers. Employers like to know that you know who you are and what you bring to their team. Self realized individuals are typically more mature, easier to get along with and understand how they can best support the goals of a group. Self aware people also raise their hand to participate in projects that truly meet their strengths and skills. And they stay away from projects that do not align with their best selves.
When you interview for jobs, I encourage you to write out what brings the best of you to work. Give examples and show how your proven skills and abilities have helped to drive business forward; or helped to achieve the goals of the organization.
Every year it’s good to do a personal check-in. Reflect to see what you’ve enjoyed at work this last year. Where you made your impact. Think about how you responded to challenges, how you worked with your colleagues, what kind of compensation and reward were meaningful to you. Are you enjoying more solo or group work? The more you understand your own motivations and preferences, the better you will align yourself with success..on your terms in your unique way.
Onward to your career success in all ways, always.