Career development – The consolidation phase

Building on your earlier career experiences this is the time when technical skills and interpersonal behaviours can either stagnate or accelerate to the next level. In my work with high potential, I encourage them to strive for “best in class” performance to ensure that multiple career options are available to them in future years. 


From the self-awareness work discussed in the previous article, a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) exercise is useful to do periodically in this phase. This could form part of your annual personal performance review that synchronises with the company you work for or just an exercise you decide to do yourself. It is particularly important to take ownership of your own career development work through all these four stages rather than leave it to chance or expect others to look out for you.

Key questions to ask yourself in this phase

  • Have you got a clear personal development plan that you review and update quarterly?
  • How well networked are you internally (if employed) and externally? If you have been with an organisation for a long time it is extremely easy to get too internally focused and lose touch externally.
  • When did you last do something that pushed you out of your confidence zone – borderline scared you but felt good afterwards or you learned loads because of the experience?
  • How many people do you regularly spend time with that inspire and energise you? Diary time in to spend with these people and put your radar up to identify more people like this.
  • What type of personalities do you find it difficult to work with? Study why this is and then think how you could flex your style to build better working relationships with similar characters. Trust me, over your career, you will meet a wide variety of personalities and skilful high performers and learn to collaborate with them all.
  • What is the immediate next level of professional expertise you need to acquire through experience or training to enhance your professional credibility?
  • Who are the thought leaders and recognised experts in your chosen field? How can you learn from them?
  • Who do you really admire in the way they show up in the professional world? Identify the traits, skills and behaviours that caught your attention.

Suggested actions 

  • Seek out someone who is 2-3 steps ahead of you in your discipline/ideal career path and ask for some of their time to listen and learn what you need to do as part of your development planning. 
  • What are the best-in-class credentials or experience you need to acquire over the next few years – then weave that into your action plan? 
  • Conduct the SWOT analysis annually as suggested above and devise a personalised action plan as a result.
  • If you are still unclear about where you want to focus – experiment with getting a variety of experiences in roles and functions. Adding breadth as well as depth of experience is valuable to future employers or if you want to go self-employed. Gaining different perspectives across an organisation is an extremely useful skill to acquire rather than being silo focused in your area.

In summary, this phase is critical in purposefully committing yourself to becoming the best professional you can be, learning from people who are both technically great and who have exceptional people skills and presence. Behaviour breeds behaviour so these are the years to become a sponge and learn for yourself what good looks like in your chosen field/industry. Then build a plan to close any gaps you have identified for yourself.

As always if you need any support, please contact me.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Bristol, Gloucestershire, BS16 7FR
Written by Sandra Webber, ICF - ACC Qualified Coach
Bristol, Gloucestershire, BS16 7FR

Sandra is an qualified coach and author who works with both businesses and private clients. With over 20 years of experience she is also co-director of The Kudos Group a Training and Development company who focus on Executive Coaching/Mentoring/Leadership and Sales Team Development. Working across all sectors she loves supporting leaders.

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