How coaching can support you to achieve a new career
More than ever before there is a sense of needing to be able to find your purpose, what gets you up in the morning and makes you feel motivated. A lot of us are questioning what we do as a job, and if it’s what we want out of the future.
When considering such decisions, a planned approach to career planning or career transition can be hugely beneficial. It requires finding a clear direction, gaining focus and creating a plan. One that a coach can support you with.
Of course, it might be the case that time is not on your side but if it is, then it is certainly worth going through this process whether you are in work or not, and looking at what you most want out of your future.
I believe this is a three-stage approach:
Stage 1 - Finding out about yourself
For many people, it starts with finding out about themselves. It is something that we think we do and things we think we know, but working on this and writing it down can be a great exercise to support career transition and is really a good starting point.
Looking at values first - what do you value both personally and professionally, what is important to you?
Once we can write down and articulate our values it is amazing to see how important and powerful they are to us.
Certain employers and indeed leaders and managers can link positively with our values or have the opposite effect. I have found this with organisations and people that I have worked for across my career. It has been a much better experience for me and I think I have delivered more where an organisation and its leaders have aligned with my values.
Uncovering your main strengths and skills is then vital. What do you excel at and how can you explain this and use good examples from your past career? What are development areas that you could spend some time working on? For most job applications and in most interviews they will relate questions to your strengths and skills so making sure that you know enough about them and can bring out some great examples of where you have used them effectively, is key.
Skills are also the basis of your CV, so it’s very important to uncover and know which ones are the most crucial for each role that you apply for. You can also do your own 360 review asking people you have worked with for their view of your skills and strengths.
One area that can be very powerful is then looking back across your career and writing down your top ten positive experiences – this can be where you believe you had the most success, felt the most motivated, happy, delivered well for your organisation. This process of actually writing them down and looking at the situation, the task, the actions you took and the results of your actions often show a pattern.
A pattern of strengths and skills that you used and areas that you would perhaps want to experience again can lead your thinking towards what role next. This also gives you great examples for your job applications and interviews. Most skills are transferable so which ones do you excel at and want to use more?
Stage 2 - Finding out what you want
It can be hard to know what role we want, and we can spend hours applying for any job that we see that we vaguely feel would suit us. This often not just takes hours of our time but gives us less time to spend on the roles that we would really like to get. It is better to apply for fewer jobs and spend more time on them than have a blanket approach. But which ones?
When exploring what you want from your career further, it is useful to undertake a ‘career prioritisation’ exercise. Write down the areas that matter to you most and what they are. This can include location, salary, responsibility, skills you wish to use, the degree to which it gives you purpose in life, is it building on past experience, is it something new, work/life balance, stability, challenge, working conditions. It can be a mix of these areas or others. Then prioritise them – so what are the top five that are very important to you in your journey towards your future career?
This stage also requires a fair amount of research – what ideas you have for future roles, the types of employers that you would like to work for. Which employers may have the opportunities that you are after. Start a list of the types of roles and employers and specific ones that you wish to target. It is amazing how following this process does help to narrow your thinking and helps you to really look for what you want from your future.
Tell people you know that these are the types of roles and employers that you want and you may be surprised at how opportunities can come your way.
Stage 3 - How do you then get what you want?
I believe that it is very important to create your own brand. By that I mean how do people see you and find you and what would their impression of you be? Do they see you as your current job role title or a person that can fit into several areas and could be exactly what they are looking for?
This requires quite a bit of thinking and work on areas such as your LinkedIn profile and your CV. It also requires tailoring your CV and applications well to each role that you then apply for; spending time on matching what an employer is asking for in content and sometimes their language.
Are you networking in the right areas? Once you know the type of role and type of employer that you want, being able to network in this area is key.
Direct targeting – you do not necessarily need to wait until a job is advertised if you have a top ten target of employers that you would like to work for making a direct approach in the right way can keep you on their radar for future opportunities.
Work on the basis that the work you are doing here, and then your application, is to get an interview for the right job with the right employer for you. Getting the job is then the outcome of delivering a great interview. This requires practice. An interview could involve a presentation as well as questions. We often prepare well for the presentation but not so well for the questions. The pre-work you have done here should have uncovered some great examples that you are able to use. Make sure you have someone who can do some mock interviews with you – this really does help.
It is your career and putting the time into planning your future can really help to get what you want.