Career transition within the field of executive coaching is on the rise. I’ve been approached recently by a number of people asking for support in this area. As many people will be starting the new year with resolutions around career change, I thought it may prove useful to share a formula that can support the process.
In my previous role in the corporate world, there was one thing that was drilled into us and that was that we are all responsible for our professional development. Of course, it wasn’t quite this simple, as there was a small barrier called ‘budget’ (or lack of it!) that got in the way on occasion, but I wholeheartedly agree with the principle - it’s down to you alone to make the best career for yourself.
Business Philosopher and entrepreneur, Jim Rohn, encapsulates this best.
Research has unearthed a few enlightening facts for those at a crossroads.
You are not alone!
Recent LinkedIn research states that three-quarters of 25 to 33-year-olds have experienced a quarter-life crisis driven by career angst. I wonder if this is higher or lower than the mid-life crisis bunch? Perhaps one for another time!
The cost to your happiness
According to an article in the Mail Online last year, Britons spend 12 years of their lives at work. 12 years! This is a long time to be doing something mediocre with your life… especially if it negatively impacts other parts of your life too.
The good news…
If you do decide to take the plunge in a role, research has found that 74 per cent of people who changed jobs got a higher salary at their new position.
The role of the career coach
A coach will focus on the gap or growth zone – coaching between where you are now and the end goal. Change doesn’t happen by hanging around the current trajectory, but rather above it.
In order to evoke change, a coach will raise awareness around values, skills, strengths, long-held limiting beliefs (systematic thought processes that maintain the status quo) and build confidence to help you get clear on the right career path.
Step 1: what do you want from your career?
If you had to score your level of career satisfaction out of 10 today what would it be? If your number gives you cause for concern or you’ve just taken an involuntary intake of breath, perhaps it’s time for a change.
The career coaching formula
Values are simply an intrinsic part of who we are at our core - what makes us tick. Our actions are driven by our values and they are what makes us jump out of bed in the morning (sometimes!). Therefore, identifying what's important is essential before embarking on a career change or promotion, as a career that doesn’t align with our values will likely feel unfulfilled.
Also, when considering a company to work for it’s worth assessing how their values align with your own. For example, I would suggest that often why we undertake a career pivot is down to values.
Skills are necessary for getting and being successful in a job. Being able to articulate when under pressure what you're good at and also knowing which skills you enjoy utilising is paramount in an interview scenario and also serves as a guidepost to your ideal role. Figuring out your skill set prior to looking for a promotion or a new role is vital.
Peter Drucker, renowned management consultant and author, said:
“A person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weakness, let alone on something one cannot do at all.”
In other words, it is easier to move from good to excellent than it is to move from incompetence to mediocrity.
Research from Gallup found that “people who focus on their strengths are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life, six times more likely to be engaged at work, 8% more productive and 15% less likely to quit their jobs.”
Therefore, understanding strengths is a must in understanding what is the right career choice.
Limiting beliefs generate very unhelpful words of wisdom – they are like a good friend that gives bad advice. Managing and quietening these sabotaging thoughts is a crucial element in the overall career jigsaw puzzle. It might be the one obstacle in the way of that dream job.
A number of exercises are especially useful when it comes to career coaching, such as a skills assessment, CV building or finding a job description that represents the next job and making a plan to plug the gaps.
Getting clear on all of the above builds that all important element: confidence.
At a career crossroads?