Are you feeling stuck? Do you need a change? Have you ended up in a job, or organisation, which isn’t right for you? Maybe you got the job of your dreams, but five years on you’re ready for something new.
I’ve been talking to clients about career issues, whether in 1-1 coaching or in a workshop setting, for a number of years. Whether clients come to me for career coaching, leadership coaching or executive coaching, how to make the most of your career and making sure it fits with the life you want, almost always features in our coaching conversations. And so it should – we all need to feel motivated at work in order to be effective, regardless of our job title.
Every client is unique, but I have noticed some common pitfalls we all fall into when we are planning career moves. I’ve used a whole host of ways of helping clients sidestep these, so that they can work out what they really want and here are some of them, just for you! Many of these clients now have the job of their dreams (see Jon’s story here.)
So here are 5 exercises which I know will help you – have fun!
- Write down on a (large) piece of paper everything you’ve ever thought you’d like to do. Don’t limit yourself to sensible suggestions. The crazier the better. And cover that page. Every day for a week, pick one that appeals to you. As you go about your day, reflect on what would be fulfilling about that role? Who would you be working with? What difference would you be making? Walk a bit in the shoes of someone doing that role or living that life. What does it feel like? What do you notice?
- Draw a picture of your future life. That’s your whole life, not just a picture of you at work. (Many clients come to me because the career they had mapped out for them in their 20s isn’t working for them in their 30s or 40s. Their priorities have changed and they are now trying to fit a round career peg into a square lifestyle hole.) Really turbo boost this picture, this is the time to think big. Really want to run a smallholding? So draw it! Want to run your own business – get the felt tips out and go to town.What do you notice about this picture? Are there any surprises? What’s not there which you thought would be?
These two exercises are great to get you reflecting about what’s important to you. Looking at these – what are the things you absolutely need in your life? What makes you most excited when you look at both pages?
So next we’re going to get practical:
- Think about context, not job title. The one stumbling block I see again and again is when clients focus 100% on the job role – what they’ll be doing, and 0% on where, and with whom they’ll be working. In other words, it might not be the job that you’re not enjoying, but the culture of the workplace. The nuts and bolts of your work are important, but just as important is answering the question ‘in what kind of organisation or work situation will I thrive?’ There is great learning to be had from the roles which weren’t right as well as the ones which were. But how often do you really reflect on this? (The job I had in my 20s was great because the team was great, and I really believed in the goals of that organisation. It was much less about what I was doing day to day, though the fact it was varied and creative really helped.) when you know what is the right culture fit for you, you can go about finding it…..which leads me into…..
- Map your networks – not just the people you know but who they know. LinkedIn is your friend. But what is even more powerful is talking to the folk you see in person and explaining what you are looking for, or what you’re trying to create, and asking if they know anyone who might be able to help.
- Set yourself some targets and stick to them. This is one which is hard to do on your own, and where a good coach will really hold you to account. But the more you speak out loud about what you’re aiming for, the more likely it is that you’ll actually do something about it. Do you need to block out time in your diary to work on this?
No set of exercises, or book, is going to be a substitute for working with an accredited coach who will listen to you, challenge you, help you understand what you want, and then support you to go out and get it. But it’s a start. And if you do want some of that bespoke, focused, support at an affordable rate, drop me a line to set up an absolutely free initial conversation about what you want to achieve.