The Ins and Outs of Career Development

I seem to have one of those creative brains that wants to know something about everything. Thus not everyone realizes that in addition to business coaching I’ve also been coaching professionals in career transition for over 25 years. If you happen to know someone in that situation, please pass this email on to them.

For clients in career transition, there are always two streams of enquiry: the internal and the external.

The “internal” examines who the person is, and what he or she is all about. The usual way to explore this is to assess interests, skills, talents, values, personality, and experience.

These areas are important – but I never stop here, particularly with clients in mid-life. People are way too complex to be figured out using simple algorithms. I’ve had plenty of clients say “That [other helping professional] told me I should be an X – well, ha ha – that’s ridiculous”. Unfortunately, their inner world had been simplified in a way that ignored other highly significant parts of them. No wonder they scoffed.

I tend to use a more organic approach to explore a person’s inner world. We glance at the bits – but we study the whole. What common themes and patterns have been repeated throughout this person’s life? Why have they made the decisions they’ve made? What is their vision for their life? What’s their mission and their enduring purpose? Their personal brand? What motivates them? What’s on their “bucket list”? Why or why not?

My view is that people most often have inklings about what their next phase involves. My role is to uncover these inklings, discern their shape, and help the person figure out how to move forward right away in their new direction.

I find that where a person is headed and who’s supporting them is far more important than any test results. Because once a person knows what they’re aiming at and has people they can call on for help, literally anything is possible. It doesn’t really matter what their personality style is. It doesn’t matter if they have all the skills. If they want something badly enough, and can connect with the right people to help them move forward…it’s going to happen.

Which brings us to our next stream of inquiry: the “external” stream. Once a person has figured out a general direction, how can they get the external world to cooperate in providing it for them? This is where personal branding, networking, influence, and social media enter in. Feel free to read my other blog posts on these topics…or just stay tuned…

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