By Liz Bapasola, Gallup Certified Strengths Coach
Lately I have had a lot of executive coaching sessions with clients who are at a crossroads in their careers. Finding success in their 20s and 30s, they now identify themselves with the privilege of wondering what their next career move should be - staying the course in their current job and build skills and experiences there - or taking a leap and trying a new position or starting their own business.
The luxury of choice in one's career path cannot be understated. That said, when faced with the opportunity to grow in your chosen profession because something about your current role isn't meeting all of your personal and/or professional needs, it's important to once again employ the 3 Reallys Method and reflect on what you really, really, really want in your next opportunity (whether that means tweaking what you're already doing or accepting/creating a new opportunity).
One recent client has been working in her current role as an administrator in higher education for nine years. While there are many aspects of her current role she thoroughly enjoys, she finds herself in herself "stuck," without the opportunity to be promoted in her current role and with a supervisor who doesn't empower or entrust her to make decisions. She has applied occasionally to new roles at other institutions, but always came up short of a job offer. She came to me as her executive coach to guide her at this crossroads in her career.
Naturally, I asked her what she wanted, then what she really wanted, then what she really, really wanted, and finally what she really, really, really wanted in her ideal job. The last question left her stumped.
"I know I want autonomy, I really want respect and mentorship, and I really, really want is empowerment to do my job and a great supervisor, but I don't know what I really, really, really want." Knowing her CliftonStrengths top five Signature Themes (part of The Equation to help you reach your full potential), these expressed needs made perfect sense for my client.
As her coach, though, I couldn't emphasize enough to her that it was important to get crystal clear on her ideal next role, that included more than an ideal supervisor who empowered her and respected her. As a way to help her do just this, I gave her an exercise to reflect upon after we concluded our coaching conversation.
"I want you to dream up your ideal job, something that honors who you are and the talents you bring to any team of which you're a part," I said.
Recognizing that her CliftonStrengths are Harmony, Achiever, Responsibility, Consistency, and Restorative, I immediately recognized that my client is an excellent consensus builder, problem solver, and executer of any task. She takes complete ownership of her work and applies rules and policies with equity. What type of job, then, would honor these talents and reward her for her work that she takes pride in accomplishing? That was the next task at hand and it had to be in my client's hands as I coach her along through this process.
I firmly believe that what you focus on expands. If you, my reader, are at a crossroads in your career you need to focus on your ideal job that honors your ideal self and helps you reach your full potential. Ask yourself, "what's my dream job and what conditions at work allow me to flourish?" Focus on that, and you're one mighty step closer to the next chapter in your career...And boy will it be a great one.