These are probably 3 of the most important questions potential career changers can ever ask themselves – especially those who’ve come to coaching already convinced they want the coach to help them make a career change from the <insert expletive> job they presently have…
… and such “conviction” is often not the case.
You see, there’s nothing quite like challenging my clients with questions like these to really help them uncover what they believe about their existing career possibilities. (For many this is often the first time they’ve ever examined such beliefs and possibilities in a trusting and confidential space.)
And I find it interesting to (compassionately) observe their replies and how these may change over time – remembering that my job as a coach is not to “convert” anyone to mine. (Yes, I realize this is not foolproof, even for coaches intellectually aware of “transfer” influences between coach and coachee.)
To help the conversation along I’ll often use the sliding scale approach of “On a scale of 1 to 10…what do you think of the statement – your career is your own and you form it?”
This can sometimes produce just “yes” or “no” answers, which are less useful than a longer response. And in such monosyllabic cases a good coach will dig a little deeper, perhaps by asking the client to guess what they a famous person might say in reply.
In my experience the bedrock of successful career coaching is not just in creating and following through on a step-plan to “reach” the desired and idyllic future goals (a coach’s wet dream lol), but in facing present facts.
And these “facts” as I understand them are best summed up in Byron Katie’s beautiful and empowering words:
“When you argue with reality you lose. But only 100% of the time.”
Byron’s words remind me that so much pain and anguish (again, in my experience) is kept alive by continuing to headbutt our walls of reality.
And this seems to apply right across life’s spectrum of activities – “career” being just one very visible wall.
This Weekend’s Coaching Challenge:
So, if you feel moved, please do this simple 5 minute exercise over the weekend:
Cease arguing with all thoughts about your present career reality. Notice I didn’t say to ignore this reality or pretend it’s something entirely different.
Just begin to watch your thoughts about this present career reality float by as clouds do in a summer sky – neither caring whence they came from nor where they’re going to.
And then ask yourself those 3 questions from the start of the post.
Here they are again:
1- Your Career Is Your Own and You Form it?
2- Is it?
3- Do you?
– Mark McClure
PS – Please feel free to post your “answers” as a comment here.
You can use a fictitious name (but a real email address, which will not be shown.)
PPS- Regarding those clients “convinced” that they must change careers… my (limited) experience so far is that 80% (Pareto again!) want no such thing. In fact, they’ve simply convinced themselves that they’re effectively powerless to create change in their existing career path i.e. the sky is black with thoughts!
Once the gloom has lifted and those thoughts begin to dissipate in the affirming energy of their patiently observing selves, the mood does change. And their possibilities become endless…