The World of Work has Changed
When seeking work in the rapidly changing world of work it has been said that what worked then won’t work now. As a career strategy for finding work, keeping work, changing career direction, adapting to industry change and adapting our careers to life transitions we need to understand what works now and apply it rigorously. Much as sherpas help mountain climbers reach the top of Mount Everest, a Career Management Coach is your guide and co-navigator – and sometimes cheerleader – through this new work landscape in which you find yourself.
I’ve had many occupations since I started my first formal job in 1990 but my real work has been about finding myself and what makes me happy and fulfilled, in other words, what is meaningful to me.
When I put aside my creature comforts and fears and took a leap of faith into the unknown, exciting things began to happen: I became self-employed! While my lifestyle adjusted to being my own boss, my happiness-levels soared. Only thrice since 2012 that I have lived and worked my purpose have I woken up going “noooo” and that was probably because I had woken with a sore throat or the like.
Given that it used to be a daily occurrence this is nothing short of a miracle. Imagine this if you will: a “noooo” escaped my mind and mouth almost every day for 22 years. How incredibly sad! How many times did I flee work at lunchtime and sob, “what’s the meaning of this all?” Way too many times. Call me overly-sensitive but this was a very real ongoing existential crisis for me.
My search for my career purpose put me on a path to help others find theirs. Whilst not a career guidance counselor I work with individuals who feel that what they are doing is not meaningful, nor making them fulfilled, proud or happy. Perhaps their bank managers, their parents and friends are pleased, proud or happy for them but their hearts cannot be fooled. And they die little soul-deaths every day until one day they feel like the walking dead. Like ghosts…walking shells of the person they should be.
Having lived through a number of my own job changes, including retrenchments, a constructive dismissal case and a couple of jobs from which I resigned for either career progression or personal non-alignment purposes, concluding with a complete career change, I know what it’s like to start again. I know what it’s like to have to re-invent oneself, to be strong in the face of doubt, rejection and defeat. I know what it takes to adapt to the changed world of work: doing this as I did at mid-life, as if changing careers or negotiating mid-life wasn’t challenging enough already!
I have been very fortunate to partner with a number of companies that remain at the forefront of career management trends, coaching practices, human resources strategy and training and development; they provide me with learning opportunities and knowledge-sharing that keep my work and practices current and globally aligned. I look forward to sharing these practices with you when you are ready to climb your own Everest!
Context: The Changing World of Work
Starting with a quote from Lou Gerstner, chairman of IBM, 2000:
“Every now and then, a technology or an idea comes along that is so profound, so powerful, so universal that its impact changes everything. The printing press. The incandescent light. The automobile. Manned flight. The Internet. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, the world is changed forever.”
The world of work has changed dramatically in the last decade or so, where the shift of responsibility and ownership is from the employer to the employee. Due to the significant changes in the working world since the introduction of social media and the subsequent connectivity and personal brand-curation required, our approach to gaining and keeping work has to shift, accepting that traditional modes of finding and keeping work are less applicable.
As we engage with the 4th Industrial Revolution, otherwise referred to as the Era of Possibility, The Knowledge Era or The Information Age, we need to know how to keep progressing as individual “businesses-of-one” to ensure relevance to the new world of work and add much-needed longevity to our careers considering retirement will be happening later in our lifetime than in previous generations.
Where loyalty to an employer used to secure a long-term career within a company, we have seen that changing global economic trends and an increasingly global workplace have resulted in restructuring, down-sizing and retrenching. Loyalty doesn’t hold as much sway as it used to. Staying current, remaining abreast of technological development and innovation through ongoing learning, being emotionally intelligent and fostering creativity are the hallmarks to remaining employable.
Long-term careers in one field or industry are becoming a thing of the past. If we are to future-proof our careers the type of thinking we would do well to embrace is that we will have a “portfolio of jobs”. Statistics change so I can’t give a definitive, but whereas in the past a worker could expect to have one or two employers over the course of their lifetime, we are now looking at having multiple jobs with different employers over the course of our longer working lives. And we need to negotiate this with ease whilst earning, learning and seeking work-life integration. Enter the Career Management Coach.
A Career Management Coach helps clients to:
- Foster understanding of the new work landscape and embrace it.
- Acquire skills that ensure their approach to finding work and keeping work is relevant and effective.
- Determine career direction and navigate their way as businesses-of-one.
- Build confidence, learning how to manage themselves in the changing workplace.
What is Career Management Coaching and how does it differ from other forms of Coaching?
Let’s start with Coaching
According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), coaching is an on-going professional relationship that helps people produce extraordinary results in their lives, careers, businesses or organizations. Through the process of coaching, clients deepen their learning, improve their performance and enhance their quality of life. In each meeting, the client chooses the focus of discussion, while the coach listens and contributes observations and questions. The interaction creates clarity and moves the client into action. Coaching accelerates the client’s progress by providing greater focus and awareness of choice.
Coaching concentrates on where clients are now and what they are willing to do to get where they want to be in the future, recognizing that results are a matter of the client’s intentions, choices and actions, supported by the coach’s efforts and application of the coaching process.
What is Career Management Coaching (or Career Coaching)?
Let me say upfront that career coaching is not the same as career guidance, which usually involves student level assessment of IQ and academic results in order to recommend a particular career or study direction. Having said that, we might make use of assessments that you have had done previously or partake in reputable online assessments to broaden our view of your potential.
Career coaching is a process designed to empower you through a journey of self-awareness and self-assessment, market research, networking, reviewing skills and abilities, creating marketing material and understanding what it means to be a personal brand. Coaching conversations are supported by the application of powerful career management tools, the combination of which can be termed the career management process. The process is designed to ensure that you engage pro-actively in achieving a working life that works for you.
The Career Management Process
The career management process can be applied at various stages of career progression from job search to promotions to exiting an organisation be it through resignation or retrenchment. As a career coach I work with you from the beginning of your career through promotions and changes, supporting you as you proceed, be it managing challenging work relationships and/ or making complex decisions regarding career progression.
The proven career management tools which support the coaching conversation include:
- identifying direction
- career planning
- skills development planning (including emotional intelligence)
- personal branding and marketing (CV writing, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, biographies, networking statements)
- networking skills and strategies
- interview preparation
- creating and maximizing career opportunities
How does the coaching relationship commence?
After you have made contact with me and expressed an interest in working together, a first meeting is arranged (in person, telephonic or Skype) where you and I discuss your requirements and seek to establish a basis upon which we will work together.
This allows me time to explain the premise upon which a successful coaching relationship is built, gain an understanding of you in your context and allow time to answer any questions that you may have about coaching as a discipline.
Thereafter, time is spent discussing your coaching requirement and planning a course of action in alignment with your goals, budget and available time. This is called “contracting” and determining coaching outcomes will form part of this coaching contract.
It’s important to know that the coaching relationship is constantly re-evaluated by both parties and can be terminated at any stage. Your commitment to the process is for as long or as short a period as you feel you require in order that you benefit from the engagement. For further information about the contracting process please mail me on email@example.com to receive more comprehensive information regarding this process.
In summary, the Career Management Process consists of 5 steps
STEP 1: Self-awareness/ Personal discovery
Self-assessment which consists of exercises to evaluate:
- purpose and passions
- key strengths
- key skills
- emotional intelligence
- work environment preferences
STEP 2: Exploration
Conducting research and networking aiming to:
- Create and develop a personal career/ study option evaluations framework; this is done by research into occupations, sectors, organisations and courses. By examining the job market, we seek areas that are most likely to offer jobs for a short-term career plan which can segue into a longer-term career goal.
- Establish a network of contacts in the industry of interest, tapping in to the hidden job market i.e. the posts that are not advertised on job boards.
STEP 3: Marketing
Involves Personal Branding and Interview Preparation which include:
- Bring together what has been learned in steps 1 and 2.
- Develop marketing tools to reflect and support your personal brand.
- Learn how best to manage the interview process and secure target roles.
- Create marketing collateral which includes CV/ resume, LinkedIn profile, specific introduction letters/ cover letters, biographies, etc.
STEP 4: Action Plan
Job Search Activity and Ongoing Reflections to:
- Set realistic goals to transition into chosen areas of work and develop action plans that facilitate active engagement with job search.
- Involves networking and social media to explore the hidden job market, company websites, recruitment agencies, job advertisements.
- Incorporates ongoing reflection into what you are learning about yourself in relation to careers and the world of work.
STEP 5: Integration
Involves self-management and observing personal effectiveness, the purpose of which is to continue to develop and strengthen emotional intelligence capabilities.