His responses to this exercise are below:
My own space
A nice house
Ability to travel
Less constricted or structured
A trusting boss
A place to learn
Variety of co-workers
The Self-Evaluation process and companion discussion were a great way to facilitate Creating Awareness. Once again, Active Listening was employed and Powerful Questions were used to explore Carl’s answers and gauge the impact that not utilizing, accessing or creating the talents, passions, values, lifestyle and eco-system that he was so clearly craving was having on his overall well-being.
We were now ready to move on to session three.
3. The Assessment
Using assessment tools can be a controversial practice in career coaching. While some tools are effective, there are many that can lead to miscategorization or mismatching of career types. The tool used for Carl’s assessment was the Highlands Ability Battery, which has a very high user satisfaction rating with career transition/exploration users.
Carl’s results are below:
The assessment helped Carl see himself in a new light and, in many ways, re-frame some of the perspectives he had about himself in terms of personal style and abilities and let go of some of the underlying beliefs that were holding him back from considering alternative career paths. For instance, Carl wasn’t surprised to learn that he was a high level introvert, but he was surprised to learn that he was a specialist, which meant that he liked to do things differently than other people. Imagine that revelation when you are in a job that requires you to do pretty much the same work as everyone else and does not reward individuality. No wonder he was unhappy!
Carl was also surprised to learn that he had a number of strong abilities in key areas such as Number Memory, Visual Accuracy and Spatial Relations. A detailed report from the Highlands Company helped Carl understand how these abilities did and could play out in his everyday and professional life.
An exploration of Carl’s hobbies and non-work interests revealed that while he was not tapping his true potential on the work front, he was at least attending to some of his passions and interests and finding an outlet for his abilities in his free time. Having this acknowledged was important to Carl and it furthered his confidence in his ability to identify and meet his needs, even if he wasn’t yet doing it in his career.
Armed with an arsenal of information about his abilities and related work types, it was time for session four.
4. The Options
Session four is a tough session as it is an opportunity for the client to consolidate all that they have learned in the previous sessions and develop a framework within which they can evaluate career possibilities. Although Carl had indicated that he wanted to complete his program by February, he recognized that preparing for session four was going to take some time so he decided to slow down the pace of our sessions (we’d been meeting on average every 2 to 4 weeks) and take a 6 to 8 weeks to start researching different career options.
Carl was provided with a number of online resources where he could research different career possibilities including:
Another resource Carl was provided with was a Career Options Decision Tool that allowed him to enter the criteria that he determined was most important to him in a career, allot a weight to each criteria and then rate how each of his career options measured up. This is by no means an exact science but it can be a highly visual tool and one that is great for getting clients to start creating action.
|Here is Carl’s completed Tool:|
|CRITERIA||WEIGHT (0-10)||Career Title #1||Career Title #2||Career Title #3||Career Title #4||Career Title #5||Career Title #6|
|Private Investigator||Land Surveyor||Claims investigator||Financial Planner||Graphic Artist|
|Creating process and procedures||5||8||3||6||6||4|
|Paying attention to details||7||9||7||7||9||7|
|My Own Space||7||5||5||6||5||5|
|Total Score with Weighting||611||328||397||435||498|
Carl’s research led him to 5 careers that he felt would be suitable based on a number of different criteria. What was not listed on his Career Decision Tool was the need to return to school for further study, which he was more than open to.
Carl returned to our sessions with a clear confidence and sense of hope. He had used the resources provided and sourced some additional tools to help him research as many suitable career options as possible. Carl demonstrated a resourcefulness during this phase of the program and held himself accountable for coming up with a variety of options. We were in contact a number of times by email between sessions and this structure of being able to check in for some encouragement or to confirm direction proved to be very helpful for Carl.
Using the weighting in the tool, Carl determined that being a private investigator would provide him with a career that he believed would be stimulating, challenging and exciting and would line up well with the talents, passions, values, lifestyle and eco-system that he identified in session two.
With a possible career path in mind, we prepared for session five.
5. The Plan
As mentioned above, Carl recognized that he would likely have to return to school if he wanted to make a significant change in his career. Exploring education requirements for becoming a private investigator was something Carl began doing before session five. As a result, he came to the session with a handful of schooling possibilities and the beginnings of a timeline in which he would save money, apply to various schools, complete the program and begin his apprenticeship. Carl had even taken the initiative to reach out to two friends of friends who are practicing Private Investigators for discovery sessions.
At this point we started to discuss Planning and Goal Setting. We revisited Carl’s Highlands Ability Profile to look at the category of assessment called Time Frame. At 15%, Carl was a short-term thinker.
According to Carl’s personalized results, a person with a short or immediate Time Frame Orientation:
- has a natural Time Frame of about six months to one year for making plans, thinking about their future, or considering the impact on their life of what they are doing now,
- can work to accomplish a goal requiring longer Time Frame (five years, for example) by consciously breaking it into clear segments that fall within their natural Time Frame,
- is able to move from project to project easily without being encumbered by a fixed, long-term view of things,
- can find this orientation helpful in jobs that demand relatively immediate closure or completion, and
- should be aware that their hunger for immediate results can undercut their ability to complete projects that demand longer completion times. They will need to manage their natural Time Frame Orientation in such projects by consciously breaking them up into shorter steps and then focusing on each step.
This was invaluable information for Carl as he began crafting a plan to accomplish his goals. He acknowledged that he had had some challenges in the past sticking with plans that had too long a timeline. He recognized that, in order to get through the various stages of this plan, he was going to have to reduce it to actionable chunks that were a maximum of 6 months in length.
We were not able to complete Carl’s plan during session five but we stayed in contact via email and Carl shared that he was very pleased with the plan he finalized on his own.
Carl’s coaching engagement posed some challenges. First, that I was a contracted career coach. This meant I was not able to connect with Carl at the outset to determine whether or not I was going to be the right coach for Carl or if he was going to be the right client for me. We also had a very limited time in which to Establish Trust and Intimacy. Luckily, Carl and I got along very well and I discovered he was exactly the type of client I love working with. Carl would appear to feel the same way as he rated both the coaching program and his coaching sessions 10/10 on his client satisfaction report.
The limited number of sessions was another challenge. Considering, exploring and planning for such a significant career change typically takes much longer than 5 sessions and a few months. Nonetheless, Carl and I made the best use of the tools available to us. In some ways, the time constraints forced me to sharpen my coaching techniques so that we could get the most out of every minute together. As a result, although it felt truncated, it did not feel rushed and I don’t believe Carl was short-changed in any way.
In the end, Carl set the pace and determined the depth to which he wanted to explore his options and, ultimately, the creation of his transition plan.
I typically use coaching tools judiciously but, in this case, I found them to be invaluable. They helped to create a framework within which Carl could learn about himself. They also gave him the ability to explore his options and a structure to support how and when this could be facilitated.
Carl’s profile is atypical of my usual clients. Yet, he was as engaged and committed, if not more so, as many of the clients I work with. Carl and I stay in touch and he is still on plan to enroll in Private Investigation training in January 2015. He’s had a full summer of work he does not particularly care for but he sees the light at the end of the tunnel. If he can stay focused on shorter time frame actions and wins he’s stands a very good chance of achieving his goals. I’m no longer Carl’s active coach but I’m standing firmly on the sidelines of his life, cheering him on!
International Coach Federation, Core Competencies, www.coachfederation.org/icfcredentials/core-competencies/
Co-Active Topics, Co-Active Coaching Skills: Listening,
The Career Key, Misleading Career Assessments:
The Oxford Program, Highlands Ability Battery Reviews:
 International Coach Federation, Core Competencies, B. Co-creating the Relationship, 4. Coaching Presence: www.coachfederation.org/icfcredentials/core-competencies/
 Ibid. C. Communicating Effectively, 6. Powerful Questioning
 Ibid. C. Communicating Effectively, 5. Active Listening
 Co-Active Topics, Co-Active Coaching Skills: Listening,
 International Coach Federation, Core Competencies, D. Facilitating Learning and Results, 8. Creating Awareness: www.coachfederation.org/icfcredentials/core-competencies/
 The Career Key, Misleading Career Assessments:
 The Oxford Program, Highlands Ability Battery Reviews:
 International Coach Federation, Core Competencies, D. Facilitating Learning and Results, 10. Planning and Goal Setting: www.coachfederation.org/icfcredentials/core-competencies/
 International Coach Federation, Core Competencies, B. Co-creating the Relationship, 3. Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client: www.coachfederation.org/icfcredentials/core-competencies/