A Coaching Model Created by Meiling Canizares
(Career Coach, BRAZIL)
Career management has become a topic for discussions inside and outside companies.
Career success is something that depends on many internal and external, objective and subjective factors. It is a complex phenomenon.
Career growth happens when a series of factors coincide in time and place. In a simple way, it happens when the individual is ready for the challenge that it is presented to them. A window of opportunity exists. The individual can only take it, if they are ready.
Career Management and Coaching
To better map all the key elements that are involved in the concept of individual readiness and window of opportunity, we chose the Integral Theory approach, developed by Ken Wilber.
This is a good map to guide us through the challenging & inspiring world of a successful career journey, and we recommend its adapted use to career coaching.
Coaching is a learning journey which helps the client to activate potentialities, internal resources and competencies in order to be more successful in life. Career coaching is when this process is focused on career success.
Target group of career coaching
The Career Spiral Coaching Model is designed for the individuals who face one or more of the following challenges:
- Want to build a successful career
- Need to prepare for the next career step
- Have to drive a career change or shift (career transition)
Integral Theory in career coaching
Ken Wilber´s 4 quadrants approach is synthesized in the chart below:
The 4 quadrants are the following:
- I (individual) – Subjective: Here we find information related to the internal environment of a person, such as thoughts, emotions, learning styles, perceptions, states of mind, personality treats. Elements related to career in this quadrant: competencies, natural abilities, individual beliefs and values, self-awareness and motivation.
- It (individual) – Objective: Here we find the observable part of an individual, such as the body (and brain), behaviors, performance and results. Elements related to career in this quadrant: performance, individual career path.
- We (collective) – Intersubjective: Here we find the shared values, language, relationships and culture. Elements related to career in this quadrant: company´s culture, networking.
- Its (collective) – Inter-objective – Here we find the systems, technology, natural environment. Elements related to career in this quadrant: company´s momentum, economical scenario, team´s stage of development and performance, structure and changes in the context.
Career Spiral Coaching Model
Some developmental theories agree that development could be represented as an ascendant spiral, that goes into a continuum of progress and, at some point, reaches a new layer (and this is not a jump – you reach the new stage in a continuum of changes and learnings that is called “development process”).
When upgrading a level in the development continuum, we ascend to different perspectives and skills. In other words, when we reach a new level, we keep what we had in the level below and transcend it.
Career development is not different… We grow in spiral in our career. We build upon our existing skills and then need to transcend them, when we reach a new level. It is important to consider that, when we reach a new level in the spiral, we are at the beginning of a new cycle…
The Career Spiral Coaching Model has 8 steps, that go through the 4 quadrants, in the intent to better understand client´s readiness for growth or shift in career, and help them to map career opportunities accordingly. Steps 1 to 7 are designed to help the client to improve awareness and make choices. Step 8 is focused on actions that will create the desired reality.
Please see the figure below for a visual representation of this idea:
Each step has been designed following a basic structure:
- Connection to career
- How to explore this step with the client
- Exercises that can be used in the step
Each client has a unique style and specific needs, and those aspects determine a unique coaching journey. The order of the steps 1 to 7 can vary according to client´s priorities.
It is possible that step 8 is partially activated during the process, through steps 1 to 7, when the client is ready to make some decisions and choices about their career.
The exercises should be understood here as a “Tool Box” available, from where you can pick a tool to help your client to go further. They are optional and their use is flexible.
Step 1 – Who I Am…
Career Satisfaction x Happiness
According to Zygmunt Bauman (2004), there was a time in the history of the human kind when there was no expectation about work providing happiness or pleasure. The idea of satisfaction at work seems to be representative of modern times.
What does allow us to reach realization at work? The answer can vary according to the person, but will always be linked to which level of alignment there is between their work and their life purpose & values.
Explore: How client´s work is in line with client´s life purpose and values?
Support tools: wheel of life, life timeline, life purpose statement, list of 5-8 core values
Step 2 – The Place of Career in my Life
Career x Individual Identity & Self-Realization
It seems to be amply accepted that the social roles are important pillars for individual identity and self-realization feeling. Social roles can be: professionals, parents, partners etc.
Some people place their career as a central part of their identity. The importance an individual gives to each social role determines its priority in their life. People also make choices on what roles will be more or less developed… Work-life balance is a consequence of those choices.
Explore: What´s the importance of work and career for client´s life and identity? Does the client have a balanced life? How important is it for them?
Support tools: wheel of life, life timeline, life purpose statement, list of 5-8 core values
Step 3 – My Took Kit to Succeed in Career
Career x Self-Awareness
There is literature showing that happiness at work also is related to the right use of one´s natural strengths and abilities (all profiles inventories are based on this kind of assumption).
For one to succeed in their career, it is crucial to increase self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness helps us to make better choices and find the right fit for us in terms of career.
Explore: How client´s work makes use of client´s strengths & potentials? What are the available careers that make the best use of client´s talents?
Support tools: Assessment tools (to map strengths, weaknesses, motivations and potential)
Step 4 – I Am Accountab for my Career Journey
Career x Choices
Viktor Frankl stated it is important to be aware that we always have choices. We choose how to position ourselves against the facts. Even in some very restrictive situations (when we don´t have control on what´s happening to us), we still can choose how to deal with the imposed reality. Creativity resides in the way we are able to build meaning and learning from the given situations of our life. Our biography is our creation, through he collection of choices we made.
Explore: How much is the client accountable for their own career journey? How does the client see meaning in their career?
Support tools: Career timeline exercise.
Step 5 – Performance Data & Achievements History
Career x Results
As important as improving self-awareness (steps 1 to 4) it is to assess objective results & career track records. In this step, it is interesting to collect objective information using feedback from others, analyzing documented performance evaluations and feedback, 360 degrees reports, etc. It is also possible to validate objective information using some interviewing techniques based on behavioral questions.
Explore: How is client´s performance? (Get information of current & past performance).
Support tools: Career timeline exercise, objective documents (already described above).
Step 6 – Network & Cultural Environment Matter
Career x Network & Cultural Context
There are some key factors for career success that depend on how well the individual fits to the collective context where they are inserted. The chances for success are higher when the individual feels identified with the organization´s core values and culture. Another important success factor is the quality of internal and external network the individual has.
Explore: What´s the link between company´s culture and individual values? How is the client´s networking inside and outside the organization?
Support tools: matching the Company´s culture to 5-8 core values of the client; mapping crucial networking.
Step 7 – The Influence of External Context
Career x Economic, Organizational and Team Momentum
For career growth, we need to be prepared, but also need to be in the right time at the right place. So, external factors determined by the context, such as economic scenario, organization´s momentum and team´s stage of development play important roles in order to allow opportunities to happen. This perspective helps the client to understand that only a part of career growth is under their direct control.
Explore: What´s the organization´s momentum? (is it starting up, expanding business, reducing business?); What´s the economical scenario (How is employment index? How´s the demand for this job? How´s the offer of candidates for the job?); How´s your team´s stage of development and performance? How does this affect your career progression? Does the current structure and context is favorable to you?
Support tools: data collection to answer the questions above.
Step 8 – Planning your Career
Career x Goals
After analyzing all the factors that impact one´s career, it is time to define career´s goals and start implementing them. This is the phase where the client plans how to implement their choices.
This phase is the seed of the future reality.
Explore: What are client´s career goals in short-term and long-term?; What´s the strategy to achieve those goals?
Support tools: SWOT Analysis on the professional situation of the client to define the strategy; action plan to achieve career goals.
If career it is important to you, go for it!
Carpe Diem! Seize the day,
Do not let them finish without having grown a little,
without having been a little more happy,
Without having fed your dreams.
Do not forget overcome by encouragement.
Do not let anyone
You remove the right of
Express that it is almost a duty.
Do not leave your desire to make your life,
Something extraordinary…Walt Whitman
BAUMAN, Z. Amor líquido: sobre a fragilidade dos laços humanos. Rio de Janeiro, Jorge Zahar Editor, 2004.
FRANKL, V. E. Psicoterapia e sentido da vida: fundamentos da logoterapia e análise existencial. 3. ed. São Paulo, Quadrante, 1989.
WILBER, K. Uma Teoria de Tudo. São Paulo, Ed Cultrix, 2010.