“Employees don’t have clarity around their career aspirations or drivers of job satisfaction.” BlessingWhite’s January 2013 Employee Engagement Update Report.
If you have read my book, “The Cycle of Transformation,” you know that I’m a proponent of Managers (Leader Coaches), playing an important role in employees developing the necessary clarity to focus their talent, values, and calling in the best possible direction for both the individual and the organization.
Too often today’s coaching tasks are treated like a left-brain activity, whereby managers ask a series of rote questions such as, what are your career goals, or, where do you see yourself in five years. If you recognize yourself in this example, please don’t take offense, because clearly asking these types of questions is leaps and bounds better than not caring about what others hope to accomplish.
Before setting career goals, it’s important to step back and explore the special essence that makes up each incredibly unique individual.
Talent: I’ve used Gallup Strength Finders for many years. According to Gallup, talents are innate, in the same way the Myers Briggs Type Indicator is innate; we are born with it. My top five strengths are Activator, Strategic, Futuristic, Learner, and Relator. I’ve taken the online assessment twice and you can too by purchasing the book, Now Discover your Strengths, or going to the Gallup website. The work I do is aligned well with my talents. As an organizational systems consultant, I find it deeply satisfying to look out into the future and paint a picture of possibilities. My learner is drawn in to the process of discovery so that my strategic can get busy sorting through the clutter to find the best route. My activator is impatient for action, giving me a lot of push energy. Thankfully my relator isn’t happy unless I’m deepening relationships and making them more real and intimate (which I also believe to be an advantage in my work as a coach).
Questions to help uncover talents:
- What are you naturally good at?
- How does that relate to current work tasks?
- Which of your natural strengths are not present in your work today?
- What work would allow you to more fully express your talents?
- What talent are you over using? Under using?
Values: What is most important to us, our values, are anchored deep and are the must-haves for us to truly thrive. Creative freedom is one of my core values. I get to have it when I’m writing, or designing content, or developing a marketing strategy. I know it is one of my primaries because I need it to be a part of my life no matter what, like oxygen. When I wrote my book, I took my business to a four-day work-week for nearly a year. There was a financial impact in making that decision, but I had to do it.
Questions to help uncover values:
- Tell me about the work tasks that you most enjoy? The ones you only tolerate.
- What do you like best about your current position? Least?
- What is the best job you ever had? Why?
- Tell me what your ideal job looks like. What makes it ideal?
- Describe a perfect work day.
Calling: I was having coffee with an old friend last week, and we were talking about things that happen in our lives that are traumatic, can become a calling, as we make our way through the healing process. For me it is about trying to take something difficult and use it for good. It’s a form of transcendence. I’m not suggesting that everyone is called to use their unique talents, values, and vision through tragic circumstances, but if we listen we are always being called to connect what we have to offer with what’s needed now. If we listen deeply to ourselves, and the collective, we can see the next step we are being called to take.
I have been “called” due to life events many times. These events have shaped me to take a stand for transparency, honesty, connection, and hope. Whether it’s through non-profit work in youth leadership or as a systems worker in organizations, I am called to see the limitless possibilities that exist in individuals and teams when we honor and value how we are each so beautifully different, and yet the same.
Questions to help uncover Calling:
- What gives you a sense of purpose at work?
- What’s the difference you want to make here?
- Describe what makes this work meaningful.
- What cause are you involved with, or that you would you get involved with, regardless of money? What makes that compelling?
- How can you translate that in to the workplace?
- How might it impact your career planning?
For more information on how to unleash potential in the workplace, order a copy of my book…and check out this article on The One Solution to Many Common Organizational Challenges.
If you like this blog, I think you will like my book The Cycle of Transformation. Available now!
Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement by having a different conversation at work, contact us now.