Recently I had the chance to coach a young woman struggling to make her way in a corporate environment. She is hard-working, serious, and mindful of her relationship with others, great results and in excellent standing with the company. She was focused on getting a new job, and it seemed to her that she had all it took to get it, and yet she was refused. That is when she contacted me, and we started to discuss what was her goals and vision. I asked her why she wanted to get this new assignment, and she replied that it was a natural progression, that was the next step on her roadmap. It just made sense to get there for her.
That was not enough for me.
So, I asked again, why do you want that job, what does it mean for you? How does it fit in your evolution? What will you learn there that you can’t get with your current work?
I see myself becoming a manager in a few years, and I need the main skills used in this field to do it, this job is the perfect opportunity to develop and practice them.
Now we were getting somewhere!
The next thing I asked was where she felt she was on her way to acquire such skills. Next to zero was her reply.
Then I asked how does that vision of herself and her skills help her in reaching that goal? She said it was not much help, and she was right.
Often, this is how people feel looking at the job they want. They value the skills to be developed there and feel like they don’t have them yet; it will be THE opportunity to get better at them. If we turn the table and we look at the person hiring, he or she will be looking for something different. It will be some base or, better yet, the ongoing development of the said skills. So, this was the place from which she decided to start our partnership. We looked at how her current position helped her build experience and get momentum in growing competencies she would need in this new job and asked her manager to give her assignments where she could practice these things. Quickly, what seemed far from her present reality became a common occurrence, and I saw her confidence and self-awareness increase drastically. Things that she felt were far from her capabilities, things that made her anxious to talk about, transformed into mundane tasks that she could accomplish without stress or fear of failure. In a few weeks, she had a powerful momentum, she moved and acted with purpose, and it showed. So much so that she got the job!
People often undertake great challenges with a single point of view, theirs. Would NASA plan a route to Mars with only one trajectory? No, they plan with dozens, hundreds of different trajectories, and variations to make sure everything is accounted for. This is what I can provide. What I brought her was a different perspective. I challenged her to anchor a reason to her desire and connect it in a meaningful way to her vision. Then, we worked on the actions she could undertake to move forward and give her the playing field she needed to build the skills. Today, she is thriving in her new role.
What is your destination?