THE FIRST SKILL

During my years of coaching I have found that understanding yourself is at the absolute centre of any change you want to make, whether it is in career or life in general.

You are the starting point and have to be clear on: who you are; what you are; what intrigues you; what drives and motivates you; what you enjoy.  However, the first question you have to ask yourself, when it comes to career change or job search, is ‘What are your Transferable Skills?’ – and this is often the point where everything grinds to a halt because its just so alien for most of us to get out of the busy ‘doing’ and stop to consider honestly how we do what we do, or which actions demonstrate our true skills.

Even though many clients find this a difficult question and are tempted to go over it in a cursory fashion, or ‘that will do’ attitude, there are so many benefits to taking the time to become comfortable and clear on your skills that the pain is more than worth it.

When you know and own your skills:

  •           You feel confident in your capabilities and value to others
  •           You make career great decisions about your next job or career change
  •          Interviews become natural as you believe your own narrative and can ‘sell’ your worth with authentic conviction.

You should be asking yourself the basics:

  • What do I love doing (both in my personal life and at work)?
  • What am I doing when I lose track of time?
  • What am I proud of having accomplished?
  • What do my colleagues/managers/friends/parents think I’m good at?
  • What are the consistent comments on my appraisals?
  • What qualifications/training/knowledge do I have?

Whilst asking yourself these questions in isolation can only be helpful it is far more beneficial to actually talk with people.

  •  Firstly, by articulating some of these thought out loud can come as a revelation and you really hear what you are saying about yourself (which is often negative) for the first time.  This is a great start because you come to understand how you are undermining your confidence at a subconscious level
  • Secondly, when listening other people talk about some of your great qualities it is often difficult to ‘hear’ at first, generating discomfort and a response of denial.  However, if you can practice using curiosity and asking why they think this about you, it is far easier to accept as a demonstrable truth or to see that the difference is simply a matter of linguistics.  For example an empathic person may not be at ease the description of ‘challenging’ but identify far more readily with something like ‘though provoking or constructive’ – it is just a matter of perspective and how you see yourself. This  is important because you must like what you see about yourself – and if you don’t this this is probably the first discussion you might want to have with a coach.
  • Lastly – you will notice that one of the first questions I suggested you ask yourself is ‘what do you enjoy doing?’.  This is likely to bring up activities that help you identify your core skill – the thing that comes so naturally to you it is like breathing – after all we don’t usually enjoy things we are not good at!.  BUT,  simply because it is so easy you are very likely to completely ignore it when marketing yourself saying something like ‘its so easy everyone must be good at it’ and thinking it is of no value in this context.
  • Wrong! – you want to do something you enjoy and are good at.  This means that whilst what you do might be quite easy, when you add effort to the mix there is practically no limit to what you can achieve.

I can remember responding to the a comment at school (maybe in a report or careers discussion or something) that I should be making my living talking to and supporting people with  ‘that’s far too easy – what idiot would pay be for doing that?!’, and I went on to plough through a job I was not suited to for the next 20 years before sense kicked in.

So do yourself a favour and work on your skills before you do anything else. 

Changing Career

Feel unhappy, stuck, frustrated or just out of place with no sense of joy or satisfaction but no idea what you want to do or how to go about it? You may have had enough and have day dreams of doing something else but don't know how to turn this into reality. The knowledge that you want to change careers doesn't make it easy, its finding the real choices you have that can make the desire a reality

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