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We speak with many senior professionals who are in the process of searching for a new role; we are often their chosen executive career coaching provider. Senior executives’ motivations for working with us are usually around speeding up their job search, gaining traction with job interviews, and gaining some support with accessing the notorious hidden jobs market.
All of that we can do, and do it well.
However, the more we work with people, the more we come to understand that there are many positive spin offs to the coaching process, albeit that its initial aim is highly targeted toward a tangible result in the short term.
An example of this happened recently when one of our coaches reported back to me that they were making great headway with a specific client, and that our client had expressed some interesting ‘side effects’ from the intention core driver of the engagement. The fact that he had gone into some degree of explanation about this demonstrates the positive impact it had on him.
Many executive roles are, when all is said and done, quite isolated in the ‘day to day’; silos are commonplace in certain disciplines, and at the extremes of c-level activity there is little opportunity to think and reflect about your actions, or how you might improve relationships or processes.
The ongoing demands of the day to day role (or the job search activities if the last role was a few months ago) can mean that taking time to step back and examine your own professional practice can take a back seat. Our coaching clients have found that engaging in what at the outset has a pure objective of landing their next role, can morph into a wider learning piece.
See the Bigger Picture
We often talk to senior level candidates about career planning in respect of stepping back, taking a ‘clean sheet of paper’ approach, to ensure the big picture of all the possibilities are explored. While in most cases it won’t take long to arrive at the best ‘next step’ option, this activity can also help in the workplace.
As leaders, we know this is good practice, but doesn’t it slip off the radar at times? This has often been cited as an area where working on career next steps directly impacts on current professional practice.
The Ongoing Value of Nurturing Networks
Through experience we have found time and time again that not only is it a very good idea to be an avid networker during your job search, but on an ongoing basis once you have landed your next executive leadership role. Our client Mike Leach learned this during our engagement. He said that focusing on building professional relationships with the people he had worked with before, as well as making new contacts through strategic networking was key.
He also learned to always remember that he was building relationships where trust has to be earned and so decided not to be too relaxed with new contacts & old, yet be open to express his thoughts and values as this is of greater importance as a leader. Right there, that’s a great piece of learning.
Clarity = Career Progression
Another great point made to me via one of our career coaches recently was concerning a client they were working with who was in a current role while job searching.
The client had said that personal branding ‘musts’ such as elevator pitches flowed into her daily work life more than she had expected. She found that her presentations and one to one interactions with senior peers as well as direct reports were more focused and where necessary, succinct. This directly impacted on her own performance and leadership capabilities.
She also believes that this part of her job search journey will directly impact on her leadership growth in future roles.
If I might be allowed the self-indulgence of quoting my own LinkedIn profile in the above sub-heading, this sums up the unexpected benefits of engaging incareer coaching. It can benefit you not only to plan your next career step, whether you’re currently in a role, or otherwise, but to improve and enhance your leadership via increased self-awareness and clarity of who you really are.
New mind sets can be called for, new focuses learned, and all of this helps shape you as a leader of the future; one of the digital age, rather than the industrial age.