If I were to ask what your talents, passions and values have in common, what would you say?
Often the responses I receive to this question show that little thought has been devoted to raising mindfulness of these areas, let alone to understanding their connection.
Yet based upon my experience as a professional Career and Transitions Coach, this is where I believe the real essence is to be found. With this holistic lens in place to support my clients, raising awareness to co-create a portrait of the whole person becomes a natural outcome. And once there is clarity in these three areas, guideposts inevitably fall into place for the client to move forward on their own unique path.
THE COACHING PROCESS
The coaching process is an advice-free zone, one where the coach asks powerful questions enabling the client to go deeper into their own resources. Unlike in a therapeutic or counselling model, the coach’s role is to provide the structure for this process and to remain a partner whose job is to listen objectively. So just like the coach driver in the olden days who drove a horse and carriage, the coach must ensure that the customer gets safely from their current location to their final destination. Nowadays we can translate that into having a GPS; one has to know point A and point B in order to generate a variety of possible itineraries to choose from! When the final destination remains unclear, clarifying the questions of passions (where would you like to go and what excites you about that?); talents (what will you be able to do and contribute in that destination?); and values (why is that important to you?) becomes imperative. And as soon as these three areas are aligned, a complete energy shift occurs. Instead of simply moving away from the current position, moving towards the new destination becomes a dynamic and highly motivational journey …
YOUR CAREER IN THE BIG PICTURE
In order to set the stage clearly, I often begin my work with clients by introducing the vision of life as a wheel. Like a large pie, a full life is made up of many individual slices of pie. And while work is typically one of the largest slices of this pie, it is not the only one! Therefore, our process aims to shine light on all of the diverse yet important aspects of the individual’s life. In addition to professional work life, other pie slices may include: family; social life; physical health; finances; spiritual life; personal growth and learning; volunteer work; leisure, fun, joy; etc. Just as each client is different, their wheel of life is a unique reflection of their passions, talents and values. By structuring conversations around where these subjects overlap, rich material emerges to provide information and steps pointing to the optimal destination. In addition, if one area doesn’t meet all of the client’s desired criteria, they are empowered to see what other area could provide compensation – for instance, balancing an largely sedentary work environment by walking to work or going to the gym during lunch hour.
This career coaching process resembles what Dr. Martin Seligman (fondly known as the grandfather of Positive Psychology), defines as prospection. Humans are prospectors who are constantly generating and evaluating mental representations of possible futures. As we clarify and integrate our talents, passions and values to evaluate possible best futures, we become able to truly mine for gold!