Is it Time to Hire a Career Coach if You Want to Get Ahead?

Are you feeling frustrated in your job? Do you find yourself feeling dread before the work-week begins? Have you found yourself passed over for a promotion or good projects and not sure of how to get noticed? Do you want to just feel happier in your job and your career? Are you tired of the struggles? If so, then it sounds like the perfect time to hire a coach who can help you along this journey.

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A Career Coach is someone who is knowledgeable in coaching techniques, as well as industry standards, and who can help you uncover the answers you seek; help you formulate specific goals, plans and strategies to go after what you want; and then hold you accountable for the actions you set until you reach them. Often, we can’t always see the options or possibilities in front of us, nor can we see what might be blocking us which hold us back. A Coach can.

Getting to the root of a problem is a critical component to solve any problem, which includes any frustration with your career. Feeling frustrated might mean that you’re bored with the tasks you do, that you are not aligning with the culture – or the people- in the organization, or that you don’t feel valued or recognized by your leader. Feelings of dread can lead to not feeling you have options of what to do or where to go, are not finding passion for the job any longer, or it might mean you need to have a conversation with your boss but hold yourself back out of some type of fear.

The point is, until you get to the root of the issue you won’t move forward to find your own happiness. Having an outside perspective, along with some deep questioning to get into your ‘stuff’ will bring out the answers you seek and the clarity you need. You are the one who leads coaching sessions by setting the agenda. It all starts and ends with you; but I think you will leave feeling more focused on your path, have specific plans and strategies in place as well as actionable steps that will put you in control of you and your career. I encourage you to reach out and have a conversation with a Coach to see what they can offer and if you and they are a ‘fit.’ Usually, these discovery sessions are free or low cost so you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain, which includes career fulfillment. (If you’re ready, reach out as I’d love to help you on the journey – http://www.cyscoaching.com)

How Important are Values within an Organizational Setting?

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If you ever find yourself feeling out-of-line with your job and/or workplace, you might want to check yourself and see where you stand on your values as this is one of the biggest problems I see when I hear discontent in the workplace. When values clash, problems result.

Values can be defined as “important and lasting beliefs one has about what is good or desirable, and what is not; values have a major influence on a person’s attitudes and behaviors and serve as a guideline in situations.” (businessdictionary.com) Often, our beliefs are developed early and usually are those we take on from our family of origin; they can come from school or associations/clubs/groups we belong to.

The bottom-line is that beliefs are hard to change, so values lie deep and can cause friction or discontent when dealing with those who don’t share the same ones. In the workplace, values are often the mission statement and what the company stands for; however, leaders have their own as they manage the company or department which can lead to conflict. Coworkers and customers also have their own which can lead, again, to misalignment of some type.

The best way to deal with any misalignments that might lead to a level of unhappiness is to be sure you are aware of your values and how strong they are. Some values may be more strongly felt than others; for example, if your value is hard work and you see a coworker not doing their share then frustration will occur. If you’re not sure about your values, here are some samples to get you thinking deeper:

  • Acceptance                       Determination                    Passion
  • Abundance                        Directness                        Patience
  • Accountability                    Empowerment                   Productivity
  • Accuracy                           Enthusiasm                      Recognition
  • Affection                            Excellence                       Respect
  • Ambition                            Fairness                           Romance
  • Awareness                         Flexibility                          Safety
  • Balance                             Forgiveness                       Service
  • Being the best                    Fun                                  Strength
  • Belonging                           Happiness                         Tact
  • Bravery                              Harmony                           Thankfulness
  • Capability                           Humor                              Trust
  • Caring                                Independence                    Timeliness
  • Calm                                  Integrity                            Understanding
  • Competence                       Kindness                            Wealth
  • Competition                        Love
  • Cooperation                        Loyalty

This is just a partial list but I’m sure this will give you an idea for you to check what your values are and how they may e leading to not just job unhappiness but to any and all relationships you have. Knowing this will definitely help to change your current status as well as ensure you find a company who ‘fits’ as you are in your job search. I encourage you to spend time uncovering your values and to look at situations that have been conflicted, even within yourself, to see when you might not have been honoring them. When you are aware and live by them, you will have career happiness. I’d love to see your thoughts on this!

Do You Know How You’re Perceived by Others?

I just started a business branding coaching program (yes, coaches need a coach) and I had to step outside of my comfort zone a bit for an exercise I was given immediately; no thinking, no delaying – just acting. The exercise was to write a post on Facebook to ask what others would describe me in one word. I have done this exercise in a small scale with 5-7 people but not at such a huge one as the world-wide web. I must say that almost immediately I had very positive comments coming through and that still are. It really shed some light on how I’m perceived by others which will add to my brand and attracting the right people to me.

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Knowing how others see you is important to know for your career; we all tend to have a different view of how we are perceived and known by others which is not always apparent, and we can usually think it’s in a negative way. We then tend to act on how we think we are perceived: if it’s positive, then we will act bolder and more confident, but if we think it’s of a negative nature then we will tend to hide, being more mild and meek, not speaking up, or acting as if you lack confidence.

Perceptions are everything, whether right or wrong; but this is how people will initially view you and see if they want to interact with you more; if you act closed off, it’s not a good indication that people will want to approach you or continue a conversation; being too talkative or high energy can put off someone who is quieter in nature; if you have a loud voice someone might think you are being aggressive. The result? You might not get the job, or get passed over for that promotion, or don’t secure that potential new client.

Whether good or bad, knowing how others perceive you can help you to amend any behaviors that may not come across as open or welcoming which can then lead to more positive interactions, and can increase your self-confidence and enhancing your good qualities and getting you noticed in a good light.

I challenge you to go post the question on Facebook, or whatever social media platform you prefer, and ask the question to be described in one word; you also can go ask 10-20 people you know that question. Yes, it sounds scary but I bet you will also be pleasantly surprised by the positive comments you will hear as to what others think of you. Armed with this information, you can step into those shoes and be more of who you are. I’d love to hear your results and comments!

Friday Fun Facts: The 4th of July Holiday

4th of JulyAs we get ready to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, here are some facts you may not know:

    • The Declaration of Independence, signed in 1776, was meant to justify a revolt against the British, with a list of charges against the British king
    • The Fourth of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. It was initially adopted by Congress on July 2, 1776; it was revised into the current declaration two days later, July 4, 1776
    • The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men representing the 13 colonies. The moment marked the beginning of all-out war against the British, leading to the American Revolution which is said to have started in 1775. The Declaration was signed more than two years after Boston officials refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, fueling colonists to dump the tea into the harbor in what became the infamous Boston Tea Party
    • There were three U.S. presidents who died on July 4: two passed away within hours of each other on July 4, 1826 – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. while James Monroe passed away on July 4, 1831
    • The first Independence Day celebration occurred on July 8th, 1776. The Liberty Bell was sounded and the people of Philadelphia gathered to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence
    • The Fourth of July did not become a paid Federal holiday until 1941; from 1870 until that time, it was an unpaid Federal holiday
    • The first fireworks display took place in 1977 and the first barbeque took place in 1977 to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and breaking from British rule. Both are traditions that take place today.
 Wishing you a relaxing and safe holiday, spent in reflection of the freedoms we all enjoy in the U.S., and in gratitude for those who have fought for these freedoms. Happy Independence Day!

How to Deal When You Feel Like Throwing In the Towel at Work

I received another question today from a potential career coaching client who stated “I give up, I can’t do this anymore – HELP!” I see this request often, which is sad to say. As much as we want to believe that things have improved, I would say they have not when we look at workplace unhappiness. As I’ve reported before, the levels of engagement have only risen 1% in three year (Gallop, 2015); while hiring has picked up and jobs are becoming more available, workplace behavior seems to have ‘stalled.’

towel

Some responsibility lies on employers while the other half lies on employees to monitor their own behaviors, to be more empathetic, and not come from an “I” framework at all times. Feeling as if you want to give up is not a fun space to be in and there are ways to effectively deal with the situation when you feel like throwing in the proverbial towel:

  • First off, do nothing right away. Making any types of decisions or taking actions when under stress and pressure can lead to them being irrational and could cause the situation to be worse
  • Next, breathe and deeply; this will help to calm both your mind and your body so now you can ..
  • Take stock of the situation, looking at it not just from your perspective but from those involved. This is not as difficult and, while we can’t know what is in someone else s head, we can look from an outsider’s viewpoint. You can take the slant as if you were being asked by a friend to give your opinion on the situation. Being fully aware of the events that occurred, and the parts each ‘actor’ played, helps to resolve the emotions that can get in the way.
  • Assess your emotions and how they may be leading you to feeling so defeated; look at what other situations you might be facing (i.e. sick parent, dog, child, etc). that might be heightening your emotions. I see people who are dealing with multiple issues, leaving them with little left to face their battles.
  • Mind-map options and solutions for dealing with what’s on your plate, giving each a priority listing for what needs to get done first, second, etc. Having adequate information is critical to making good decisions. Remember to keep breathing as you do this.
  • Practice self-care – do some form of exercise daily, meditate for two minutes, color, garden. journal, take time to do nothing; any and all, or more, will help you to have more energy, be happier, and take the control back in your life.

So remember when you feel your work has taken control over your life, and you want to ‘throw in the towel,’ that YOU are the one in control and not the other way around. Changing your attitude and actions can positively affect the situation; following the steps above can give you a variety of options (not often realized when under intense stress) to decide on how you want to handle your work and feel happier. Only you can decide on which path to follow.

Friday Fun Facts: Moving Up in Your Career

Whether you are a job seeker or are wanting to get ahead in the workplace, here are questions you should be asking:

  • Are there any new projects going on and how can I help with those?
  • What issues is the company, or my department, facing?
  • Are there work tasks that aren’t getting done that I can jump in and complete?
  • What solutions can I come up with that would help get the work done?
  • What problems might my boss be facing and how I can I support him/her?

As employers are looking for solutions to their work problems, being solution-focused is a key that will get you in the game!

Road Sign Oppertunities

Problems at Work? Your Face Might Be the Reason

Without fail, Julie (not her real name) makes sure she gets to work on time and is ready to get going on her job tasks. If you were to ask Julie, she would tell you that she loves her job and loves focusing on ensuring her customers are satisfied. However, Julie will also tell you that her work and ethics are not recognized by either her supervisor or her coworkers; in fact, she feels that she is often ignored or criticized by them. Julie is confused and frustrated. She also feels her job is in jeopardy.

Julie is right. But it’s not for the reasons she may believe. It really comes down to her face, particularly her facial expressions. For Julie, it’s her lack of expression that is putting people off. Julie has been told that she is ‘unapproachable’ and that she is not a ‘team player.’ This has led to problems at work for her that she does not know how to deal with. So Julie keeps to herself all day, focusing only on her work.

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Something Julie wants to consider is that her face is leading to her problems at work mainly because she is not being open and inviting in her facial expressions; everything today is how you make me feel. So if her coworkers don’t feel that Julie wants to interact and be a part of the team, or her boss feels she isn’t open to direction or is creating an adversarial workplace, Julie’s troubles will continue until she leaves, either by her own volition or not.

I have seen this over and over with really high-level performers who are having difficulty in getting hired, getting a promotion, or are now a target of criticism. Our facial expressions say so much without us even being aware of what we are conveying. Some people are very intent listeners while others need time to process what’s in front of them; some people fear others anger or criticism or may be having personal problems. These are parts of one’s personality and, while they may be difficult to change, the situation is not hopeless.

One step I encourage my clients to do is to become more aware of their own behaviors; asking friends or family members to observe how their expressions come across leads to that awareness and working to change any adverse behaviors. The act of awareness can help to slow down and think of how you can come across in a more open manner. Smiling is another step to take; practice smiling in a mirror, think of something funny or pleasant, or put a pencil in your mouth – all of these will lead to a smile and create that openness to draw others in.

Another way to turn this around is to have more interactions with your coworkers – ask about their weekend or their kids, have lunch with them, or ask their opinion on something. We all want to know we’re important so finding something interesting about your coworker makes them want to interact more and they think more highly of you. The  mood of the workplace lightens and it feels more cohesive. Soon, coworkers will seek you out in a positive way.

Julie began to follow these steps; one she implemented immediately was putting a smile on her face. She reported that she smiled at her boss, whom she said did not expect it from the look on his face, but that he later did smile back as he passed by her desk. Julie truly did smile now and she can begin to turn things around to her benefit.

So, if you’re having problems at work, take stock of how you’re coming across to others and follow Julie’s lead to turn your situation around starting today.

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