Building a successful career isn’t something that happens by accident. It comes from a deliberate plan that includes goal setting, expert guidance, and continuing to improve your skills.
There may have been times in your career when you felt it was time to leave a position, but you stayed, finding many reasons to do so while not improving anything. Now it is time to take charge of your career development and personal growth.
Follow these seven steps for effective career development and a more fulfilling work life:
1. Create a career plan
Start with reflecting on what brings you meaning and purpose. Whom do you want to be? What impact would you like to have on the world? Once you have an idea of this, then reflect on where you want to be in your career a year from now. Five years? Defining your goals clearly, aligned with your bigger picture, will help you select the right way to move. Don’t be afraid to think big and dream! If you want to own a boutique hotel or be the regional manager of a major restaurant chain, write it down.
2. Find out your strengths and weaknesses and accept them
Write down the list of your strengths and points of improvement influencing your career development. Ask 3-5 people that you trust and respect what they see as your strengths. You may discover some new ones and identify patterns. This will help you to find out which skills to leverage and which ones need to be improved.
3. Continue to develop the skills needed for your career
Take upskilling courses and complete areas needing development to attain your goals in the context of your bigger picture (how is what I might learn going to serve/contribute to my future). Learning should be an ongoing process if you’re looking to advance your career.
4. Find a coach who can support you in moving towards your goals in the best possible way
Who can help you with any of steps 1, 2 or 3 if you are feeling stuck or need help figuring out where to start? Even if your manager plays an active role in helping you with career development, having a coach outside your direct line can further enhance your career progress. Their support and guidance can provide valuable perspective. Think of them as a source of insight and inspiration.
5. Take on more responsibility
Stretching yourself is the best way to prove that you’re ready for the next step in your career. This means stepping outside of your comfort zone and looking for more responsibility, as long as it’s aligned with your bigger picture. You can gain knowledge, hone your skills, and connect with people who might not otherwise cross your path.
6. Use the power of networking
The power of networking is immense and could lead to job opportunities or discussions that could take your career on an upward trajectory. Connecting with like-minded people, initiating interactions, and making yourself accessible will help nurture meaningful relationships and grow your network. But before you make a move, remember that networking should always be two-sided. Always have something on your plate to offer and think about how you might be willing to support or help others you meet. Here’s a helpful resource – networking cheat sheet – to help you get the most out of your networking.
7. Follow a personal development programme, such as our Coaching for Development course.
Coaching for Development (CfD) is a six-month intensive course in the application of the principles of an Integral approach to coaching. Participants develop a deeper awareness of their own development needs while learning how to evoke excellence in others. During the course, you will also receive support from your fellow students and mentor coaches as you engage in your assignments and coaching practice, thereby gaining clarity as to what direction you really want to take in your career and in life.
The steps above were developed in collaboration with Mandy Bronsil, founder of B-inspired.ch – take control of your career and thrive.