The Pathway to Reaching Your Career Goals
In working through a goalsetting process with many clients over the years, I have frequently heard all of the above and many variations of career goals:
“My boss is retiring in six months and I want to take over her job.”
“My goal is to be a vice president by the time I’m 40.”
“I would really like to become a shift supervisor.”
“I am determined to be promoted to a management position within the next two years.”
In the early days of my coaching career, the majority of my clients worked for companies in which their bosses felt they would benefit from coaching, and hired me to work with them in advancing their careers.
The role of a coach is to assist their client in transitioning from where they are to where they want to be and many coaching relationships, often begin by helping the client identify and articulate what it is they want.
Many times what the clients tell me they wanted was to advance to the next rung on the corporate ladder, and then the next, and then the next.
Almost always, they would express surprise when I shared with them that their stated goal was not the one to which they should be directing their energy and focus.
I believe setting goals is a crucial and essential part of our growth objectives. A well thought out plan is clearly going to be far easier to execute than one that does not exist.
Not only do the career goals we set need to be attainable, there is one other criterion that must be present for us to succeed: attainment of the goal must be within our control. This is true not only for career goals, but for any goal we undertake.
It takes action, often tremendous action, to achieve an objective, and it is both difficult and disheartening to begin working towards a goal knowing our success lies in the hands of others.
And that is precisely the case with each of the above example goals. Unless you are the person who makes the final decision and chooses the successful applicant for a work position, the success of your mission – your fate – regardless of how great your effort may have been, will always be determined by someone else.
If you have irrepressible fire in your belly to advance your career, get promoted, move into your boss’s office, then there really is only one goal you should set for yourself, plan extensively and then execute with ruthless efficiency.
And there are steps to take even before you begin developing your plan.
Investigate thoroughly the expectations your company has of the deliverables in the position to be promoted to.
Speak to others, peers, bosses and direct reports and conscientiously elicit their feedback of you as a person, colleague, boss and results deliverer.
Learn and Gather Info
Learn from them, gather as much information as you can, ask what you need to do to get better, to be viewed more favorably, to deliver greater results.
Once you have gathered as much information as possible, set and plan your goal.
Remember, life isn’t always fair, and the prized promotion doesn’t always go to the best candidate. Sometimes the successful applicant’s strongest suit is not their skill, knowledge or experience but rather their relationship to the decision-maker(s).
With this in mind, and with the fire in your belly raging, the goal to strive for is one that you can absolutely be assured of achieving if you execute zealously on your plan, regardless of who wins the corner office.
It is this: My goal is to mould myself into the best, most eligible and most desirable candidate I am capable of being.
By achieving this you can hold your head up high whether you get the promotion, or not.
It’s the proven strategy of all winners.
Till we read again.