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How To Become Your Own Career Coach

It might surprise you to hear this, but your true work skills are not necessarily what you think. For example, I am a creative person, but at work I tend to do better in managerial roles that focus on team development and process optimization.

The dominant methods of career skills assessment are limited: 

* Personality tests force-fit you into a pre-existing mold. They can be helpful, but you are not a sugar cookie. You need something tailored to you. 

* Career coaches are expensive—and subjective. They do customize their advice according to your unique needs, but the price is often high—and nobody knows you as well as you do.

You can assess your own work strengths independently and accurately, by keeping a short-term personal diary. Here’s how:

1. Start a document.

2. Note your achievements regularly over 3-6 months.

3. For each achievement, mark it as belonging to a particular skill. (Pick one.)

4. Count how many times you exhibited each skill.

5. Group related skills into clusters.

Sample Entries:

* March 1: Wrote fact sheet explaining new program. (Skill: Communication)

* March 2: Met with new team member to discuss their new role and provide some general tips regarding getting acclimated. (Skill: Coaching)

* March 3: Suggested a method of addressing multiple inquiries on the same topic. (Skill: Process Optimization)

* March 4: Tried out a new calendar management app (Skill: Technology Testing)


After 3-6 months, count the number of times you identified yourself as having a certain skill, and pick up the top handful. 

For example, your four most-frequently mentioned abilities might look something like this: 

* Communication (50)

* Coaching (35)

* Process Mapping (20)

* Technology Testing (10)

Then, group those skills into clusters. For example: 

* Communication + Coaching = Organizational Consulting

* Process Optimization + Technology Testing = Solution Development


With a profile like the above, you will likely succeed in roles where you provide organizational consulting with a focus on technology solutions.

The job does not have to be called “organizational consulting with a focus on technology solutions,” of course, but you can usually tell from the list of desired skills and experience whether the fit is optimal.

The point is that you can have confidence in your ability to make the potential job work, because you’ve already established a real-world track record—not just with a single talent, but rather by deploying set of abilities harnessed in combination with one another.


By Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain. Free photo via Pexels.


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