How to move to the next level in your career

How to move to the next level in your career

Everyone acknowledges the role of the coach in sports. Coaches provide the guidance, support and feedback necessary to enable the athlete to get better. Coaches are commonplace in sports, but not in life. Not many people can point to a competent coach in their workplace that has helped them to get better. Instead, in the workplace, people often talk about mentors, yet those roles are quite a bit different.

I am working with a few people in an informal coaching role, to provide support and guidance for these individuals to move forward in their careers. The process takes a few hours to go through and provides some breakthrough moments. The critical element is identifying what skills a person has at present and what skills do they need to develop for them to be successful in a future role.

Case study job description

Step 1

Identify what possible roles could be the next step in your career. Seek and find a variety of job descriptions that match with the position, it could be one role, or it could be several options. Sometimes the person is not clear on what role they wish to move into or could do. In that event, looking at their current job description is a possible preliminary step. An example of this, a teacher at some point in their career who wishes to be a coordinator. They seek a variety of coordinator positions and reach out into their network to find job descriptions of people they know that are doing those jobs. So step 1 is to gather and collect job descriptions for current and future roles.

Step 2

Analyze the job descriptions for all the skills that are present in the job description. On post-it-notes, write down the skills that are present. In many instances, it requires some speculation as to what skills are present or needed to fulfill the line item in the job description. There are some core skills, though, that any person in virtually any job could develop to improve themselves.

Core skills: touch typing – anyone that can’t touch type, needs to learn this. It doesn’t take long and lots of free resources online. software: learn how to properly use, a word processor, spreadsheet software and any other software your organization uses. Learn how to utilize cloud storage and productivity and note-taking software that synch across your devices like Evernote. Utilizing free tutorials on youtube or paid premium courses on udemy can help you by learning the features, saving time.

Communication: Take a course on effective workplace communication. Presentation skills: Learn how to create and present compelling presentations. Personal management: Learn David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) Methodology and follow it.

Based on the needs of the individual, those core skills can change and expand or shrink depending on what role they are seeking. It is essential to have the desire to get good at your job and recognize what skills are needed to be useful in that role.

After we identify core skills, then we continue to move on to putting additional skills on the post-it notes.

Case study: MYP Job posting: Line item: ensuring the consistency and development of unit planners in each department.

Skills: unit planning, evaluating unit planners, communication, planning and scheduling, collaborative planning meetings, documentation.

So to match with this objective, the person needs to be good at planning units, they need to understand the requirements of each subject, they need to be clear on what the standards are and the expectations they have for each. They need to have a timeline for unit completion and unit review. They need to communicate this clearly to all stakeholders, and then they need a system and process to achieve this with evidence in place.

We continue this process for every line item in the job description, thinking about each objective. Putting an open plan to achieve that, thinking about what skills are needed, and evidence available to demonstrate completion of the task.

Step 3

Organize the post-it-notes into categories. Here is the sorting stage where we make sense of all of the various skills laid out. The ordering is necessary to find patterns and themes that emerge and to identify what skills are present.

Step 4

Further, sort the skills into two categories. Things I already know how to do, but can improve, and skills I don’t have yet. Sorting is useful in identifying strengths and weaknesses in terms of their ability to excel in that job.

Step 5

Put together an Action plan using the following column headers: Objective, Actions, and achievement date. Others needed where necessary, costs, evidence of achievement.

We may define the headers like this; The Objective is the goal or the target, that action is what you need to do to achieve it, the date needs to be specific and can’t be “in progress” or something like that. Other people are optional, but it is sometimes useful, and in many cases, some actions need someone’s help. Costs are self-explanatory could be nothing or may require an outlay, and evidence of achievement could be a product or an outcome.

The action plan needs to be achievable, so best to have 3 to 5 objectives and keep a standing item on the action plan of the review skills list. In your action plan, have a balance of skills you have and the skills you need to acquire.

Step 6

Implement the action plan. Ensure you have some accountability system or partner to keep you “honest” in the achievement of your action plan.

Further Reading and references:

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