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Leading Your Career

Angie Morgan, February 10, 2020

Leading Your Career
“If you plan on being less than you’re capable of,
then you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.” – Abraham Maslow

Much of my coaching work focuses on ensuring professionals create a vision for themselves and honor that vision with action.  By action, I mean that they take the steps necessary to get them to where they see themselves in 3-5 years.

What I know for certain is that time passes.  (I know, I know … that’s obvious …  but wait for it.)

We can use our moments with intention and lead ourselves to the better we envision.  Or we can let life and the clock take over, which often means the dreams we have are never achieved.

It’s our nature to grow and progress.  But it’s nearly impossible to do so without a plan.

Possibly one of the most important things you can do is put a plan together for how you see your career evolving.  Why just career?  Well, in truth, you’re welcome to put a life plan together, too, though you’re likely at the stage in life where your career determines so much of your life.  (I hate saying that, but it’s true.  It should be the other way around, yet I know where many of us are: we’re in the thick of it and our career has so much influence over our days, weeks, etc.)

So, how do you create a career plan?  It’s important to begin seeing three essential qualities of a well-rounded career:

  • Job-Related Skills.  What are the job-specific skills you need to develop to remain valuable in your career?  Knowing these allows you to be relevant in your role.  If you work in IT, what technological skills do you need to develop?  If you work in manufacturing, what are new trends in automation?  If you work in HR, what are new innovations in training and development, or what types of benefits will be important in the future? 
  • Leadership Competencies.  What are the “soft skills” you need to develop to advance from your current role to one where there’s more responsibility?  Maybe you’re a great team member, but what skills do you need to develop to be a successful team lead?  Or, if you’re vying for an executive role, what skills will enable you to be a better enterprise leader, such as developing a strategic perspective or leading organizational change?
  • Experiences.  Look at your resume – what experiences are you lacking that will benefit you in the long run?  If you want to transition into sales, maybe you can take on a volunteer fundraising role in a community organization to develop that skill outside of work.  Or, if you want to be a vice president, maybe a role on a local board will help prepare you for that responsibility.  If you need to develop presentation skills, perhaps a local Toastmasters group could benefit you.

These three categories are interdependent.  As an example, if you have job-specific skills + relevant experiences, but haven’t developed your leadership skills, you might be missing out on trust building opportunities with your team.  Or, if you have been developing leadership competencies + experiences, but have neglected to stay current in your field, you might run the risk of becoming irrelevant.

A well-minded career takes time to nurture.  We’re here to help!  If you feel you could benefit from coaching and are interested in learning more about Lead Star’s coaching programs, let’s talk!  We offer individual programs, cohort-based coaching programs, as well as the Lead Star Network for women leaders.

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