Strategies To Become A More Coachable Employee

We all know that managers need to coach their employees, but how can employees become more coachable? Effective leaders are more like coaches, leading their employees toward career development, ultimately, greater job satisfaction. While managers help lead their employees to accomplish their goals, coachable employees are part of this vital part of the equation.

“Coaching must be focused on what the person being coached wants to achieve,”. “It can be a mutual goal that benefits both the leader and the employee, but leaders need to be careful. The problem is if the employee isn’t ready to be coached. That could be due to doubt or fear about the outcome.”

Whether it’s from a professional coach, a manager, or a peer, being coachable is a crucial aspect of continuing to grow as a professional at any level. To be coachable, you need to have three critical traits:

Be open to exploring beyond the surface

Be open to being coached. A willingness to try is crucial to have a working relationship with your manager to succeed. It’s important to be willing to explore what you don’t know so your manager can help you achieve your goals and hone your professional skills

A passionate desire to pursue and fulfill your professional goals

Although you might need a willingness to try, you must desire to sustain the relationship over time with your manager to reach success and build on professional progress. Possessing a passionate desire to pursue and fulfill your professional goals will help sustain your willingness even when you encounter obstacles and failures.

Courage to be vulnerable

Achieving goals takes courage, even if you are willing and have the desire. To be coachable, you must dig deeper and uncover the root of your fears and the cause of what stops you. When you’re able to explore each fear, you’ll often find that they’re baseless.

While all three traits are necessary, a lack of courage is often the stopper for becoming coachable. Even if you’re willing and have a desire, when it comes down to the deciding moment, fear may stop you from following through.

Strong Signs You’re Not Taking Your Career Growth Seriously

Career growth may seem like a controversial topic right now. Can you really have career growth in the middle of a global pandemic? Some people might roll their eyes at the thought or brush it off because it seems impossible. But what if it’s not?

Whether you’ve been tossed into an unexpected job search or you’re secretly on the hunt for a new job, career growth should be your top priority. If you don’t make it a priority, you risk becoming stagnant, or worse, taking a step back in your career when it might not be necessary.

But, even if it is a priority, you might not be taking it as seriously as you think. Here are five subtle signs you might be holding yourself back from career growth.

You’re on cruise control or panic mode

This global pandemic has thrown tons of people into cruise control or panic mode. If you’re on cruise control, you’re probably telling yourself that now is not the time to make any sudden moves. Even though you’ve wanted to change jobs for a while now, you’ve likely convinced yourself that it’s best to keep your head down at work until the coast is clear. If you’re in panic mode, then you’re likely not thinking strategically about the next step in your career. You might be feeling like you have to take whatever you can get, without evaluating what you want or the various ways you can contribute to the next company.

Both cruise control and panic mode are harmful to your career growth. Cruise control might feel safer, but it’s keeping you stagnant. Operating in panic mode might be stopping you from seeing all the ways you could successfully pivot your career and could have you taking detours you might not have to take.

You don’t know what career growth you want

Career growth looks different for everyone, especially right now. Career growth could mean more mentorship, more money, more leadership opportunities, more training and development, more impact, new challenges, a new industry, a better work environment, the list goes on and on. You may not want all of those things at once. You may not be able to get every single one of those things right now. But, it’s important to recognize which of those things are most important for your personal career growth so that you can at least try to aim for them.

It’s like when you decide you want a specific car and all of a sudden you start seeing that car everywhere you go. But, if you never decided, you would’ve never noticed it passing you by. It’s the same way with career growth, if you don’t know what you want, you won’t have a clear focus moving forward and you’ll likely end up settling because you didn’t know what to pay attention to or ask for in your job search.

You’re dwelling on the wrong things

It’s too easy to think negatively right now. But when it comes to your career growth, especially landing a new job that moves your career forward, thinking negative is 100% guaranteed to keep you stuck and stagnant regardless of how nice it would be to land a new job you’ll love. If you’re constantly asking yourself, “What if I don’t get it?” instead of, “How can I increase my chances of getting it?” then you’re spending too much energy entertaining negative possibilities when you could be welcoming positive ones.

Instead of dwelling on the wrong thoughts and soaking up all the negative news, start paying attention to the things that are going right. Scroll down your LinkedIn feed and soak up the success stories of people celebrating accomplishments and starting new jobs right now, even if they are few and far between. Decide that it’s possible for you too. Attaining career growth is not just about doing the right things but thinking the right thoughts as well.

You’re relying on motivation

No matter how well our intentions are, motivation is like that flaky friend who says they’re going to show up to the party but rarely ever does. When you’re worried about still meeting your deadlines, not catching coronavirus and landing a new job, you need something stronger than motivation if you want to make career growth a priority. You need a plan. When you have a clear and strategic plan on how to land a new job that will offer you the career growth you want, you can rely on discipline and consistency rather than motivation.

You’re not strategic about getting support

You hear people say all the time, “network, network, network!” But, reaching out to strangers on LinkedIn expecting world-class advice and top-notch referrals without even building a genuine relationship or having a real conversation is not the way to go. Connecting with other professionals, and getting support from experts or career coaches, when done the right way, can be a catalyst for success. But if you have no clue how to do that, if you’re mass emailing people without any thoughtfulness if you think getting support from a career coach is a luxury and not a necessity when you know you need guidance, then you’re not taking your career growth seriously and you should consider changing your approach.

Hear me loud and clear: it is still completely possible to land a new job that moves your career forward, even right now. But it starts with you. If you know you’re guilty of one of these five things, that is good news! That means there is plenty of room for improvement and that you still have the power to move your career in a more satisfying direction.

How To Thrive In Your Career During A Pandemic

During times of uncertainty, it’s easy to think, “screw it.” The goals you had before — land a new job, get that promotion, secure a higher raise — seem distant, especially in the middle of an unforeseen pandemic. But the way I see it, you only have two options: wait around for things to get better and for something good to magically happen to you or do what you can to make good things happen for you? If you’re a high-achiever who prefers the second option, here are five power skills you should master to keep your career moving forward no matter what:

Aim for Excellence

The good news is that if you’re an ambitious professional, you’ve probably been aiming for this since day one of your first job. We’re taught to work hard, over-deliver, rinse, and repeat. But if you’re not careful, you can get in the trap of saying yes to everything and committing to too many things. This can result in you working hard on busy work and failing to exude excellence when it truly matters. Or worse, if you’re a perfectionist, you can get caught in the procrastination trap, which eats away at your time and creates a never-ending to-do list that can impact your performance.

All work is not created equal, and knowing the difference is key to consistently delivering excellent work. Patty Azzarello sums this up well in her book, Rise: 3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, and Liking Your Life. She says, “You have to find a way to deal with all of the work, not do all of the work.” To create a track record of excellence, you can’t be afraid to set priorities and work strategically.

Advocate for Yourself 

The biggest lie we were told growing up is “put your head down and do the work.” The idea is that if you just grind, hustle and do your best work, someone will eventually notice you and give you everything your heart desires without you having to ask for it. I believed that lie, and the only thing I got from following that advice was bread crumbs.

If you want to have a successful career no matter what, you need to learn how to speak up. No one will ever be more invested in your career growth than you, and it’s your duty to show others why you’re ready for it. Regardless, if you want to grow within your company or desire to land a new job elsewhere, don’t expect your track record to speak for you. Remind people of your track record. Let go of the idea that you’ll seem arrogant or obnoxious if you advocate for yourself. The sooner you learn to speak up for yourself gracefully and confidently, the better your career will be because of it.

Build Genuine Connections

I have a confession: early in my career, I thought I could do the whole “no new friends” thing. I was wrong. No new friends will lead you to no new opportunities. To succeed in your career, regardless of what life throws your way, you must be willing to build genuine connections in and out of season. Yes, that means when you need a new job and when you don’t. Doing excellent work and advocating for yourself are essential skills, but you also need allies in rooms you may not have had a chance to enter yet.

At work, it can be easy to build relationships with your colleagues on the same level as you but don’t limit yourself. Seek out relationships with colleagues on different teams and senior leaders and executives you may not interact with often. But don’t just stop there. Look around at people at other companies and in other industries that inspire you and cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with them, too. When done the right way, these relationships can dramatically impact the trajectory of your career.

Adopt a “How can I help?” Mindset

It sounds simple, but most people don’t always think this way. But, when you’re so focused on yourself, you may miss moments to be present, memorable, and invaluable to others. Adopting a “How can I help?” mindset will also help you boost your confidence in work meetings, job interviews, and other situations that may typically feel nerve-racking or intimidating. If you’re constantly thinking about how you can help someone else, you’ll pay more attention to their challenges, and you’ll increase your chances of building a reputation as a problem solver.

Please note, you do not need to be a people-pleaser to achieve this; boundaries are critical. However, in moments when you desire to make a great impression, you can quiet a lot of noise in your head if you switch your focus. Practice better understanding the other person, listening, and considering how you can help them move forward, even if they happen to be ahead of you in their career.

Cultivate Your Growth Zone

If you master the other four skills, you’ll find that your career will reach new heights in due time. However, I’ve seen so many high-achievers hit ceilings in their careers because they stay in their comfort zones for more time than they should.

No matter how far along you get in your career, if you want to keep moving forward no matter the circumstances, you have to always be willing to be a student, be uncomfortable, and ask for help. If you find that you’re not learning or feeling uncomfortable in some area, then you’re probably not being as challenged as you could be in your career. On top of that, success leaves clues, so if you’re not willing to ask for help to get to the next level of your career, you’re likely making the journey much harder than necessary. Your growth zone is where the magic happens, and cultivating your growth zone is critical if you want to keep rising in your career.

Just like life, our careers are full of curveballs. But, if you’re willing to aim for excellence, advocate for yourself, build genuine connections, adopt a “How can I help?” mindset, and cultivate your growth zone, you’ll always be able to bounce back and move forward no matter what comes your way.