What Comes Next vs. Where to Next?

There is a subtle difference between these two questions as one speaks to a passive vs. active approach to managing your career and your life. Are you the type of person who is more comfortable keeping your head down, doing your work, sacrificing your health and relationships with the goal of being recognized in terms of a promotion, a recruiter finding you in a sea of qualified candidates, or doubling the sales of your business? Or do you believe that you make your luck by exploring the possible, navigating uncertainty as you grapple with the unfamiliar, and charge forward into new frontiers for personal growth and development?

Shifting my thinking

I have something to admit.  As 2019 ended and 2020 began, I realized that I needed to shift my perspective and move beyond the first question and focus on where I wanted to go next. My goal was not so much to continue working but rather to start making a contribution. What was next for me was to follow my passion to help others achieve success professionally and personally..

I have worked incredibly hard, achieved many things, learned a great deal and my goal going forward is to pay it forward. Helping others achieve their best has always been part of my DNA. I have been fortunate to work in environments where coaching and mentoring were available and encouraged. I understand the value of coaching and I am committed to making it accessible

In March of 2021, as the pandemic was unfolding, I made my decision on where to go next. I committed to developing my credentials skills and competencies as a coach and obtaining professional certification from the International Coaching Federation. I researched, examined the requirements, looked at training programs, sought advice from friends that entered the field, and yes worked with some fantastic coaches as part of the journey.

Unpaved roads and rugged terrain

I began the process in late June, after Covid related delays. I received my ACC certification from the ICF in late March of this year. It was an intense nine months, as I explored what it means to be a coach. One of the first things you learn as a coach is the difference between coaching and consulting. In a nutshell, in coaching, the client is the expert. Coaches work with clients through a process of self-discovery, with the clients deciding their way forward.  In consulting, I was the expert, and my clients expected me to provide the answers—quite a switch in my thinking and a shift in how I worked with others.

My certification process was a coaching experience within a coaching experience. I used the process to define what success looked like and leveraged my opportunities to work with people in my cohort group to deal with obstacles along the way. I worked with my master coach to develop an authentic style that incorporated all of the competencies I needed to demonstrate in my recording that accompanied my application. This, to me, was the bumpiest and uncomfortable part of the ride. I had a hard time wrapping my head around being evaluated subjectively against a set of criteria.

Cleaned up nicely

My journey over the past 9 plus months has been challenging but the rewards have been amazing. I have lived through my journey from the point of view of the “coachee.” I was challenged by my mentor coach and cohorts to develop my skills, learn by doing, and allow myself to identify and deal with the unknowns.  

People sometimes do not want to hear it but change can get messy. The key is to be aware of the terrain going in and plan for how you are going to deal with it.  My experience has left me even more passionate about Where I am going.  I am my own case study in the power of coaching. I trusted the process, did the work, and achieved my desired outcome. I have cleaned up nicely and have positioned myself for the next of my choosing.

So what is next for you?

What’s your journey like right now? Are you moving on to the next something and feeling discomfort, but don’t necessarily know why? Perhaps I can help.

If you are a professional who has always been defined by your work, maybe you have begun to feel burnt out, tired, and perhaps even beaten up? You may even be approaching an unfamiliar crossroad. You know you need to turn in a new direction to have greater career fulfillment, to reduce your stress and live a happier and more balanced life, but you are not sure which road to take next. 

If any of this resonates with you, I can help. I have been there too. I’d be happy to chat and impart any wisdom I can to help. Feel free to contact me at alec@aronscoaching.com

 

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