If you have clients who are hesitant about committing to a new career direction, there may be dozens of “roots” that are holding them back, from anger/sadness that an old job or industry is no longer a possibility, to analysis-paralysis, to questions of whether they’ll truly like the new work, to fear of making a major mis-step in their careers.
To focus today’s post, I’ve chosen this common roadblock:
Unsure of Ability to Be Competitive
With this roadblock comes fear of failure and embarrassment, or concerns about how hard they’ll have to work to be a viable candidate.
Here are some quick-tip coaching questions and strategies that will bring insight and action to dislodge that roadblock!
- Coach the client to get an estimate on his/her level of competence. If they’ve determined, “There are others more competent than I,” it may be true. In reality, there will always be someone better, and someone lesser, than each of us. Have them ask others, “In what percentile of competence might I fall?” If it’s the lowest quartile or lowest third, then you have two options: choose something else or beef up your competence.
- Get some honest appraisals from people they can trust (you, as coach, to begin with; alumni, colleagues in the target field, etc.). Ask them to tell the client where he’s strong, as well as where he’ll likely come up short in comparison to top candidates.
- Seek specific advice from your network on how to shore up the gaps.
- Consider shooting for a lower rung as an entry-point or considering a different company that isn’t as competitive to get in to.
- Look at different career targets altogether and explore the pros and cons of each of those.
- If your client has the abilities but confidence is lacking, look into how he can increase his confidence. “Where have you risen to the occasion and learned something new in the past? What did you do in those circumstances to make that happen? What did you teach yourself in that situation? How can you leverage that for the future?”
- Be curious: “What would showing up even 10% more confident look like?”
- Explore risks and worse-case scenario: “What’s at risk? What are you willing to risk? How can you minimize/manage that risk? What’s the worst that can happen? And then what’s the worst that can happen? And then what’s the worst that can happen? And then what? At what point in that series would you draw the line to prevent further consequences from happening?”
- Find a safe zone to test-market the new position, whether as a volunteer or job-shadowing.
Insights, followed by actions, will ALWAYS dislodge roadblocks. How about you? What would you suggest for insights or action steps for the roadblock of uncertainty about being competitive?
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