Now. I know when we work in the ‘helping professions’ there can be an expectation that the MAIN reason we do things is for the warm fuzzy feelings of knowing we’ve helped someone along.
But after 15 years working in my last profession (what? yes, I had another career until quite recently. More about that over here) I learnt the hard way that doing things just because you think they are important and someone should be doing it is not a recipe for long term career satisfaction. You also need to do things that play to your strengths.
And when I say strengths, I don’t mean just mean skills, or ‘anything you do well’. I mean more specifically your FAVOURITE skills.
Using your favourite skills, the ones that are FUN to use, the ones that come almost ‘naturally’ to you, the ones that you barely feel like you even have because they are so familiar and come so easily. Using those skills, A LOT, is a key part of job satisfaction – well I reckon it is anyway.
And to tailor our work to our favourite skills, we need to get pretty good at spotting when we are ‘in flow’, when work is satisfying, and we we feel like we can get lots done pretty easily. We need to notice these moments and observe what exactly we are doing when we feel like that – and then we need to structure our work so we get more of that. I reckon.
Here is why I love coaching:
- It is left and right brained* – It is highly creative but a sharp eye for analysis can also be a bonus – I love this! I love to flit between the two.
- It is incredibly client centred as you enter the world of your client to understand its landscape and find ways to help them where they are. What fun! I love seeing different world views up close, and figuring out what the beliefs are that are creating barriers to movement.
- It is playful. Without enthusiasm and a light touch coaching just creates a list of things to do. With playfulness and enthusiasm it helps create a sense of possibility, energy and urgency. I love playfulness!
- It is incredibly diverse – you get to learn about the world, different professions, locations, different life experiences. Each client brings their own universe and I am lucky enough to be learning as we speak.
- It is about feelings – if you ignore the feelings attached to people’s dreams and actions you miss the point. I am not scared of feelings and I’m happy to make space for the tough ones.
- It is all about support – I think the world is happier place when we have allies and champions and helpers and encouragers on our side. It makes me happy to know my client isn’t having to face things alone.
- It requires improvisation – some coaches use a fixed script or set of steps, I plan each session to meet the unique situation of the client – and half the time end up improvising and creating something new in session. I feel comfortable doing that and it brings me such joy to be relaxed enough to change direction, trust my gut and ‘dance’ with what is unfolding.
All of this helps me understand myself better as someone who enjoys thinking, enjoys learning, enjoys creating support structures and enjoys authentic, deep connection.
What do you love about what you do?
What does it tell you about what your favourite skills are?
How could you spend more time putting your favourite skills to work?
*Look I don’t want to get into this but there is a lot of recent research that says left and right brain are not as separate and distinct in their function as people have believed. So here I’m just using it as a metaphor but noting that it’s probably outdated terminology.