Many things contribute to your professional success, such as your education and experience, and your abilities to manage your time, prioritize tasks, make decisions, network, and build relationships, to name but a few.
However, one ability that’s all too often overlooked is the need to be assertive.
What is assertiveness?
How many times have you heard how important networking is for your career and professional development? I’ll bet plenty.
The problem is, most people who recommend you network say largely the same thing: “It works, just do it!”
But, what exactly is networking and why is it so beneficial and important?
Career counseling and coaching may be described as an ongoing professional relationship in which a career counselor or coach partners with clients in thought-provoking and creative processes that help motivate, empower, and inspire clients to successfully identify and work through career-related concerns and maximize their personal and professional potential.
Career counselors and coaches typically help people with personal career development, career exploration, and career change; but career coaching and counseling can encompass a wide array of professional activities. For example, career counselors may help adolescents explore career options, parents re-enter the workforce after taking time to raise a child, and experienced professionals contemplating a career change. Career counseling can also be offered in a variety of settings, including individually and in groups, and in person or virtually over the phone or the Internet.
Although almost all counselors and coaches use their communication skills, motivational abilities, and capacity to develop a solid, solution-focused rapport and relationship with their clients to help support and guide clients on the path to achieving their goals, many divide their expertise into specific categories. And knowing the types of career counseling and coaching that are available can help you make an informed decision about the type of counseling or coaching you need and can benefit from most…
When in need of a plumber or electrician, most people will call at least a couple of providers and ask a few questions, such as: How much will it cost? How long have you been in business? What hours are you available? What forms of payment do you accept? And so on… Some people will even check with a consumer advocacy website, such as that provided by the Better Business Bureau, to see if any complaints have been filed against the business.
When seeking a physician or other medical specialist, almost everyone will ask other professionals, family members and friends for referrals. Even then, more often that not, people will consult two or more medical specialists to make sure they’ve gotten that all important “second opinion.”
Unfortunately, when seeking a career counselor, all too often it seems people simply call the first counselor they find and schedule an appointment. No verifying credentials… No checking for complaints… No checking for experience… No questions…
With the new school year well underway, are you having second thoughts or regrets about your decision not to return to school after a number of years away? Have you let possible doubts and fears about being a re-entry student interfere with your desire for more education? Maybe you’re in that position and finding that now, as a result, you can’t work towards a new career passion or advance career-wise the way you’d hoped. Let’s look at the worries or concerns that may have led to your action – concerns that might, with some help, be eliminated, resulting in a favorable outcome. (For the purposes of this article, I’ll focus on situations where you’ve been out of school for five years or more.)
Let’s begin with some common concerns that non-traditional returning students may have…
Though we’re well into August now, and what’s considered the last month of summer – vacation season – some of you may still be planning an extended break from work. If you are one of those people with thoughts of vacationing still on your mind, I am reminded of a cartoon I saw awhile ago. It showed what at first glance looked like a couple enjoying a vacation on a restful beach. Upon a closer look, though, you could see that both adults were actively engaged in using a fair amount of hi-tech equipment for work purposes – not exactly what we envision from a relaxing getaway.
Of course, maybe one or two of the tasks they were engaged in simply couldn’t be avoided. But I think we still need to ask ourselves, when we consider a vacation, what actions/measures we’re going to take – not just during, but beforehand – to assure we get the rest that we really need. For example, in preparation for taking time off, if you are an employee of an organization or even self-employed, you should be sure to do the following…
As I find myself, at last, putting away what remains of this year’s July 4th decorations, the holiday celebrated to honor our country’s declaration of independence, I am reminded of what it means to be truly independent. According to the dictionary, the act of being independent has a number of meanings, and among them are “taking care of yourself” and “doing what’s best for you.”
In giving more thought to these specific definitions, I realize how much they apply to the welfare of our careers. For example, if you were asked if you’re feeling truly satisfied and fulfilled with your current career and the position you hold within your workplace, what would your response be? If the answer to any part of that is negative, have you asked yourself first, how acceptable is that answer to you and second, if it’s not okay and you’re not making efforts to change, what is keeping you from taking constructive action to improve your situation?
Having a negative feeling about any aspect of your career and/or the position you hold are among the more common reasons that people come to see a career counselor like me. And, it is often the case that individuals faced with such issues are at a loss regarding what the obstacles are that are preventing them from going after the career or position they really want.
Let’s talk about some common circumstances that might prevent you from moving forward and initiating the positive action steps you need to take the best care of yourself career-wise. Here are some examples of what you might view as possible roadblocks…
Betty Cohen, M.S., NCC, MCC
Serving San Francisco Bay Area, CA, and Phoenix Metro Area, AZ
Phone: (650) 868-5396