How many of you out there – finishing school or graduate courses - know exactly what you want to do?
It would be fair to presume that most of you have an inkling of where your interests lie – after all, we are living in the digital age!
When it comes to the great big decision of choosing a career path or a college course, there are two types of people. There are the lucky few who have a passion or a creative gift that defines their life choices from an early age and then there is the vast majority, made up of teenagers and young adults who need some career guidance to find the right paths.
As things stand in India, most children tend to enrol in a course first and figure out career options later. The post class XII scramble for admissions mixed with peer pressure doesn’t give most students a lot of time or opportunity to think deeply about their long-term careers.
For most, the goal is to somehow just get into a good college! And the cycle repeats itself after graduation when choices become even more limited, the competition becomes tougher, and the cost of education goes up.
For the last two decades, career counsellors and career guidance services have been trying to help students make the right decision. Over time a lot has changed - what started with aptitude tests and informal chats with counsellors has now turned into a nuanced and detailed process that focuses on the mindset of the student.
We at SoaringEagles, have developed a career counselling process that takes into account five crucial factors which give students and adults clarity about their career choices. Our one-on-one sessions include a mix of various assessments, self-reflection activities, and in-depth discussions which focus on the following aspects -
We start with taking stock of where you stand in terms of certain areas of your life such as achievement, belonging, financial prosperity and spirituality. The goal is to make you aware of who you are and what you value most in life.
This assessment is then aligned with your career activities to give you an idea of what could work best in the long run. E.g., If you put creative freedom over money, then a freelance artistic career could be more in line with your interests.
Most students starting out are not thinking as far ahead as actually working in an office. But the career path you choose will determine how you spend a large part of your day.
Our workplace value assessment is designed to make sure you understand what is more important for you - is it loyalty or stability; do you want to lead teams or prefer to use your hands to create something new; do you prefer money over status or do you want to both – these are some questions that a workplace value assessment will force you to consider and pay attention to.
Most students have some basic career aspirations; as part of our career counselling sessions, we use a broad-based skill assessment to give them an insight on how their current skills or abilities can help them achieve their goals. Another important outcome of skill analysis is to provide them with a roadmap for improving or acquiring skills they might need for their dream job.
There are many factors which can determine what type of work and environment would best suit your temperament. We have a special multiple intelligence test that evaluates your thoughts measured against daily activities, and the results are a great way to figure out your latent strengths.
We all are a mix of different abilities – such as musical, logical, visual, verbal and so on. This type of evaluation helps us - and you – understand where your strengths lie (for example you might lean more towards verbal and visual intelligence rather than physical) and which types of career could best suit your abilities.
Lastly, we focus on assessing your core vocational interests. This is an advanced career guidance test that identifies suitable educational streams aligned to your occupational dimension.
For example – do you have an artistic temperament or a realistic one; are you more comfortable following rather than organising and leading. The test matches your occupational abilities to groups of industries and job clusters to suggest the ones you are best suited for.
We understand that choosing your educational stream or your graduate or postgraduate course can be daunting. After all, this all-important decision could define how you spend the rest of your life.
We want you to start your professional journey on a sound and steady note. The whole point of our new-age career counselling services is to make you (and us) understand your mindset, values, and strengths.
With this understanding, we will be able to recommend what we think are the right options and you will be able to choose your path with complete confidence and clarity.
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed and need some help. then don’t hesitate to get in touch.
2020 is coming to an end and what a year it’s been! The global pandemic has really challenged us in so many ways and it’s been hard for many of us to feel in control as the crisis just drags on. Our businesses have taken a hit but we know that there are many around us who have been hit even harder.
It’s natural then for many business leaders to feel guilty about the hard decisions they’ve had to take in terms of layoffs, closures and disruptions in service. A client of mine had to let go of a senior employee in the US and he knew this meant that the employee had to go back to his home country and his entire life would get disrupted. He was also worried that the employee would no longer have health cover to take care of the special needs of his child. A friend who is the CHRO of a large organisation was distraught when a young employee passed away due to COVID and he felt he couldn’t do anything to save her.
Guilt is an unsettling emotion to deal with. But it’s also a sign that you’re a conscientious leader. While there are many things that are out of your control, one way of dealing with this guilt when it hits you is to re-evaluate and improve the way you approach your employees and company, and demonstrate compassionate leadership in difficult circumstances.
Here are 5 ways in which you can do this:
If you have a small team, it’s possible for you to do so yourself. If you have a large employees base, put together small cross-functional teams to spread out and listen to the wider group. This will help you plan your initiatives better.
When you have no choice but to implement furloughs, reduced hours, or pay cuts, don’t delegate sharing the news to HR - it feels demoralizing, disrespectful, and lacks empathy. If you are responsible for the decision, it is you who should be sharing it. This sends a clear message to not just the people who are impacted but also the others around them and support the morale of the team.
If some of your decisions have gone wrong and negatively affected others, take remedial action as soon as you know or can and do it as publicly as possible. Acknowledge your mistake and then communicate new developments frequently and consistently. Decisions can go either r way based on the limited information that we operate on – you are not expected to be right all the time. But how you own up and make amends is what your team and customers are looking at.
Try and see what benefits can be retained even when someone goes on a furlough or pay cut. Help the ones who’ve been laid off to find new jobs. Provide career transition support wherever possible.
People respond to that. They connect with you and they trust you when you’re being the best version of you. Talk about how you balance your own personal and work commitments. Talk about your own challenges and encourage sharing of tips and resources for managing workload, scheduling and so on. You don’t have to have a stoic mask all the time. Let people know that you also struggle sometimes and that’s okay. That’s being human.
So, to sum it up, it’s understandable if you as a leader are struggling with guilty feelings as you see the disruptions and struggles that the Covid-19 crisis is causing your employees and colleagues, sometimes specifically as a result of your own actions. But if you reframe your feelings of guilt as an opportunity to consciously and thoughtfully make the best decisions possible, communicate clearly, and behave with compassion and concern for both your employees and yourself, then you can help steer their teams and organizations toward better times.
If you want to talk about this, just click on Request Consultation and pick a convenient time for discussion or send me a WhatsApp message using the button above.
Many times, when I bring up coaching with business leaders and owners, they react by saying that I’m doing well. I don’t think I need a coach.
To my mind, there are two possible reasons for this reaction – one, they are not aware about what real coaching is and its benefits, and two, they are not ready to have a hard look at themselves and see what’s not working. They may be afraid of what they might uncover and are happier just coasting along till they are forced to confront these issues.
I always make an effort to explain what real coaching is and how it’s different from having a mentor or guide or just reading self-help books. I also make it a point to share that coaching is not about solving problems. It is about unblocking the realisation of your potential. You can do and achieve much more than what you are doing currently just by getting out of your own way. A coach helps you get out of your own way and go after those big hairy audacious goals.
Ask yourself this
Having a coach is not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of ambition, it’s a sign of hunger for bigger impact, it’s a sign of courage to work on oneself.
Go ahead, tell me you don’t need a coach…
Click on the Request Consultation button above for a discovery call.
To be truly listened to is an amazing experience, partly because it is so rare! When another person is totally with you – leaning in, interested in every word, eager to empathize – you feel seen and understood. When people feel that they are really being listened to, they open up more as they feel safe and secure and the trust between the parties grows.
Unfortunately, most people do not listen at a very deep level as they are preoccupied with the challenges of their fast-paced life. As a result, most conversations tend to skim on the surface.
The absence of real listening is especially prevalent at work. Under pressure to get the job done, we listen for the minimum of what we need to know so that we can move on to the next fire that needs fighting. So, what’s the consequence of this? Everyone is talking, no on is listening. As a result, employee engagement has become a serious issue in organisations today.
This is becoming a bigger problem in this COVID scenario as employees are dispersed and the conversations are very transactional and brief. Leaders seem to have become busier and more distracted in recent times.
How often are you as a leader distracted in a conversation or a meeting with your team? How often are you as a leader not psychologically present when you are virtually with your team? How often do you cancel, interrupt or shorten meetings with your people in favour of some other stakeholder, priority or task? How often do you make your people wait, ask, or even hope for your leadership? Ironically, now more than ever, leaders need to be deeply and continuously connected with their teams.
What your team needs right now is authentic and unequivocal leadership presence. So, turn off the noise in your head. Turn off the noise from your technology. Focus your mind and your time on the people you lead and they, in turn, will follow and support your leadership efforts.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to take the time to connect, to show that you care about your employees as people. Listening deeply will also help you understand what their challenges and expectations, and gives you a chance to share what your intentions and goals in a way that everyone can be aligned.
Listening is a skill that you can gain from training and practice. And who better to learn if from than coaches. Effective coaches tend to be gifted listeners and they hone their listening skills to reach a high level of proficiency. This enables us coaches to reach the inner recesses of your mind and help you get those deep insights.
In the book, Co-Active Coaching, Henry and Karen Kimsey-House explain the three levels of listening and how the art of listening can be cultivated.
Level 1 listening is an interaction where the primary focus of you as the listener is on your own thoughts, opinions, judgments, and feelings. You relate the words you hear to your own experiences or needs. For example, if we are buying a car, we will be listening at Level 1 to the salesperson to see how the car features will fit our needs and budget.
Level 2 listening takes the communication one step further. It involves paying attention to the tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. As you filter out your internal chatter and distractions from the environment, you are able to tune in to the meaning of the words, choose a way to respond, and assess the effect of the response on the speaker.
Level 3 listening brings an entirely new state of awareness to the conversation. It involves doing everything at Level 2, plus using your intuition and being open to receiving more information in any form that it presents itself. If you get a hunch, for example, while listening to someone, you could bring it up without being attached to it. Without insisting on being right, observe the effect it has on the speaker and be aware of where the conversation goes next.
For instance, you may say: “I understand that you are happy with the results, but I have a feeling that you have something else on your mind.” The response may be, “No, not really,” or “Yes, actually, I wanted to tell you about this issue that came up with our project.” It is irrelevant if you are right or wrong; what is important is the effect on the conversation.
So, there you have it – why it is important for you as a leader to hone your listening skills and how you can enhance your depth of listening. The art of listening takes time to develop, but it can be practiced daily. It builds trust and understanding and contributes significantly to your effectiveness as a leader.
If you want to discuss further, just schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking this link above.
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