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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why can't professionals use career advice?

I met Ajit last week who has a 5 year experience with software firm. He was seeking a job in a new company and wanted to know 'what is the right job he should find'. When i inquired with him, i found that he was working only for last 6 months in his current job. When i asked him the reason for leaving job, he replied that he was having problem with his current boss. I told him that his problem is not 'finding the right job', but learning 'how to deal with difficult boss'. He responded ' I will learn that later' and further asked me if i will help him now in finding the right job now?

This is a typical way in which corporate professionals approach career-making. They wait for 'important' problem to convert into 'urgent' problem. They do not address the problem when it is 'important'.So when the problem becomes urgent, they neither have the time to address the problem symptom; nor the requisite freedom to use different options.
This is why professional players approach their game in a different manner. If Roger Federer or Nadal used this approach in their career, they will solve their problem only after they have lost the match. Instead professional players employ coaches. Coaches help them identify their 'important' problems in advance and prepare them before they become 'urgent'. This is what helps them consistently win games over a long period of time.

This is what a coach can do for corporate professionals. A coach can convince Ajit in using the available situation to solve the problem, instead of bypassing the problem. A coach can therefore help Ajit to develop his skill of managing difficult bosses, so that Ajit's career does not get blocked in the future due to difficult bosses. A coach can help Ajit to solve his 'important' problems before they become 'urgent'.

Without a coach, a corporate professional , like a professional player, will only react to situations and problems. A coach, by proactively identifying 'important' problems that one is likely to anticipate in a career, helps a corporate professional develop the necessary skills in advance. A corporate professional, with a helpful coach, can build his career on his chosen path , instead of changing the path to avoid the roadblocks.

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