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Can self-coaching turbo-charge your job hunt?

Published on: 7 Jan 2016

Can self-coaching turbo-charge your job hunt? Stephanie Sparrow finds out

Finding a new job may top your list of New Year Resolutions, but do you also require a new mindset? HR professionals, who nurture the careers of others while constantly having to prove their own credentials, can feel ‘stuck’.

Stagnant thinking can breed negativity, which could leave you in the same rut for a few more years.

Hiring a coach will help you free your mind to focus on career goals, but establishing rapport with a comparative stranger takes time, and may slow down your job search. In this case could self-coaching be the answer to turbo-charging career success in 2016?

We asked personal development experts for their tips on self-coaching ourselves through the job hunt.

mindset1 Start differently

If you are feeling stuck in your current job get out a pen and paper. Writing creates movement, which in turn will unblock your mind.

“Try free-flow writing; sit down and write for five minutes about yourself”, says change and creativity expert Steve Chapman. “Just keep writing, while questioning what you want for yourself and your career, and other stuff will come out”, he says. 

Another option is to draw three columns on a piece of paper. “Head them: ‘What would I typically do? What is the opposite? What is neither of these?’”, he says.


2 Re-think before you re-write your CV

“Writing a CV can be an over-mechanistic process,” says Chapman, director at CS5 Change and Creativity. He advises finding a new focus, or getting to the heart of what you really want to say, by plotting your CV differently. The process starts with gathering your thoughts about who you think you are.

“You could write out comments about yourself on Post-Its first”, he says, “or be really creative and express who you are in an abstract painting.”

If you find one of these ideas dull, and the other outlandish, then there is a third way. “Ask a friend to record an interview with you talking about your achievements and aspirations”, he suggests.


3 Beat your blind spots

Proceed with caution, says Chris Worts, who has championed external coaching interventions and mentoring in his role as head of people services at Skipton Building Society. “Self-coaching requires an honest and candid approach from the individual to their own particular strengths and areas for development”, he says, warning of: “the risk of blind spots when conducting your own diagnosis.” 

Being mindful of the risk can help mitigate it, but be aware that self-coaching deprives you of the objectivity of an external coach. An outside perspective can challenge you to face awkward topics or better identify why you feel mismatched to your current employer. If you can’t admit your own failings, then recruit a trustworthy friend.

4 Build success skills

As you bravely continue with self-coaching take time to identify the other skills which will strengthen you and your career.

“As an HR professional there are four success skills to look at to refresh your career”, explains international career coach Katrena Friel. “You need to look at your personal power: if you haven’t got it you tend not to get a lot of promotions; secondly your emotional intelligence: which is about knowing yourself and your impact on others; next your initiative, and finally your confidence: which is about having self-belief, self-value, and being self-assured.”

Emotional intelligence and confidence are self-explanatory. Personal power, says Friel, starts with creating the impression of being self- assured when you walk into a room and “ensuring you own your own space”.

Her definition of initiative refers to self- motivation, which is a necessary skill for a successful self-evaluation or job hunt. “See if you can play a mind game with yourself to turn up the heat on activities that you need to get done, but don’t like doing”, she says.

5 Trust your inner voice

Looking for a new job, and especially starting one, can knock your self-confidence because you are on unfamiliar territory.

It is possible to self-coach through the challenges and Friel’s definition of confidence can help.

“Here’s the structure of confidence,” she says, “you have got to have self-belief. You have got to think it will add value to you and, or, others. Then you have to be self-assured enough to stick with it, to practice, to get good at it.

“ Remember that saying?”, she continues, ‘if you think you can’t ,you can’t. If you think you can, you can.’ You will always be correct.”