Navigating your professional life can be a journey with lots of twists and turns, bumps and obstacles, short cuts and direction that is easier travelled when you have some kind of road map. My work in career counselling and leadership coaching helps professionals have a vision and be more intentional about where they are going.
Let's face it, your career path is often influenced by external forces like changes to the global markets as we've seen in the pandemic, working from home, disruption and technology which ultimately changes the nature of work we do. Then there is also personal factors like having children, a mortgage, care obligations for elderly parents and lifestyle commitments to consider. All of these factors that come into play are influencing our career paths but we don't always need to be reactive if begin by taking a proactive approach to our career development. A satisfying career after all is a massive contributor to our overall wellbeing and mental health. To feel purpose at work may seem like something for the privileged few but everyone can work towards it by being more mindful about their choices and decisions.
Career Counselling SWOT tool
Enter the SWOT tool for career coaching and counselling and its also helpful for leaders to use it with their teams to help employees think more broadly about their career progression. It's a simple easy to use tool that gives a good snapshot of where your strengths are right now, where your weak points exist and what opportunities lay ahead. Threats can also help you be one step ahead of the things that might be outside of your direct control. By taking the time to reflect on your working life you can reduce the stress and anxiety around the changing nature of work and develop resiliency and greater confidence in finding your own direction.
How to get the most out of the SWOT Exercise
Identify at least 3 professional strengths. These are things you're really good at, that come easily to you and you get a lot of positive feedback on. Usually these strengths are transferable for job to job or role as you progress through your organisation.
Identify at least 3 professional weakness'. These are the things you find difficult, require lots of your energy to do and any are you know you could improve on. This might point to careers or roles you might be best to avoid or areas you might want to further develop.
Identify at least 3 opportunities. These are things within your current workplace or others you think might provide you the possibility for growth like promotions, training, advancement.
Identify at least 3 things that are a threat to your professional position. These might include relationships, technology, organisational or management changes or competition.
One you have filled in each of the four quadrants it gives you a good starting point for discussion with either your lead, manager, partner or friend. You may even be considering working with an external career coach or counsellor. The next part involves getting clear on what to do with this information and crafting some goals around achieving it. Question that might be helpful to clarify your next steps include:
In 5 years from now where do I really want to be in my career?
If I knew I couldn't fail what would I do?
What is a solid first step I could take to help me action the information I have learned from this SWOT tool?
To find out more about career and leadership coaching visit the website.