About Perspectives

It’s the perspective that makes the difference.

Since 2000, I have called my coaching “Perspective Coaching”. Believe it or not, I do that on purpose.

People seem to grasp immediately what I want to say although the word “perspective” covers a whole range of meanings.

First of all, a perspective refers to both a stance or a point of view and to a variety of possible perceptions one may have. Perspective is what we wish to have in our lifes—a choice of different options that take us forward. Career opportunities, personal opportunities, new territory.

From a more psychological point of view (!), to choose a perspective is to choose a value system. Coaching is all about value systems. What is right, what is wrong? Is there any such thing at all? What is happiness? And is the answer to these questions 42 after all?

Being able to see another person’s point of view or perspective is, from my point of view, essential to successful relationships. We have to be able to change perspective, to feel what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes. Psychologists refer to this skill as empathy, yet that covers only one direction from me to you.

By change of perspective, however, I also mean being able to look at oneself from outside. For instance, to ask yourself “how do my colleagues see me?” or “how do customers/superiors see me?”, or “how do I fit into this culture?”

On top of that, there is a whole range of idioms—both in English and in German— that go with “perspective” and fit well in the coaching context:

  • To get a different perspective on a problem
  • To try to keep things in perspective
  • To see things in their proper perspective

I think it was a wonderful brainwave that made me choose that name—don’t you?

P.S.: Talking about new territory: What actually did Columbus discover about himself?

Coaching

A solution to any problem?

One shouldn’t ask rhetorical questions, should one. Quite obviously, in spite of being very popular these days, coaching is not a miracle cure. However, there are quite a few things coaching can do.

Coaching

  • Can assist in finding individual solutions. It is a highly personalised offering. No two coachings are identical.
  • Always has a time limit. A goal is set and a timeline in which to reach it.
  • Focuses on a person’s strengths, not on their weaknesses.
  • Is directed at the future, not at the past.
  • Sees the client as an agent for his or her own solutions, i.e. seeks to strengthen his or her autonomy.

The latter point, especially, hints towards the need for a client to be healthy and, if you like, fit for coaching. The process takes some energy and effort, both of which cannot be managed by a “patient”, i.e. someone who is suffering from “burnout” or similar inhibitions. I have to admit it has made me extremely uneasy to see the advent of so-called “burnout-coaches”. While I do agree that there is a lot one can do to combat burnout before it sets in, I strongly oppose the view that a coach can help people who suffer from this work-related kind of depression. This belongs in the hands of therapists. Mind you, to sort out job perspectives after therapy, a coach is a good partner.

Likewise, a coach can offer support whenever

  • You are trying to see things more clearly.
  • You want to come to terms with a different culture (company/nation).
  • You want to make a good decision.
  • You want to learn more about yourself.
  • You want to broaden your skills, f.i. in presenting.
  • You want to change jobs.
  • You need to deal with conflicts.
  • You want to reach new objectives.

Should you want to find out what it is like to be coached, do have a look here: Anna Tims from the Guardian has written a wonderful account of her first encounter with coaching.

The magic of what good coaching can do has been made visible in this video clip: Enjoy!

Please activate JavaScript to view this video.
Video-Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY75MQte4RU

Career Consulting

What is the difference between career consulting and coaching?

Career consulting focuses more on your professional development and covers shorter periods of time, usually up to five years. Tools from the career consulting kit are different—f.i. they help in drawing up a professional profile from your strengths and weaknesses.

Why should I need career consulting?

It is often quoted that “one in three employees” are unhappy with their roles. Wherever it comes from—counterproductive discussions at work, fickle-minded superiors, obnoxious colleagues, dissatisfying perspectives—the feeling remains: My job doesn’t fit any more.

You have already been browsing vacancies, but you still don’t have a clue which one to go for.

Mind you, that’s not surprising. The longer people are in the rat-race, the less they feel able to say what their real needs are. Working life is a habitat that stresses utility and purpose. It gears us to the company’s requirements, not to our own. So, when it comes to making a career decision after years of job routine, the feeling of being lost is somewhat to be expected.

Well, how do I decide on my new career in such a state, then?

I suggest you first take some time.

Allow yourself some time for your goal-seeking process, don’t put yourself under pressure. It is crucial to get away from the daily grind. Only when you have a little distance can you see things clearly. Once you have achieved that, start to take a look at yourself, maybe with the help of a consultant, and find answers to the following questions:

  • What are you proud of? What are your achievements, what are you really good at?
  • What did you really enjoy?
  • Which challenges did you encounter in your career and how did you overcome them?

Unlike many career consultants, I think that It is not just a list of strenghts and weaknesses that clients need in such situations. It is quite simply the gut feeling. An emotional coherence between your professional role and your personality.

When you’ve found this inner coherence again, the rest might take a bit of an effort but is basically plain sailing: Decision-making, finding a suitable job. It’s worth a try.