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Are You Asking The Right Questions? The 5 Minute Career Coach February 2011
February 01, 2011

Helping Career Changers Around The World

February 2011


Welcome to the February 2011 edition of The 5 Minute Career Coach.

What's in this Issue

This month it is all about questions. They are such powerful tools and can help you achieve great insights or lead you down blind alleys.

Are you asking the right ones?

With best wishes

Quote of the Day

"We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of effort is the same."
~Carlos Castenada~

I came across this quote a few weeks ago and it really hit the spot for me. How are you expending effort in your life? Do you use it to make yourself feel good or to pull yourself down?

Are You Asking The Right Questions?

If you were telling the story of the last few years of your career to a friend, how would the story unfold? Would you be talking with energy and enthusiasm about the things you have been involved in, the new skills you have learned, the extra responsibilities you have been given? Or would it quickly turn into a litany of complaint, with few good words to be said about your boss, your colleagues or your clients?

If your story would be more of the latter version than the former, don't panic - you are not alone.

If your work is turning into something that you just struggle through on a daily basis, maybe it is time to take a look at it.

This is where you may be expecting me to say 'time to change career'. But career change is not always the answer when you feel your career has got stuck on autopilot.

What questions are you asking?

What may lie behind this 'stuckness' is that you may have just got into a habit of asking unhelpful questions about your current work situation.

Do they tend to be 'Why me?' questions? Questions that guide you towards wondering how you have become the victim of your situation. The trouble with these is that they lead you to answers that are negative and blaming. You either blame yourself or you blame others for what is going wrong. All this does is keep you focused on what is wrong.

What if you were to ask questions which help you to think more positively and encourage you to seek solutions instead?

Try these for size.

Using positive questions

  • How have I successfully dealt with career challenges in the past?

  • How do I turn my current career situation into an opportunity?

  • What can I learn from where I am now and how can I make the process fun?

  • Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

  • Am I letting one aspect of my work overshadow the rest?

  • Who can I connect with who could help me?

  • What aspects of my work can I change without making a complete change of career?

The last question highlights the fact that you may just need a 'career tweak' not a complete career change.

Don't necessarily assume the only escape from your career misery is in a complete change. Change 'Why is my career such a mess?' to 'Which bit of my career needs tweaking?'

You will find more on this idea of adjusting parts of your job on the How To Change Careers website.

So take the list of positive questions above and begin to explore your options with a new frame of mind. Once you have defined which bit of your career needs adjusting, then ask 'What can I do now to start making that adjustment?'

Your 5 Minute Coaching Session

Challenging questions are one of the key tools coaches use in helping clients to create change.

Each month I offer you a mini coaching session by asking you a challenging question to think about. The questions I ask are designed to get you thinking in new ways and hopefully gain insights that may open your mind to new possibilities for you career and for your life.

How can I view my current situation differently?

The article above has already posed lots of useful questions, but this is one more that can help move you out of a stuck place to one where you open your mind to new options and possibilities. If you find it hard, try brainstorming around this question with a friend.

Recommended Resources

Whack Around the Head: Purpose Passion and Power at Work Right Now!
Sharon Eden

If you have begun to get yourself energised by asking yourself more positive questions, then carry on in the same vein with this great book from Sharon Eden, which will certainly challenge you to think and act differently!

Sharon writes with infectious enthusiasm and energy and will inspire you to take action to change the way you feel about your career. She shows you how to be more effective at work and enjoy your job, even if it's not the job of your dreams.

It is a book that is filled with a wonderful mix of profound insight and practical commonsense. Sharon has been there herself and by sharing her stories, her passion and by modelling how change really can be made, she leads you on a journey of discovery that will help to transform your approach to career and life.

If you are ready to give your career a shake up, get this book and then fasten your seat belt – you are in for a bumpy, and exhilarating ride!

More recommendations
If you would like to see more recommendations for books and similar resources, follow the link to the Career Change Books page of the How To Change Careers website. Do keep popping back to it as I am adding to it all the time.

And if there are books, websites and other resources that have inspired you and that you would like to recommend, there is a place for you to do so on that page.

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