What to Do When Your Career Has Stalled

What to Do When Your Career Has Stalled

Clients come to coaching to become better leaders. Most imagine our work together centering on models, assessments, and tactics.  In the early days of our coaching relationship, they come to our meetings with some version of: 
“Tell me what to do.” 

Through the process, they realize that they don’t need another person telling them what to do.  Their orientation subtly evolves to:  
“Help me learn how to be.”

In coaching, we often call this process of becoming, doing your work.  I’ve lived with that phrase for so long that I forget that people don’t know what it means.  It reminds me of a recent conversation with someone who said, “I don’ know what it means to do my work. If someone tells me to get in shape, I know how to do that.  If someone tells me I need to heal a part of my body, I know how to do that”.

But if I want to do the work, how do I start?

Since that conversation, I have struggled to define what exactly it does mean.  In a word, it means learning how to be reflective.

Why is being reflective so important to becoming a better leader (and a better human)?  After all, it is a lot to ask executives with full lives to take time out of activity to think about themselves, their lives, and their work, particularly if there is no tangible benefit. 

So why do it?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation thinking, “Why is this happening to me again?” 

Coaching strengthens our ability to reflect.  We begin to see those patterns that perpetuate the same situations over and over again.  

As our reflection muscles get stronger, we become more able to notice our behaviors not just in retrospect, but as they are happening.  We “catch ourselves in the act of being ourselves.”  As we wake up to these patterns, we can challenge them as they are happening. 

As you will read in this HBR article, there are many ways to become more reflective.  For me, my biggest insights come from journaling, working with my own executive coach, and talking with the people in my life who love me enough to be honest with me. 

What about you? What practices help you step back and see how you’re creating your life?

Starla Sireno specializes in Executive Coaching in NYC. She partners with leaders to more effectively navigate the complexities of their roles, increase their influence at all levels, and hone their interpersonal communication skills in order to become more impactful both internally and in client-facing roles. Inquire how you can work with Starla or her team

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