Self Coaching And A Midlife Career Change.

By Mark Mcclure

Inquisitive workmates, friends or close relations have most likely asked anyone involved with Personal Development: "What are you doing all this for?"

Perhaps these questions have caused you to pause and reflect for a time? But did you bail out of giving an answer because you couldn't find the words, felt ashamed or just didn't want to go there?

I've been there too. And I remember that some of their generally well-meaning questions made me somewhat ashamed that I even needed to focus on personal development. It was real easy to start looking for what might be really "wrong" with me to have created the PD need in the first place.

Heck, I thought maybe I should just go recycle all those PD books and tapes and CDs. And settle for whatever may come...

Fortunately, I was able to engineer a change of mindset to deal with these self-doubts. And that change became centered on the belief that the best of Personal Development is all about developing the potential of the whole person. It's definitely not about focusing on faults, limitations and lack of ability.

This new mode of thinking became effectively hardwired after I decided to enroll with the International Coach Academy in Winter 2004. I already had a successful IT role in a global financial services corporation and was not looking for a full-time coaching role. Although part-time participation in a mentoring project with other staff was in the early preparation stages.

My self-proclaimed objective throughout the 1.5 years it took me to complete the Certified Professional Coaching program, was to find out how to use my personal development experience in a self-coaching context. During the program I made the following two life empowering discoveries:

1: A realization that "raising awareness" is the secret to becoming more alive and to the very act of living itself...

2: I am able to choose my degree of responsibility for most or all of my actions.

'Never-ending change' is now almost a documented procedure in many global companies! I was therefore not at all alarmed to hear that a major IT outsourcing project was about to get underway!

With the knowledge that outsourcing was about to make an appearance in my world, I decided to concentrate on applying my two discoveries to help coach myself smoothly out of a 20 year employee mind-set and into the new and uncharted waters of Internet business ownership - and all this in under two years! This PD-coaching stuff rocks!

Concurrently with the outsourcing project, I also made it a daily habit of asking myself this question before the start of almost every major task: "What is the point of doing this?" This felt weird but I soon got used to it. What remained tricky was to remember to pose the same question when the task was completed!

Do you want to give it a go? If you do, you might be shocked to realize that you often don't really know why you are doing any one particular task - it just appeared on your to-do list. And once you begin to question your reasons for engaging in probably 80% of the stuff that comes your way - the time for changing the game has probably arrived.

Over time, the answers I got from repeated use of this question helped me to see that I really was able to choose to accept more or less responsibility for some of these tasks and their outcomes. It was (and remains) a very liberating feeling to know that.

My initial successes with self-enquiry made me curious to know even more about what I was not yet aware of concerning personal development and unrealized potential at this middle stage of my life. Though it was clear that I could develop myself further within my existing employee career role (with or without outsourcing scenarios), I wondered what other roles existed beyond my day-to-day conscious awareness of "this is what I expect of myself".

All this pondering concluded with the emergence of a simple but subtly effective self-awareness tool I refer to as "the Bio Map".

The tool has 7 straightforward tasks each requiring only a one-word "answer". Get a pen and some paper if you want to test it out. Here it is:

- Write down your Family name.
- Write down where you were born.
- Write down where you live now.
- Write down your current job title.
- Give one word that recalls a big goal you have already achieved in your life.
- Write down a major goal you really want to achieve.
- Write down the date.

Good job! You just made your first Bio Map! And to finish up, here is the tiebreaker! Take your list of words and write a brief paragraph on what these words mean to you and your life right now.

This marks the beginning of all effective goal creation.

Discover the exact goal setting process Mark McClure uses with private "change the game" career coaching clients, but at a fraction of the price. Discover Goal Creation Maps.

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