Category: CC 1 Know what’s in your toolbox

3D Juggling 352: Magic Seats

Claire writes: ‘When we bought our car, all I knew was that it would be a supermini with room for 4 people and good fuel consumption. Being available in red was desirable but not essential!  If that had been the final criteria, it would have been very difficult to chose between the makes we looked at – Citroen, Peugeot, Skoda, Renault etc.  What allowed us to make an informed choice was that each garage was able to clearly communicate what they felt the added value was in their car. And we did a test drive. So we had to choose between interiors, boot space and leg room.  On the way to buy the Toyota Yaris which fulfilled all the criteria except boot space, we stopped off at the Honda garage because it was raining.  It was the leg room and the magic seats which made us buy the Honda.  You can fold the back seats up or down.  We didn’t know we needed that, but realised it would mean we could fit a bike in the back… or a large plant… or a big box of training materials.

When employers advertise for posts, they advertise the generic basics which are essential for the job.  When we apply, we need to be really clear how we fit that and also what added value we bring so that they can decide who is the best fit for the job.  That means that you need to be crystal clear what you bring before you even fill out the application.  If you only answer the questions you are asked, there may be a significant piece of information which you forget to include.  Until you are clear what you bring, the potential employer will not be able to find it out from you – however hard they try. Especially if you are changing sectors or applying for a different type of role. That’s why we spend a considerable amount of time with individuals and groups facing job changes simply asking: So what did you do? If you have a job change coming up, do you know all the generic skills you bring?  And what evidence you have for them? It’s worth investing time to find that out BEFORE you start approaching employers.

And if you don’t know what you’re thinking unless you speak, don’t waste time siting staring at a blank computer screen or white paper… enlist a listening partner – a friend, colleague or a coach.

© 2007 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 473: Seven Years On

Claire writes: “I had coffee last week with John who I had met for a ten minute conversation in 2003 after his job had been made redundant. He wanted to talk then about career change and finding the right fit… or at that stage, any fit. We’ve exchanged occasional emails and this was an opportunity to talk more.

He was hardly recognisable. The diminished and downtrodden man has transfomed into someone who, two jobs on, is confident and has begun to use skills he didn’t know he had. It was a privilege to catch up on some of the missing parts of the story. Seven years ago he had no idea this kind of job existed and he has found something which is for him, truly vocational, working in a public sector organisation and having influence internationally.

For John, what had been important was being clear about skills that would make money and being willing to take a job which used them and provided for his family. And he held the vision. It was the second job which has harnessed his talents and passions.

Are you clear about what your skills are – and what are strengths and what are passions? Is your job harnessing these?’

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who is feeling diminished and downtrodden.

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 468: Hole in The Wall

Claire writes: “I was with a group last week talking about finding the right fit job. Too often, I think, we imagine that a new job needs to be either the perfect fit or simply OK because at the moment any job will do.

It may be that finding a job that pays the bills is enough. But if you’re going to find a role which can be an opportunity to use your strengths and passions and get paid for it, you may need to find a better fit. Once you’ve done some work to identify your skills and begun to explore which you are good at, which you are passionate about, and more importantly which are both, then it’s time to find what might fit.

So how do we find out what will fit? Remember that the job doesn’t have to be an exact fit – in fact that would mean there was no room for you to grow and develop. Your next job needs to be a good enough fit. It’s rather like Hole in The Wall, the BBC entertainment show (if you’re interested!). when the teams have to move to fit the shape of the hole coming at speed towards them. If they don’t adapt to fit through the hole, they get knocked into a swimming pool. If they have to adapt too much, I imagine that it’s both painful and unsustainable. On the show, you would not want to have to put your left leg by your right ear to fit. The same is true with a job!

So what is a good enought fit, for you?”

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who is trying to find the right fit.

© 2010 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 454: X Factor

Claire writes: ‘The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing on UK TV every weekend have caused more furore this year than ever before. What is talent? Why do the untalented go through and the more talented get voted off by the public? Who are Jedward anyway… you can tell I’m a Strictly fan!

Whatever the talent shows suggest, talent is more than being good at something. I think that to grow our talents we need to be both good at them and passionate about them. We meet plenty of people every week who are good at their jobs – but it doesn’t fit them any more because there is simply no passion there. So where are the organisations who will pay us to use our talents? It may be time to start window shopping. And if an organisation will only pay you to do things which you’re good at, and not passionate about, where else can you use your talents? George Lucas said: “Everybody has talent, it’s just a matter of moving around until you’ve discovered what it is.” So if you’re not sure, start moving – even if that’s into using skills in a slightly different way at work, asking your manager if you can get some different experience, or testing out some volunteer work.

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who needs to start moving

© 2009 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 425: Stretch Limo

Claire writes: “I have chipped a bone in my foot, and can’t drive long distances so Clare drove my car for me last week. Her first manouvre was to reverse out of her drive onto a busy road. By the time we got to our destination she’d only stalled once early on, and was rather enjoying my car! A stretch, but less of a stretch from upgrading from a Smart car to a stretch limo, or driving a left hand drive car. At the same time I had to learn how to drive a mobility scooter!

The reality is that we both know how to drive. Changing cars or contexts is different and uses the basic skill of driving. At first it can feel uncomfortable, but with practice we soon become fluent and recognise that it wasn’t so far after all. Sometimes we need some help – like reverse parking a limo, but the basic principles are similar! Starting to do something new – at work or as a volunteer rarely involves starting from nothing. We always bring skills and experiences from other parts of our lives, some of which will transfer into a new context. We just need to know what they are! Do you know what your transferable skills are?

PS Interestingly, downsizing to a mobility scooter was harder than changing car! Foot improving!”

© 2009 3D Coaching Ltd May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 424: Them and Me

Claire writes: “Someone came for a Career Makeover yesterday who we had met at One Life. He thinks he has a boring job, and wanted to be able to unpick the skills he is using so that he can communicate them clearly to get a completely different kind of job. Leadership may be a skill, like customer service – but until you can describe clearly how you lead or support customers, you’re only giving half the story. And it’s how you use your skills that is your unique selling point, or your Magic Seats.

So if you’re stuck and struggling to communicate, try this: Imagine that you are sitting next to someone who does exactly the same job as you and has a very similar background. The difference is that you are really good at your job, and they are not! Now describe your skills – and make sure that you distinguish yourself from them.”

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who is underselling their skills.Discuss this week’s juggling at http://www.3dcoaching.blogspot.com/

© 2009 3D Coaching Ltd May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: https://www.3dcoaching.com/ and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 416: “…and, tell me, what do you do?”

Jeremy writes: “I am sure in all the social and business gatherings of the past month you have been asked this question a few times! It is fascinating that many familiar, everyday questions are not answered in the words in which they are asked. The usual answer to this question is often more of a throwaway line:

‘Oh, I’m an accountant”I don’t work, I’m just a housewife’ (note the just!)’For my sins, I work at the council offices”I used to be a nurse but I’m a full-time mum (or dad) now”I’m not anything at the moment, I’ve been made redundant from the bank actually…’

The question uses a verb (do) and the answer is bundled up by an all embracing noun e.g. accountant or nurse. It is as if (in this shorthand) the questioner is supposed to know that because I am an accountant, you can work out for yourself what I do (i.e count ?).

The problem with this sort of exchange in the job market, a vitally important market for many at the moment, is that it is unhelpful and often misleading. Good accountants do much more than count. The recruitment consultant or prospective employer or networking contact actually wants to know what you do (use lots of flowing, active verbs), not your job title(s) and appointments (very dried-up, well-worn nouns). Most jobs contain a wide variety of tasks, relationships and ways of working which are inadequately described by “I am a nurse”.

Think about what you do now, and what you really want to do, and how you set about your work in general, and learn to describe it all concisely with lots of verbs describing your activities, character and modus operandi. That will lead to all sorts of questions and conversation.
The answer ‘I’m just an (anything)’ doesn’t lead anywhere!”

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who is more than their job title.

Discuss this week’s juggling at http://www.3dcoaching.blogspot.com/

© 2009 3D Coaching Ltd May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 413: Landscape Gardening

Claire writes: “In Lee Child’s ‘The Visitor’, Gary – one of the crime profilers used to be a landscape gardener. In an off the cuff comment, another character notices that was a strange move. Gary responds: “It was relevant. It teaches you to see the big picture. To be patient.”

Our skills are as transferable as we allow them to be… and then it’s all in the marketing and how we communicate that to a potential employer. Take the helicopter view: If you were observing someone doing your job – from a distance – describe the skills which you use in a generic way. Once you are convinced they are transferable you will be able to convince someone else.”

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who is looking for a complete change of direction.

© 2009 3D Coaching Ltd May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com

3D Juggling 406: Bananagrams

Claire writes: ‘The prospect of Christmas Shopping is looming large on the horizon. A friend has decided to buy everyone Bananagrams  and it is a great word game which we were introduced to by my colleague Jeremy.

Suitable for adults and children, faster than Scrabble, everyone plays at their own pace and to win you constantly dismantle your words and make them into something better. If you get too attached to a word that looks good, it can block you from getting to the end of the game. The only use our mini surf boards got on holiday last year was as makeshift tables to play bananagrams. You can even take it out to a restaurant and play while waiting for your meal.

This is not a sales pitch for the game because what’s interesting is that every player has the resources they need to create words – and access to new letters is freely available if you trade in your unuseable letters. But you have to be willing to dismantle words and organise them differently. It’s the same as getting to a new start in our career – we have the resources or access to resources – but sometimes we can only move forward if we leave some of the things we are attached to behind.’

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone you’d like to buy you bananagrams!

(c) 2008 3D Coaching Ltd

3D Juggling 395: Brunch

Claire writes: “We had a big family celebration last weekend and went out for Sunday Lunch at a restaurant in the Midlands which is hoping, with reason, for a Michelin star. My brother has been there before and we had high expectations and felt lucky to get a table. On arrival we were handed the brunch menu. There were 2 lunch choices – roast lamb or duck salad. The rest was definitely skewed towards breakfast. When we enquired about starters we were told that we could choose from the menu. Didn’t fancy porridge or croissants! And even more surprisingly we were brought blueberry muffins… with the wine!

Whether we are selling a meal or ourselves, it’s important to be clear about what we are selling. It’s equally important that we consider what the customer or organisation want. It won’t surprise you to know that there were only 12 people in this restaurant at peak Sunday lunchtime.

If you’re looking at a change of job, how are you going to find out what the organisation wants? And how will you sell them what you bring? Because you may have many more transferable skills than you think… but it’s all in the marketing and how you communicate that. If they want a main course, they won’t be looking for blueberry muffins! But you could sell another item using the same or similar ingredients. After all adding smoked salmon could have produced smoked salmon blinis with blueberry coulis.”

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who you know who likes food!

(c) 2008 3D Coaching Ltd