Is it time to make a ‘Career Path Plan’?

So we take the first step on the career path and have a vague idea of where we are heading but how many of us created a ‘Career Path Plan’? Are we sticking to it? Have we discovered it’s not the path we expected or some pretty hefty unknown obstacles were thrown in the way?

Nothing is set in stone where so many external influences can affect the outcome, however, Benjamin Franklin was attributed to the saying “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” and Winston Churchill came up with “Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”

So the simple answer is to plan ahead and learn from our mistakes!

Historically, career pathing was associated with the process used to chart a course within an organisation for a given career through self-development. The attributes involved in this were based around knowledge base, skills, character and experience. Once clarified, a path, whether promotion, laterally or transfer would be worked out. Now this can still be the case but with the onset of such diversity and uncertainty along with more people being self-employed compared to years gone by, we need to be honest with ourselves where career goals are actually at and whether we have the necessary attributes to reach it.

There is a lot more to creating one and reviewing it than can be written in this short blog but if nothing else, this will get you on the right path (excuse the pun) and Coaching to Success can help you with the details whether creating one for your team members or for yourself at a later time.

Much like travelling, you plot a route (or your SatNav does) and sometimes the obvious route is blocked but with some lateral thinking and change of course, you will eventually head back on track.

Here are some simple steps starting with the first and hardest element to start your course:

  • Ascertain what your desired job is. Sometimes this may not be apparent but give it some serious thought. If self-employed, where do you want your business to be within a given time-frame and what role will you play in it?
  • What jobs, departments, areas of businesses do you need to plot a course through to get there? Speak to your line manager, HR department or research others to find the most likely path that will let you achieve your goal.
  • What skills do you need to develop? What course of action do you need to take to obtain them? What channels of development are open to you and what experience do you require to achieve the objective?
  • Where can you get mentoring, supervision or coaching from to help you with this transition in your development?
  • Consider where you can obtain, or if there are career professionals you could turn to (even if researching the web, books, audio or video files – there’s plenty out there) to find focus.
  • OWN IT. This is Your career path, not somebody else’s and once realised, it gains body and momentum. By all means, welcome help given by others and search for a mentor/coach. Apply for those jobs and don’t get disheartened through lack of response but rather seek information to turn knock-backs into a learning exercise but always remember, this is yours and only you can drive it forward, no one else will care about it as much as you.
  • Let the decision makers know of your interest and intentions. Make it very clear to all who have the power/authority to help you get there know what your intentions are. Employees want to see who their next opportunities are within the organisation and showing off your plan makes it very clear. And don’t be afraid to ask for their assistance whether it be gaining more experience or increasing your knowledge or skill especially if looking to move laterally.
  • PUT IT IN WRITING. Then share it. Line managers, supervisors, family, friends, whoever will hold you accountable to reaching your objectives. Writing it down then insuring others are aware of it is an integral element to making it work.

If working within a large organisation, speak to HR or senior management to obtain knowledge of the following to incorporate within your plan. Then use this to plot your path:

  • Job descriptions (and locations)
  • Formal planning process (if applicable)
  • Application process
  • Competency levels
  • Learning/Training/Development courses pertaining to role
  • Shadowing and access to people currently doing the job
  • Access to mentor/coach
  • Lateral roles that are associated with you path or potential transfer opportunities

Coaching to Success believe in the power of the individual so whether you are the employer looking to help bring team members on or an individual looking to move up the career ladder, then take your first step to gaining clarity and contact Neil on 07761 187238 or email, where you will be assured a warm, friendly welcome and discuss what it is you wish to achieve.

Having read this, why not check out Neil too by watching our YouTube video HERE.