AFP is offering one-on-one career guidance through executive coaching at AFP ICON 2019, with four executive coaches including DRi’s own co-founder Nancy Racette. What can you get out of 30-minutes coaching sessions and how can you get the most?
First, know what kind of coaching you want. There are two kinds of executive coaching: (1) your coach can help you address an immediate challenge in your current professional role or (2) she can help you explore your long-term career development (and yes, they are all “she”s this year!). Each kind of coaching requires a different conversation, so knowing which one you want is the first step.
Once you’ve selected a kind of conversation, keep reading to familiarize yourself with the questions you can anticipate your coach will ask. The executive coaching at AFP ICON, just like all executive coaching, is all about your specific situation, so your coach will prompt you to share specific information about that situation to generate a customized path forward that starts from where you are right now and heads toward where you want to go.
(1) Your Long-Term Career Development
Most people who seek executive coaching want to think about their long-term career—where are you headed and how you can get there. The starting point to answering these questions is how you feel about where you are today:
- What do you like best about what you do right now? What parts of your day do you actively look forward to?
- What are you really good at? What do people trust you to do when no one else can figure it out?
- What are you not good at? Be honest: think about what you always push to the bottom of your list because you know it’s going to be a struggle whenever you finally get to it.
- What do you care the most about? Don’t limit your answer to your professional life; what do you care most about in your life today?
- Where have you always hoped that your career would take you? Have your hopes changed?
(2) Your Current Professional Role
Sometimes the path to long-term career development runs through an immediate professional challenge. You may be in a situation that is testing your knowledge, skills, or professional habits, and facing it will help your organization and your own long-term growth. If you’re in this kind of situation, you need to be able to quickly dissect the challenge with your coach. Thinking about the following aspects of the challenge will help:
- What are you struggling with on a day-to-day basis? What part of your job do you keep revisiting?
- What is one area where you have thought you could use more help? For instance, is it working with your Board and volunteers to raise money or managing up?
- What is the scope of the challenge you’re grappling with: is it individual, department-wide, organization-wide?
- What do you hope to walk out of coaching with that you don’t have now? What would a first step in addressing the challenge look like?
And the final step? Now that you know the questions, take some time on your flight or while you’re walking around between sessions to think about your answers. If you want coaching about long-term career development, the answers to these questions are key to having a candid conversation about how the things you find most rewarding might shape the options you choose in your career. And if you want coaching about your current professional role, these answers will help your coach walk you through a strategic exploration that generates an actionable plan that you can implement and evaluate.
Go to the conference website, choose Sign up for Executive Coaching at AFP ICON, and start thinking!