Have you noticed some people move ahead in their career, just like clockwork, while others get off track and seem to derail?  Have you or someone you know missed out on that next promotion?  Did someone else get that special assignment you wanted?

Let’s step back and take a look at what might be going on.  Sometimes peoples careers get “derailed”.  They have a change in their career momentum or an unexpected failure because they fail to change and grow.  A common thread for people who derail is that they exhibit excellent skills in a particular area to the exclusion of developing new complementary skills.  This is often true for “technical” people who become managers.  They were acknowledged and rewarded for their technical skills and expertise so they were promoted.  Soon they were struggling and getting lost in the cracks. This also happens with managers who get promoted to executive level positions. People dig in their heels and keep doing things they were rewarded for before; not realizing a new skill set is needed.  Often, companies don’t provide proper “training” for the next level.  They just assume someone will have the skills because they were doing so well in their previous role. 

So, people need to take charge of their own career.  Step back and see where there are gaps in the new role and then add skills that compliment current strengths.  Sometimes people are “blind” to what’s missing.  A coach can be helpful in sorting this out and moving one forward.

In one of my favorite coaching books, Jump Start Your Career, how the “Strengths” that  got you where you are today can hold you back tomorrow, Dr. Lois Frankel describes this scenario along with some great tools to address it.  This includes an assessment that helps you determine your areas of strength and opportunity. 

People who possess the technical competence but get derailed from their career path often do so because they do one or more of the following:

  1. Overlook the importance of people
  2. Don’t function effectively on a team
  3. Don’t focus on image and communication
  4. Are insensitive to the effect they have on others
  5. Have difficulty working with authority
  6. Have too broad or too narrow vision
  7. Are indifferent to customer or client needs
  8. Work in isolation

If you’ve been wondering why your career is off track, check out this book.  Take the assessment and see where you may need some work.  Then read the chapter on that topic.  She has great descriptions of what the desired behavior looks like and tips you can start doing now.  Some people need help applying this to their situation.  Make the choice to be the champion of your career.  If you need help getting back on track, contact me. for a complimentary session.


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