Jan 082009

Dr. Earl R. Smith II

Some of my executive coaching focuses on the frustration that clients feel about their unsuccessful efforts to climb the corporate ladder. Many time the burdens they carry and are unnecessary. Coaching helps them overcome these tendencies to self-sabotage. It is tough enough to make it to the corner office – making it tougher makes little sense.

Once again, we find ourselves at one of the most stress-induced times in our lives. No, it’s not tax season, Christmas shopping or even meeting with the in-laws. It is when the boss does his rounds and reviews everyone in consideration of that job opening you have been coveting for sometime now. You know you can do that job, you have been hinting at it for a while, you have awoken from several dreams of sitting in that desk, you certainly can do it better than the other people but for some reason you have been passed over. You are almost ready to grab your boss by the lapels and shake him violently asking, “Why haven’t you picked me?”

Often people go about trying to convince the boss that they are the top candidate for the position due to performance, seniority and work load capacity. They then trot out all the times they’ve gone the extra mile of long hours, missed vacations for deadlines, the fact that they see the pictures of family members more often than the living versions.

Of course, the boss then agrees with you, thanks you for the time and hard work you have put in and the outstanding history of previous reviews. Then out of nowhere comes the whistling bomb of, “That is why we really can’t loose you in the position you are in and we couldn’t find anyone that could possibly replace you”.

The sad truth is that many people really have no clue when it comes to getting a promotion. Instead they end up working themselves into a position and never leave it and instead loath that other person that shoots past them on the promotion ladder. One of the best ways to counter this is to hire an executive coach. I help my clients to land that promotion and launch their career as a corporate climber.

Here are a few suggestions that might help in your own efforts. First, you should find an executive coach that you feel comfortable with. Make sure that you hire one who has gone where you are planning to go. Avoid ones who have only an intellectual understanding of the process. Then tell them what it is you wish to accomplish and allow them to perform a management assessment. Once done, they will help you develop and implement a plan. Here are some of the components:

Stop trying to convince everyone on how good you are at your job. They know this because you are still in the position. If there were a problem, they would have already addressed it with you. Make a point of showing the attributes that the new position requires and then prove you posses them along with the experience for results. A good idea is to highlight your skills and show how they make you a good candidate for the position.

Try to demonstrate in your position the skills you posses and how you have expanded them since you started in the company. Remember that you are part of a team and that your success may not have come about from your own actions alone. Highlighting that you work well as a member of that team it makes a positive lasting impression. This is much better than pointing out everyone else’s errors. Use your coach to build on your existing skills and allow them to show you areas that you would benefit from working on.

Ultimately, the final decision on whether or not you land the promotion depends on the attitude you have and your approach to seeking the promotion. Take some time and write out your ideas. Develop your vision – see yourself in the position and think through how you will be able to obtain it and fill it.

Make sure that you include why you are the best candidate, the skills you posses, examples of duties you have performed that would benefit that position. Take all of these; practice your approach with your executive coach and work to refine it. When both of you feel confident with it, present it to your boss or HR department. This will give you the confidence of what you are doing and make you seem flawless and at ease. Management will be very receptive when you are not trying to convince yourself and them that you truly are the best candidate for that corner office.

© Dr. Earl R. Smith II


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