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Stages of Career Coaching - Where Does the Highlands Battery Fit?
By Anne Gottlieb Angerman, MSW
Last week, a client whom I call Lilli came in to see me. She was 29 and had been floundering ever since she graduated from college. As I gave her an overview of my services and the Highlands Battery, her biggest questions were: How will I know what to do when I am finished? What if I don't get high scores? I decided that it would be helpful to break my services down for her.
These are the stages that I see:
1) Self Assessment: Who am I? What makes me different from others?
I explain to people that taking self assessments is like a CAT Scan, which enables you to learn info about yourself and then add your own subjective information. A patient goes to a doctor with symptoms, and then has the medical tests to suggest or confirm a diagnosis.
For assessments, I offer the Highlands, the Strong Interest Inventory, and the MBTI. I have a questionnaire for people to fill out about their past, and I offer a mini-360 (I have other people evaluate the client's skills and strengths).
At this time, I also discuss family of origin issues and receive information about
their families and the atmosphere in which they grew up. I find its better to discuss these things in a session instead in response to a written questionnaire.
People choose which assessments they want and then I do the feedback session using the assessments they have chosen. I usually do the feedback session in 2 hours, or sometimes break it up into 2 sessions lasting 3 hours. The feedback session can be done in person or by phone. I also prepare a written summary for each client.
2) Career Exploration - Where am I going?
There are some people who only want the Highlands to see their natural abilities. However, there are many who want to go further and do career exploration and develop an action plan. If people want to go further, I suggest meeting for more sessions and frequently offer a package.
Using the vision wheel, I explain all the categories on the wheel. I also give my clients an extra wheel to enable them to add information to the wheel. We noted that Lilli was high in Concept Organization, Spatial Relations-Visualization and Rhythm.
Work Types/Work Roles
At the same time, I look at the work types on the Highlands Report and ask the client to make a list of his or her 8 top work types.
If they have taken the Strong Interpretive, we look at the extensive list of Work Tasks and have the client make a list and rank them. Where are the similarities? Using the lists together, it doesn't matter if a client has high or low scores on the Highlands. He or she is receiving a descriptive list of work tasks.
As an additional exercise, we look at skills by asking the client to write down stories or areas of accomplishments. This exercise is used frequently in Highlands workshops for adults and students. Although the exercise can be done in advance and in writing, I find it more effective to do it in person because it leads to great discussions.
What do you want to Avoid?
Diagnosing why you were so unhappy in your last position....
Ask the client to make a list of work activities and environments that proved uncomfortable. In the Highlands, looking at Time Frame Orientation, Classification, Rhythm, and Spatial Relations-Visualization can give clues as to areas that are not good fits. If clients have high Rhythm, they will want to avoid situations where they have to sit a lot.
If you are using the Strong, look at the theme letters (R, A, I, S, E, and C):
They stand for: Realistic, Artistic, Investigative, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. What work environments should your client avoid?
Ask the client: What are your Motivators? Why do you want to work? The Strong says it best by breaking down the motivators to the 6 themes recited above: For example, the "A" (Artistic) theme indicates that you express yourself by the creation of beauty or by merely thinking outside the box. When clients are described as Artistic and are high in the Highlands in any of the Artistic clusters - Idea Productivity, Design Memory or Pitch Discrimination - I would certainly urge consideration of careers in the Artistic areas.
Knowing your purpose is a big driver. When people choose a job or employer without regard for what's important in their lives, they are bound to be more frustrated and restless.
3) Action Plan - Where do I go with all my testing results?
What do I need to do to move forward?
Here are some things people want to include in their action Plan:
• What is my ideal job? What things should I be looking for?
• What is non-negotiable for me? (e.g., not wanting to travel; not wanting to work far from my house; flexible hours; medical coverage; maternity leave; etc.)
• What is my flexibility for returning to school?
• What are some of my options for returning to school?
• What is the best way to market my talents and skills?
• What are some industries to explore?
• How can you shadow people?
• What are some of the hot industries in my area?
• What kind of resume would be best?