WorkWise: New approaches to calibrate your future

culp@workwise.netDecember 16, 2012 

(Don Maruska) Don Maruska has developed market-sensitive techniques for career counseling. He and Jay Perry explain them in “Take Charge of Your Talent: Three Keys to Surviving in Your Career, Organization and Life,” due out in January through Berrett-Koehler.

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The concept behind what we used to call career counseling has updated for today’s sped-up worklife. “Counseling” implies looking inward without connection to the marketplace and may signify a service provider who doesn’t understand marketing.

Long-term career counseling is not the only available option. Other options are so numerous and varied that a one-size-fits-all resource probably doesn’t exist.

IDENTITY

Don Maruska and Jay Perry’s “Take Charge of Your Talent: Three Keys to Thriving in Your Career, Organization and Life” explains an intriguing method for identifying direction (forthcoming, Berrett-Koehler, January, 2013). Defining talent as “the joyful demonstration of your unique abilities that benefit both you and the world,” it proposes recruiting a “Talent Catalyst” among people you know at home or work.

The catalyst follows a structured set of questions and listens without judging or giving advice. By providing support over an hour’s time, he or she guides you into hearing what you’re telling yourself. This well-tested service includes “speed coaching,” the conference equivalent, which allows attendees to speak with four coaches in an hour in a musical chairs environment. Maruska says the dynamic particularly appeals to people accustomed to using several pieces of technology in rapid succession to obtain information or resources they need.

SELF-RELIANCE

“The typical career counseling track has become longer and more stretched out,” says Ricky Cohen, “the exact opposite of the business market, where self-reliance and self-motivation are more expected than ever.” Cohen, chairman and CEO of The Conway Organization LLC in New York City, has guided thousands of employees with his own highly directive method, “Risk to Succeed,” throughout his entrepreneurial career.

In eschewing mentors as an outdated concept, Maruska would concur with Cohen that “the concept of reliance is absolutely inappropriate. Our global reality (is characterized by) driven, determined, highly focused individuals fighting for the same success we are.” Many of Cohen’s interactions seem to focus on developing the courage to improve a person’s career. Typically, the 90-minute meeting lays the groundwork, with a 60-minute follow-up. People who require a longer launch average 15-minute sessions every other week.

“While they sense caring, commitment and insights,” Cohen says, “there has to be hard work. You can have my attention and empathy but you have to accept my expectations and move on them.” Most people he assists know him and don’t pay a fee.

For clients with some experience, Tactical College Consulting LLC in Baltimore, Md., offers its hourly Applicant Positioning System service, completed in two to four weeks. “It typically consists of a meeting or two in person or via Skype,” reports president Craig Meister, “and then regular online editing of resumes and cover letters until both client and consultant are satisfied.”

“Take Charge of Your Talent” moves beyond personal development to recommending sharing your growth with people around you. Once you’ve found your way, you’re positioned to help create a “talent of culture” around you by asking others to “share their hopes” or inviting them to a test drive by being your talent catalyst.

Career counseling, an outmoded phrase, has been changing to accommodate a new reality. Marketing has joined reading and writing as essential skills. When you look for a person to help you find your way, ask how the service differs from even five or ten years ago. Listen for the terms “market” and “marketing,” along with an end-date. Keep interviewing services until you hear them.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at culp@workwise.net. © 2012 Passage Media.

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