Situation

“Lisa,” an HR executive rock star, was at a crossroads. She had taken some time off to recharge and assess her next career move. Should she pursue her next great corporate leadership opportunity or consider something very different as an executive coach, a profession she was drawn to and consistent with the results of her assessments?

Strategy

We decided to focus first on analyzing her most recent organizational and career changes. Were they perhaps subconsciously driving or influencing her decision to explore something outside of corporate leadership (this is often the case), or was she being drawn to coaching by an inner voice to follow her intuition (passion)? Then we focused on a deeper dive into self-awareness (values, interests, skills, and “perfect work” exercises) that largely supported her inner voice, but something even more powerful happened during our work.

Outcomes

Lisa had mentioned on several occasions that her HR career just unfolded through a series of mostly unrelated assignment/job duty changes, internal and external moves, and promotions. They weren’t really planned – yet she felt accomplished, and she was a well-respected leader in the field.

One exercise, based on an article I wrote titled “A Light Bulb” Moment – Inspired Work” led her to “connect the dots”. Lisa’s accomplished career wasn’t in fact an unplanned series of mostly unrelated assignment/job duty changes, internal and external moves, and promotions (as she had described to me). Rather, she was being guided all along; it was her spirit, that inner voice that led her to a career in human capital that was aligned with transformative work that spoke to her over 20+ years ago. What a wonderful example of the power of looking inward (vs just outward) in career exploration; the threads/motivators/emotions that link our earliest and most important life and work accomplishments can tell us a lot about that inner spirit, or intuition that has and will continue to guide us. We just need to tune in to it.