In a previous blog, I wrote about how a good career coach will explain very clearly that any plans you make should be framed with realistic goals and expectations.
Realism doesn’t mean dashing your dreams. It doesn’t involve someone telling you what you can’t do.
Realism can be incredibly empowering. It’s what drives you to put your plans in place.
It’s your own, honest evaluation of what you need to do to fill in the gaps, build the knowledge and skills needed and prepare for your next move.
It’s also about preventing disappointment further down the line.
It’s vital you’re honest with yourself about the pros, cons and restrictions of a chosen path, so that you can feel empowered to make informed decisions.
For example, do you want to work in the NHS, but know that shift work won’t suit your circumstances? There are lots of other roles in the NHS or different areas of healthcare that you could consider.
Realism when exploring your career options
This involves looking at pre-requisites for certain paths, and necessary steps.
A job and person description will outline what is needed for a post. A coach can help you explore your knowledge, skills and experience to see how you match these.
Certain roles may require specific qualifications, and may involve university or training. Talking honestly with your coach about whether these are realistically obtainable can be an important part of coaching.
Realism and motivation
Realism can also be about exploring if you have the commitment, drive, energy and motivation to follow a path that may have many sometimes complex components to it.
This can be seeking an internal move, a new job or undertaking new qualifications or other self-development.
You may be flushed with enthusiasm but can you stick the course to your goal? Indeed, is the goal itself ‘realistic?’
Often a coach laying out the options will be enough for you to decide that or help you to realise what is required.
Some career paths may have particular demands that must be met – such as the fitness requirements for the police or the armed forces not accepting a person with particular types of condition such as autism, but there are many others, less clear-cut that may need to be explored with a coach.
But realism is also a complex and evolving idea and social attitudes can affect what is defined as realistic.
The England women’s team won the European trophy, yet only a few years ago this was unimaginable.
And without us being ambitious, challenging ourselves, challenging others, or us simply wanting to change, perhaps we would never progress?