How To Ask For Coaching

Two doors of opportunity on a brick building. Left door is blue, right door is red.
Photo by Mike from Pexels  

You Have To Knock If You Want To Enter

I recently onboarded a new client who self-described as “super excited” to begin and confessed that he’s “been waiting forever for this opportunity.” Knowing that his organization has invested in coaching for many years, I was curious: “Why have you been waiting?” 

 His reply: “I didn’t know how to ask for it.” 

 Is that you, too? You see yourself as worthy of investment, but you’re afraid to ask, or baffled by the process? Or perhaps, like this new client, you’re waiting just outside the door for someone to notice your awesome potential because, well, it’s just so OBVIOUS you’re ready? 

 Truth is, no one can read your mind. If you want to “be in the room where it happens,” you must knock on that door and declare your intentions. 

 (But first, a note. Not everyone wants to move on and up, and that’s OKAY! There’s nothing wrong with being – dare I say it? – HAPPY in your current job. Without a core group of experienced, dependable, tenured team members, most managers would be stuck. If you are part of that core and your manager hasn’t shown you any appreciation lately, get on their case!)

 The Problem With Opportunity Is That It Requires Hard Work

A principal job of any leader is to hire, train, motivate, develop, and retain excellent people. What gets most of their attention, however, is fixing the things that are broken, burning, or squealing the loudest. 

Does this mean that you must sit around waiting for your boss to “have a quiet moment?” Not! 

YOU, not your manager, are responsible for your destiny. If you sit and wait for opportunity to knock, you may wait a long time.

 Like Happiness, Job Fulfillment does not fall from the sky. You’ll find it more often if you do the hard work to create it for yourself! Here are: 

11 Tips To Advance Your Career

1. Take responsibility for yourself. Remember the saying, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me?” Don’t blame others for your problems or lack of opportunity. If you were a manager, would you want to hire a person with a reputation for making the boss a scapegoat?

2. Figure out why you’re unhappy (if you are) in your current role. Is it because…

  • You are a negative person who is always unsatisfied? If so, getting a new job won’t help. Go back to #1 and read archives of this newsletter for happiness tips.
  • You’re bored? Ask your manager what you can take off their desk – which helps both of you!
  • You’re in the wrong job based on your talents & interests? Whose problem is that, sweet pea?
  • Your boss truly is a sadistic or incompetent jerk? Stop making excuses. Either hire an assassin or update your CV and get out of there! ** 

3. Take charge of your career. Define your short term (1-2 yrs) and longer term (3-5 yrs) goals with a focus on realistic earnings and the qualities you seek in a job, e.g., structure vs flexibility, opportunity, decision-making, positive culture, etc.

4. Define your motivations. Do you want more money or responsibility, less pressure, more or less people contact, project work, independence, detail, room for creativity? If you understand and seek to honor your needs and boundaries, you’ll be more satisfied.

5. Consider the merits of lateral movement. A different job on the same level can open new learning and round out your experience for a promotion down the road. Even the same job in a different environment can reenergize you.

6. Gather other perspectives. Poll your direct manager, HR rep, and/or trusted colleagues for a reality check. Where do you need to develop for that next move? Are your qualifications (education, experience, etc.) adequate for what you want? Then ask for support.

7. Apply for other jobs. If you’re currently content yet curious if you’re ready for a jump, what have you got to lose by interviewing? If you don’t get the position, ask for feedback to help you be more prepared next time. Bonus: the practice of interviewing helps you be a better candidate when the juicy opportunities show up!

 8. Get details. When you’re targeting a promotion within the department, ask your manager, director, or HR Rep for specific requirements you must meet, both objective (numbers) and subjective (skills and behaviors). Target projects or assignments that will help you grow in those areas.

9. Do well what you’re paid to do now. While keeping your eye on the prize, don’t forget that everything you do in your current role is helping build Brand You. Make sure you have a reputation for delivering great outcomes and dancing well with change.

10. Nurture a network. The mechanics of job search – both internal and external – may be all digital, but most people are astounded to learn what a huge percentage of new job connections show up through relationships. Do people know, like, and trust you?

11. Work with a coach! If your organization leverages coaching (internal or external), learn how that process works, create a written plan for your development, then sit down with your boss or HR/OD representative and make the case for them to invest in you.**

And if your organization does not yet have a coaching program in place, let’s talk! I can help you create a proposal for investment in coaching. OR maybe you need to   take matters into your own hands and engage a coach directly. Start of the year is a great time to request investment, while the development budget is full.


**You’re Worth It, I’m Just Sayin

Remember, Leadership is not about a title: Anyone can be a leader who takes responsibility for lifting others and themselves.


Optimism & Happiness will better support you to take positive action in your career. To remind you of the “how to” of Happiness, Post this summary of The 13 Principles of Happiness on your board and try one or two new ideas on this year!