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The Career Adventure

Increasing complexity and diminishing workplace security define our society. We live in a time in which straight careers with long lasting company affiliation have been replaced by an increasing number of patchwork careers. Vocational training and retirement in the same company, as it was normal for our grandparents, is hard to imagine these days. Employees are required to position themselves in harsh competition on the job market by having a clear self-concept and an effective self-marketing strategy. At the same time, an intensified search for identity, an authentic lifestyle and a better expression of individual potential can be observed -- a combination that poses challenges and opportunities alike.

For that purpose, professional support in the form of career coaching can be very helpful. When searching for professional re-orientation, clients often find themselves between three areas: their own personality with its values, competencies and potential needs to be aligned with their wishes and visions and with the concrete opportunities on the job market.

Whereas a first impulse in such a situation is often to look for options and possibilities offered by the market, career coaching puts top priority on systematic introspection instead -- focusing on personality, values and potential while clearly distinguishing between qualification and competency. As opposed to qualifications, competencies only become visible in the "doing." Potential new employers are mainly interested in these competencies, which leads to the fact that by clearly highlighting one's core competencies in a recruitment process, a clear differentiation from competitors is achieved.

Why is this so important? As mentioned before, the term "workplace security" has somewhat gone down the drain. This outdated concept of finding security on the "outside" needs to be replaced by self-assurance and an increased personal responsibility for one's own employability.

This being said, many people I meet are not even aware of what their core competencies really are and are far from having a clear self-concept. The main reason for that is the fact that up to 70 per cent of our abilities are acquired informally -- and therefore not in education or training but on the job (Bernd Overwien, 2005). Career coaching creates clarity and improves self-assurance simultaneously by systematically analyzing previous achievements and deriving competencies and skills from them.

According to many clients, this process can be described as an exciting journey of discovery with a very encouraging effect: they become aware of their unique personal features and core competencies, can position themselves effectively by expressing them clearly and gain more clarity about their own calling and the options for living it.

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