Careers have become incredibly complex in the 21st-century global economy. Today, a career is marked by personal ownership — no longer a lockstep progression to the top — and skilled navigation through uncharted opportunity.
As described by Cathy Benko in her recent book, Mass Career Customization, the career ladder has morphed into the career lattice. “No longer a straight climb up the corporate ladder, careers are more commonly an undulating journey of climbs and lateral moves,” she wrote. In addition, the global economy poses enormous potential for personal opportunity, which is driving a global war for talent.
This intersection between the desire for personal career flexibility and the global potential for growth and development demands that each enterprise engage and retain key talent through flexible career paths and skilled business coaching. Having the opportunity to develop a career with a business coach can be the one connection to the organization that strengthens both the contribution to work and employee engagement. However, reaching each individual with a business coach relationship in the global enterprise can be difficult, as it’s often complicated by language, culture, time zones and distance, among others.
Scalable business coaching offers a powerful solution, harnessing the capabilities of the Internet for personal one-on-one and peer coaching sessions. A business coaching portal can include opportunities for self-development, access to professional or leadership coaching, links to internal job opportunities for career mobility, virtual workshops for peer coaching, coach training and internal capabilities. Within each of these might be:
• Self-Development: Self-assessments, 360-degree feedback for leadership, learning, and development programs, online career goal development and the creation of a career plan.
• Individual Business Coaching: One-on-one coaching to encourage ownership and personal navigation of career paths, enable internal mobility, develop leadership capability of top talent, and support direction to external opportunity if desired.
• Virtual Career Development Workshops: Sessions facilitated by a coach to discuss common career planning and development, sharing experiences and best practices among colleagues.
• Coach Training: Workshops and training to extend coaching in all relationships to foster teamwork, manage and inspire high performance, and work effectively with others internal and external to the organization.
•Links to Related Internal Capabilities: Competency frameworks and processes, internal job postings, articles related to coaching, learning portal, requirements for internal and international transfers and access to career networks.
One discussion that often comes up is the difference between coaches, mentors and counselors. These are highly different, yet overlapping roles. According the International Coach Federation, business coaches establish an ongoing partnership with clients through listening, observation and customization of their approach, enabling clients to identify their own career solutions and strategies, based on the belief that each individual has the skills, resources and talent to achieve their goals.
Mentorship, on the other hand, is a voluntary relationship between a more experienced mentor with a less experienced protégé, and a counselor is one who balances performance support on a specific career role or assignment with performance evaluation.
In our complex global economy, global workers demand flexibility, scalability and job sculpting to ensure that they are developing and applying their strengths and talents every day and that their career matches their life goals and aspirations. The challenge is whether global organizations can flex and scale their employment processes, procedures and opportunities in a new business model that matches the demands of today’s talent.