Much of my career has involved recruitment and selection and development of staff including six years years running graduate recruitment for a global bank. This lead to colleagues asking me to ‘chat’ to their children but the sub-text was often clear – ‘tell’ them to find a safe, secure job, preferably following in their Dad’s foot-steps.

‘Following Dad’ was often the last thing they wanted to do and I quickly learned that trying to ‘tell’ them anything was a complete was of time. Instead I encouraged them to think for themselves and encourage’s them to ‘take charge’ of their lives. We looked at what they had done, what they liked and what they were good at. It may seem obvious but finding a career where you are doing something you enjoy and are good at, usually leads to being happy and successful.

There was also pressure to ‘get a job’ that led some to take the first job they were offered. I encouraged those I coached to view the selection process as two way (although it may not seem like it). We went further, working through the different elements of the selection process with a target of not just getting a job offer, but getting two. That put them ‘in control’ and sometimes their decisions were a surprise. One left the family business where he was the anointed successor to teach. Several years later he returned – a very different person. He had made a success of teaching but returned and was there – second time around – because he wanted to be.

Another arrived saying he was there because he Dad said I could help him get a job as an accountant (like him). The idea that you should do something you enjoyed was a revelation. We started down the track of finding a job aligned to his passion but in parallel he found the confidence to speak out in the large bureaucratic organisation where he worked. In the end he did get the opportunity to work in an industry he loved but turned it down in favour of staying where he was. By speaking out his current management saw his potential and decided to invest in him – promotion, new roles and interest assignments followed.

When I coach someone I’m never sure where we’ll end up – and that doesn’t matter, provided they are confident and happy in what they are doing.