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Self-Coaching: Make the most of your promotion

"Congratulations on your job promotion. Your new position provides many opportunities. Now you have visibility with our executive team." What do you do when you hear these words? Are you excited and appreciative of the promotion, your new opportunities and enjoying the vote of confidence that comes with a promotion? Are you also a bit nervous about the new challenges and wondering if you can live up to your new manager's expectations?

How can you make the best of the situation? What can you do to turn the odds in your favor so that you are successful in your new role, impress your manager and earn the respect of your new colleagues?

Here are pragmatic actions for you to secure the optimal win-win outcomes in your new role. You win when you get the most from your new position and your employer wins when you contribute the most to this new position. Take a few minutes to read below and start your new role under the best conditions.

Your first phone call after you accept the offer should be to your personal coach. Discuss your promotion, emotions and concerns with your professional coach. Hire a professional coach if you don't already have one. The easiest way to make the most of your new opportunities is to prepare by discussing with your coach. You don't run projects without a project manager, so why would you want to live your life without your life coach?

If you choose to not work with your coach on this opportunity then schedule some time for self-coaching. Self-coaching is less effective than working with a professional coach, but is a good second choice to get clarity and new perspectives. Put an hour on your calendar where you can enjoy time that is free of distractions, and follow the steps below.

How do you self-coach on your goals and obstacles as you think about your new job, transition from your old job, and learn the ropes of your new position? Here is how you self-coach in this situation. Take a sheet of paper or open your favorite word processor and list the questions below, with your answers. Remember that your goal here is to stimulate thinking and perspectives. There is no "wrong" answer. Some of these questions do not have ready-made answers, and it is OK for the question to roll around in your mind for the next few weeks.

Step One - Ask yourself these questions and write down at least one answer to gain clarity.

1. What emotions do you have about this promotion?

  1. Are you nervous? What exactly are you nervous about? Dig a bit deeper here to identify what you are nervous about and write down what you are nervous about. What can you do that would make you replace nerves with confidence?

  2. Are you just a bit afraid? Write down the reasons you are afraid. What would it take to become brave?

  3. Are you looking forward to the new job? What exactly about the new role is attractive for you? How can you exploit these attractions to maximum effect?

  4. What defines success for you in this job? What are the key points that in a year from now would make you say "This was a fabulous career move for me"?

2.What perceived or real evidence do you have about the new role? List all evidence here that you currently have access to, and you may find that your evidence does not match your current perceptions.

  1. Do you know that one of your new colleagues is hard to get along with? Why do you say that?
  2. Is your new manager a workaholic? What makes you say this?
  3. Will you work alongside experienced project managers that you respect and can learn from? How can you learn the most from them?
  4. Will you have the opportunity to work with senior leaders that you can network with for future promotions? How will you impress them?

Step Two. Think about each question and list alternative responses.

List many more answers for each question from step one. After you have written down all the answers that you can think of, ask yourself "What else?" This is your opportunity to change your perspective and stimulate new points of view. For example, if you listed a reason to be nervous of the new position as "I don't know the systems", then your first answer may be "I will learn the systems". Challenge your thinking with a "How will I learn the new systems?" and list specific actions that you can take to learn the new systems, such as "I will ask Sally over lunch".


Step three. Think about how your new manager and colleagues see you in this role, and list these questions, with answers:

  1. What defines success for your manager? (Hint go ahead and ask your manager once you start working with your new manager)
  2. How will your colleagues expect you to contribute?
  3. What do you peers, manager and senior managers find unacceptable in this situation?
  4. What would it take for your manager to see you as an exception performer in this role?


I can go on and on, but you get the idea. As you think of challenges or uncover surprises in your new job, ask open ended questions to yourself. "How else can I approach this?" "What can I do to change this?" "What would a successful person do in this situation?" "What does success look like in this situation?"

There are no guarantees in life. You are not guaranteed that your new position will be everything that you thought it would be. The best way to approach your new position is with humble confidence. Your new manager believes that you can do the job. Be confident that you can excel in this position while humbly learning the unique tricks of the trade. Look at your promotion as an adventure. You do everything you can to be successful, and also realize that your will face unexpected challenges. Determine now that these surprises will be adventures. You see, you get to choose if a surprise is challenge or a discovery when you are on an adventure. The success of many undertakings is determined by your attitude at the outset.

I immigrated to the USA in January 2001 with my wife and son. We did not know exactly what to expect and the only way we keep our sanity is by seeing our journey as an adventure. In the same way, when we drive to Boston or New York City where we don't know our way around, we affirm that we are undertaking adventures and don't know all of the places we will visit until we have been there. You can benefit from my experiences by seeing your promotion as the adventure that it is, by choosing your attitude and approach before you leave home.

I disagree with Bilbo Baggins who says that adventures are "Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!" Adventures are the spice of life and the best way to seize the opportunities that come with your new promotion is to view them as scenic photo opportunities on you journey. You may be late for dinner, but you will gather stories to amaze your family and friends at your next family reunion.

Copyright 2018 Wayne Botha Email Wayne Cell: 860.214.4897