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Career Conversation: It All Starts with a Question

Career development is one of the most misunderstood management activities today. Too frequently it’s all about the forms, checklists, and annual deadlines. But genuine development doesn’t happen like that. It happens a little bit, everyday. And it happens thought conversation.

In our research, we’ve found that managers don’t need to be suave, smooth, and rehearsed. A clumsy conversation is welcome if it’s based on an authentic interest in the employee. Through conversation, managers can help others reflect deeply, surface insights, identify actions, and establish momentum toward career goals. And it all starts with a question.

In honor of its annual Career Week, the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) partnered with Bev Kaye and me to conduct a survey designed to surface a variety of career-related issues. For me, the most fun part was collecting examples of some of the best career questions members have ever been asked.

So, this is less of a blog post and more of a “Top 10 List” of our favorite, freshest questions for getting a career conversation started.

  1. What about your work energizes you?
  1. On your 85th birthday, what do you want others to say about your accomplishments?
  1.  What’s the last thing you did to advance your career or improve yourself?
  1. What would you be doing if paying the bills wasn’t an issue?
  1. What does it mean to you to be satisfied at work?
  1. What have been your greatest accomplishments so far?
  1. What’s the greatest value that you bring to your work?
  1. What are you passionate about that you’re not pursuing?
  1. What’s your personal definition of success?
  1. Where are you playing it too safe?

Imagine what could happen if managers picked a question – any question – and just started the conversation!

What are the best questions you’ve ever been asked? What are the best questions you’ve ever asked?

This article was originally posted by ASTD in honor of 2012 Career Week.

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net


2 comments on “Career Conversation: It All Starts with a Question

  1. Joe Bittick on

    What about your work energizes you? People around me being successful with me.

    On your 85th birthday, what do you want others to say about your accomplishments? That I shared my accomplishments.

    What’s the last thing you did to advance your career or improve yourself? Woke up this morning. Career advancement or improving myself is a daily learning and applying what I learn experience.

    What would you be doing if paying the bills wasn’t an issue? Helping others achieve the same issue.

    What does it mean to you to be satisfied at work? If I agree to a career I must satisfy myself and help others to satisfy themselves.

    What have been your greatest accomplishments so far? Satisfying self.

    What’s the greatest value that you bring to your work? Self gratification. I set my values and bind them on only myself.

    What are you passionate about that you’re not pursuing? I pursue my passions if morally correct and deny immoral passions.

    What’s your personal definition of success? Have a roof over my head, cloths on my back and food on my table owing no man is a wonderful place to be but success comes by helping those around me reach the same good in life and them sharing with others.

    Where are you playing it too safe? As long as I am truthful I don’t need to play it safe.

    Reply

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