Career coaching is the perfect window from which to view the fifth deadly sin in our series, lust. Not to be boring, but let’s take the sexual connotation out and give lust it’s second definition–an overwhelming desire or craving, or an intense eagerness or enthusiasm. In other words, a passion. Recently, I had the opportunity to do some career coaching with a passionate but frustrated young actor, and to help her see the some of the pluses and minuses of her passion for her career.
The Actor’s Story
Now in her mid twenties, my client is intelligent, well-educated, and totally passionate about and focused on her acting career. For the last ten years she hasn’t seriously considered any career but acting, and in fact, has proclaimed loudly to one and all her dedication to her art. The problem is, despite taking all the necessary actions and having talent, her acting career isn’t progressing. So where has her passion helped and where has it hurt?
The Pluses Of Having A Passion
For successful career coaching you need to find out what your client is passionate about. If she doesn’t already know, you can use assessments and then work with her to figure it out. But what are the benefits of having a passion? I’ll use my actor client as an example:
1. Passion can function as a huge motivation to do whatever is necessary to indulge that passion and bring it to fruition. For an actor, that means doing all the legwork—getting headshots and resumes, taking acting classes, checking audition advertisements, etc. etc. etc. No matter what your client’s passion is, there are steps for her to take to move her along that path. In your career coaching, you help strategize the steps, and then her passion plus some accountability from you will provide the impetus to carry them out.
2. Passion keeps you focused. When your client feels passionate about something, it is harder to lose her way and get side-tracked. For instance, my client is still acting on advice she got years ago not to do any “day job” (the flexible non-acting work that actors do to support themselves) that she actually enjoys, so she won’t get side-tracked from her passion for acting.
3. Passion can keep your client from giving up when the going gets tough.
4. It is often a joyous experience to be living your passion.
Career Coaching On The Minuses Of Having A Passion
1. Lust for a particular career can put blinders on your client. My actor client was so focused on acting that she had never been willing to explore other possibilities. Career coaching for her means helping her see other strengths she can use and other possible directions to go in.
2. While passion can help your client carry on through rough times, it can also make her stubbornly hang on to career aspirations that aren’t realistic given her abilities, the economy, or whatever. Sometimes you need to coach your client to move on and at least try something new.
3. If your client has had to defend her passion against judgment by family and friends, she may find it harder to tell them that her feelings have changed than to just stick with her original passion.
4. It can be difficult for your client to objectively measure her ability to succeed in her passion.
In career coaching your job is to coach not on the obvious, but on the limitations and the new possibilities. When you get your client to see both the costs and the benefits of her passion, you free her to see opportunities that exist beyond the path she has been following.
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Dorine G Kramer
JTS Strategy and Accountability Coach