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Using ‘peak moments’ to make the right career decision


Everyone has a memory that they will always remember for being a particularly joyous or exhilarating moment in their lives. When the going gets tough, it helps to look back on such moments to remind ourselves how capable we are of achieving great things. This is true in both our personal lives and our working lives, but in the frantic pace of the modern business environment, finding time to focus on our proudest moments is becoming an increasingly rare occurrence.

Looking within ourselves to realise our core values and purpose is essential, according to Insight psychologist and coach Helen Whitney. During a recent co-coaching event attended by members of the South Wales coaching network, Helen explained her process for helping clients to define authentic and rewarding career goals by encouraging them to talk about a number of ‘peak moments’.

These are the moments we look back on and remember as life affirming, rewarding experiences – the times that “make you tick”, according to Helen. Although we usually recall a sense of “time whizzing by” after these peak moments take place, others define them as times that, although not immediately stimulating, are looked back on with a sense of pride, accomplishment and positivity when given time for reflection.

During this exercise, the client should talk about at least two peak moments from both their personal lives and their working lives. While the client is talking, the coach should make a note of any key words or phrases that suggest a particular value or purpose that the participating client holds dear.

After the client has finished talking about their peak moments, the coach will share the words and phrases that they have noted down and ask the client to circle the ten values that they regard to be most relevant to their own interests.

These are the individual’s defining values, from which an overall career purpose can be construed. Next, the coach should encourage the client to narrow down their values even further, choosing the five that matter the most to them. Focusing on these, the coach should ask the client which are currently present in their lives and which are missing. The client may find that a number of values they once enjoyed are now missing, and discussions can begin that will help them to rediscover those lost values and obtain true purpose and job satisfaction by making a change in their career, whether it’s a promotion or a transition into a new role.

Those who attended the co-coaching event found this process to be an incredibly fruitful and engaging experience, coming away from the session with several ideas about how to apply the concept of peak moments to their own coaching processes.

If you would like to attend one of Insight’s regular co-coaching events then please get in touch with us at hello@insight-hrc.co.uk, or join us on Twitter @Insight_HRC.

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