When we evaluate the entire capital stack that supports our clients’ lives, the value of human capital is a substantial component.[i] Indeed, we often find the present value of future cash flows derived from wages, bonuses, business distributions and other forms of executive compensation to dwarf our client’s financial assets. Thus, fine tuning and optimizing one’s earnings are every bit as important as running efficient and resilient investment portfolios.
So its unsurprising that Institutional Investor called executive and career coaching “the most overlooked career hack.” In the same edition, the publication named Sloan as one of the six Leading Coaches in Asset Management. (While Sloan predominately serves clients in the asset management business, we oriented the Q and A below to be applicable across a wide variety of industries.)
Flatrock: Let’s start with your clients “building your professional brand”. What do you mean by that?
Sloan: The average person graduating college today is going to have 12 jobs in their career. Because of this, building your own professional brand is more important than ever. Consider, what is your brand with the people at your work and what is your external brand in the market? Its important to be continually forming and nurturing relationships both inside and outside of your company. Make a list of them and keep track of interactions. Make sure you have a touch point with people in your network outside your company at least one time a year (and not just the holiday card!) People in your network should know what you do professionally, how you can help them and how they can help you.
Flatrock: What is the most prevalent career mistake you see?
Sloan: People become too comfortable and afraid to take career risks. The result is that often they stay in a role for too long. They stop learning/growing professionally and their market value decreases. There is always risk in leaving but often larger risks in staying.
Keep in mind that the flip side of the decision to leave is the decision to stay and BOTH should be made proactively. The decision to stay should never be made by default: if you are not going to leave then there need to be strong professional reasons to stay.
Flatrock: How can professionals be more thoughtful about these risks?
Sloan: A critical part is knowing yourself and what drives you. What is the vision for your life and your career? It’s important to understand what your career priorities are, what tradeoffs you are willing to make and what personal, financial and market constraints exist. What would your ideal role be if you had no constraints? I love the concept of Zone of Genius-it is the highest ratio of success and satisfaction for time spent at work. What is your Zone of Genius and how often do you achieve it? It is important to understand these concepts and what they mean for managing your human capital.
Flatrock: How does a coach help and where can people learn more?
Sloan: A career coach will ask the right questions to discover the answers to these questions. They will help you create a plan to achieve your career priorities within your constraints while spending as much time as possible in your Zone of Genius. It is often beneficial to work with a coach who understands your industry and can provide advice with context. To find a qualified coach who is a match for your needs I recommend CoachSelect, a B2C/B2B coaching and leadership development platform that matches individuals within a large, curated pool of top tier coaches.
Thanks Sloan. Your human capital requires the same diligent attention as your financial capital to ensure it efficiently supports your best life.
Markets fluctuate, priorities change. We’re here to help.
[i] Human capital refers to the collective skills, knowledge, experience, and attributes possessed by individuals within a society or organization. It represents the productive capacity and economic value that individuals contribute through their education, training, talents, and abilities.