How to make the right investments in yourself

We’ve all been there; in the same job for awhile, yes it pays the bills and we like the people we work with, yet we have this feeling it can be so much more enjoyable and we could contribute so much if only we were given the chance.

By the early 1990s I had been a Manger of Operations for close to ten years. My government organization found itself on the precipice of a massive change driven by an external decision to send up a new satellite. We had to replace the entire data centre I manged, all of the user workstations, our network infrastructure, and all of the software we used. And we had three years in which to get it done. I was asked to be the lead software engineer (my background prior to my ops role).

The opportunity to contribute in new and meaningful ways to a new strategic direction for our Canadian government organization was literally handed to me on a silver platter. It was, and still is, both the biggest and the most important thing I have ever had the privilege to help build. It was also what enabled me to accidentally fall into realizing work could actually be fun and not just something I did to pay the bills. I found my happy place. We got to do and try things that had never been done before. For example, we designed and built our own early version of what is now known as Service Oriented Architecture which underpins the software to drive business on the Internet. We came up with that innovation and more, mostly out of fear and necessity – the fear we could not get finished in three years if we did things the way we always had, and the necessity of having to solve what at first felt like an unsolvable set of wicked problems.

I was hooked. I could not go back to my old job which is what I was offered when it was over. No longer having a role that would satisfy my newfound love for what work could be, I left the government when I delivered the last part of the system I was responsible for in 1995.

Luck. Fear. Necessity. It might work to create breakthroughs in tough circumstances, but it’s not a strategy for determining what makes us happy at work, nor in identifying where each of us can best contribute to organizational growth, innovation, and strategy.

Career development, all too often, is something many of us don’t do very well, either because we don’t know where to start, or our employers are not willing to invest in us, or they are but leave it to us to figure it out for ourselves, or they fund skills development for our current role.

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to an assessment that provided the insights people can use to make career development choices relevant to them. Those insights crystallized why I felt the way I did way in 1995. Had I known, I am certain it would have affected my professional development choices, all of which I funded on my own ever since. It would also most likely have led me to invest more in coaching and mentoring.

We’d like to help you get the insights you need to make better choices in how to make the right investments in your own career development that is backed by science.

Coaching Matters

The benefits of hiring a coach include making better decisions around competency development, building your confidence and your value proposition to employers, enhancing communication skills, improving decision-making, and so on.

According to Randstad, nearly everyone sees coaching as valuable.

But how do you decide which type of coaching is best for you? Is coaching just about overcoming your weaknesses? What if it were also about identifying and capitalizing on your strengths? What if it could help you maximize your contributions to your organization’s growth, innovation, and strategy?

Perhaps the most important question is – do we really know what would make us happy at work? I found out my answer accidentally. You don’t have to wait for an happy accident that may never happen.

How do we find our happy place?

I define the happy place at work for me as when I get to do things that maximize what I am naturally good at, augmented by the competencies I have developed, to make a difference for my organization and its customers. You might have a different definition and I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

With this assessment finding our happy place is based on science and decades of data.

Our ability to maximize our contributions requires we be in the right role to leverage our strengths. We can help you identity your strengths with an Individual Strategic Contribution Assessment (ISCA). An ISCA assesses us on three dimensions:

  1. Attachment: are we more relationship-oriented or content-oriented?
  2. Exploration: are we more exploratory or control and optimizing focused?
  3. Managing Complexity: are we more of a specialist or more big-picture/generalist?

Attachment and Exploration get at how we think about and how we solve problems.

The ISCA report is accompanied by a Competencies Profile Report; there are thirty-eight different competencies that apply in every workplace. How exactly these competencies manifest will be different for each of us. This report provides insights into how they manifest for your profile.

Targeted Coaching and Competency Development

While coaching matters, getting the right coach for your specific context matters more. Hiring a coach is a consequential decision, and not just for the financial and time investment it will take, as it will reverberate in other choices you make afterwards, and hence the opportunities you will be a position to leverage, for years to come

Coaching and competency development have become major foci of investments for organizations over the past couple of decades as they came to understand the costs and risks associated with losing talented people to the competition.

When you sign-up to The Hive to find a coach and complete a profile, our proprietary matching algorithm will identify coaches who might be a good fit for you based on matching their profile with yours. No other platform offers that.

Unlike the world-wide-web you will NEVER be solicited by a Coach on The Hive as you determine which Coach’s you want to connect to after they show up as match based on your profile.

If you choose our optional assessment, along with your ISCA and Competency Profile reports, we provide a My Competencies Profile Workbook to help you identify your current competencies and makes plans for the ones you want to further enhance or start developing to maximize your contributions to an organization’s growth, innovation, and strategy. This will enable you to make better choices for your targeted investments in your coaching and competency development choices.

If you don’t have support from your organization, or are in between jobs, or a freelancer, the good news is you can get access the same tools top organizations use to make professional development investment decisions so you make the same better professional development decisions for your own career.

In summary:

  1. An ISCA provides a science-based assessment of you across three dimensions – Attachment, Exploration, and Managing Complexity
  2. The Competencies profile Report provides insights into how thirty-eight different competencies that apply in every workplace manifest for your profile
  3. The My Competencies Profile Workbook helps you identify your current competencies and makes plans for the ones you want to further enhance or start developing to maximize your contributions to an organization’s growth, innovation, and strategy by making targeted investments in yourself

Getting Started

To get started on finding your coaching matches you need to create your profile.

To get started on maximizing your personal and professional potential with our optional low cost assessment (shopping cart to be added soon so you can direct purchase it), contact our Chief Strategy Officer, Larry Cooper.

About The Hive Professional Network

At The Hive, we are committed to providing people and organizations with the insights, coaching, and mentoring they need to become who they are meant to be so they can realize their true potential in work and in life. To do this we are building an ecosystem for coaches and those seeking coaches to find their perfect match through our proprietary matching algorithm, unique platform, and strategic partnerships.

Find your Hive

Are you looking for a Coach? Join The Hive to find a Coach to help you reach personal and professional objectives.

Are you a Coach? Join The Hive and get set to take your coaching business to a whole new level in 2023 and beyond.


Larry Cooper is the Chief Strategy Officer and A/CTO at The Hive Professional Network.

2 thoughts on “How to make the right investments in yourself

Add yours

    1. Thank you Thang – I am so glad it resonated with you. What stood out most? Have you signed up yet? We’d love to have you in our community.


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