Here’s a screen grab from my favorite mind map app, freemind, for the book structure I have in mind.
And what follows are some explanatory comments about this structure. Your feedback is also welcome.
Template 1 Reader:
The book is aimed at mid-career IT professionals who are looking for “greater career success” but find themselves approaching, or are already in, a process of career transition.
(Sometimes ‘career change’ is used in preference to ‘career transition’. You can see both used on the home page. I think that ‘career change’ is the harder of the two because it involves leaving one career and somehow carving out another. ‘Career transition’, on the other hand, is often a reflection of a more pragmatic approach to what a person desires from their work, measured alongside what’s possible.)
The book’s ideal reader is someone with about ten or more years in an Information Technology (IT) role – long enough to experience a career path but short enough to change it! People outside of the IT industry may also find the self-coaching tools to be of interest but as my professional experience has been in IT and in education, those are the areas I’m able to speak about with some authority.
Michael Levin’s observations that most (all?) successful ghostwritten business books have one core idea got me thinking about this one. What exactly is the takeaway for readers?
It’s not the five rules per se – they are the process, not the message. No, if I think deeply about the book’s core message it comes down to a belief that you can become proficient at coaching yourself.
In the words of the Outward Bound organization’s founder, Kurt Hahn:
“We are all better than we know. If only we can be brought to realise this, we may never be prepared to settle for anything less.”
And ‘the inner sensei‘ meme? I’m not 100% certain but this is probably going to be one of the ways in which the book is marketed, since my thinking and experiences have been influenced by spending 20 years in Japan.
I agree with this advice so there will be no preface, forward or introduction, in Mark’s book.
Chapter One – Cliffhanger Opening:
When “talking story” for this first draft, I’ll begin chapter one by describing the most impactful and dramatic self-coaching career event from my own experience. Applying the benefit of hindsight and a compassionate perspective on personal failings and limitations, this chapter is designed to help readers recall their own ‘crossing the career Rubicon’ moments. Most people can probably come up with at least one such watershed episode.
The chapter then continues with some biographical details that will help readers better understand how my self-coaching journey evolved over 20+ years in various IT roles, and in different countries.
Chapter Two – 7 Career Change Clangers:
By ‘clangers’ I mean omissions, mistakes, disasters – the things that people do in ‘career change’ mode but come to regret sooner or later. Some of these are avoidable while others require managing (and self-coaching!) as they unfold and play out in a person’s life and career choices.
The idea here is to collect a bunch of these mishaps, select the top nine or so, and then explain how they derail and hold people from meaningful career changes.
Chapter Three – Introducing Self-Coaching and the Just Five Rules Process:
Here’s where readers are introduced to self-coaching, the ‘inner sensei’ metaphor, and the just five rules process.
Chapter Four – The Inner Sensei:
Here’s where I get my 15 pages of fame!
The ‘inner sensei’ is what emerges from letting a Northern Irishman live, learn and earn in Japan for two decades.
Chapters Five to Nine – Using the Five Rules as Tools for Change:
These chapters discuss in detail how each of the five rules can be used to self-coach a career change.
None are guaranteed to be magic bullets for success but when allied with goals and your own inner sensei, they become uplifting catalysts of change.
Chapter Ten – Parting Thoughts:
This chapter wraps up the book. It will probably include a landing page link to this site, along with access to interviews and other resources.
Well, that’s the proposed structure.
It’s time to “talk story.”
PS – I’ve added an email signup box to the top right corner – this service replaces the Google-owned Feedburner service which seems to be on the way out…
Sign up for free excerpts to the book (be patient!), access to interview clips that may not be on the main site, and various early bird offers.