21 Questions That Will Help You Determine Your Strengths, Goals and What You Should Learn Next

December 15, 2017

These 21 questions make for a great self-review and help you get to know yourself better.

Temet nosce.

That’s Latin for “know thyself.” And it’s one of the most prevalent messages in philosophies around the world on how to live a successful life.

Confucius preached it. Buddha preached it. Socrates preached it. And it certainly applies to your work life as well.

The better you know yourself, the easier time you’ll have maximizing your potential and happiness in your career. The question is – how do you learn more about yourself?

Well, in her LinkedIn Learning course Coaching for Results, Instructor Lisa Gates outlined 21 questions bosses should assign their employees to begin the coaching relationship. And, while it makes sense for bosses to assign these 21 questions to their employees, employees should be proactive and ask themselves these questions to reveal their strengths, goals and what to learn next.

So, schedule some time for yourself to sit down, go deep and answer these 21 questions as fully as and as honestly as you can. Just the process of doing so will give you more knowledge about yourself and will help you better plan out your next few months.

3 Questions That Assess Your Current Role

These questions assess the job you have – and how you could alter it to better fit your strengths. 

  1. What do you love about your work?
  2. What do you wish you could change?
  3. If you were to review your current job description, what components do you no longer do? What new responsibilities have you taken on?

8 Questions That Reveal Your Achievements and Goals

These questions identify your strengths, what your goals should be for the next year and what skills you should develop.

  1. What are your most satisfying achievements not just in your current position but in your entire career?
  2. What do you want to accomplish this year?
  3. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
  4. What support and/or resources do you need to achieve your immediate goals?
  5. What support and/or resources do you need to achieve your career aspirations?
  6. What is your ideal work?
  7. What skills do people acknowledge for you?
  8. What skills or talents would you like to be acknowledged for?

6 Questions That Identify Your Work Style

You can't ignore your personal life when analyzing your career. These six questions identify your work style and what factors outside the office are most affecting your work.

  1. How much of a priority are you in your own life?
  2. How well do you keep promises to yourself and others?
  3. How satisfied are you with your level of productivity?
  4. How well do you communicate with others?
  5. What areas of your life would you MOST like to improve?
  6. What routinely gets in your way?

4 Questions That Express Your Vision

Finally, it’s time to go big. What would you really like to accomplish in your career? What would you like your legacy to be? These questions get to that.

  1. If you were the CEO, where would you take this company?
  2. If you could change the world (and you can), what needs would you meet or what problem would you solve?
  3. What two steps could you take right now that would make the biggest difference in your life and work?
  4. Anything else?

How managers can use this list

As mentioned in the introduction, Gates suggests managers assign these questions to their employees. And it’s good advice, as it gives you great insight into what your employees want to accomplish.

There will be some employees who will resist answering these questions or they won't take the questions seriously. Push back and encourage them to take 30 minutes to really do this well (if they still refuse, it might not be worth the effort to coach them).

Bottom line, a big part of being your best self is really knowing yourself. And, a big part of being a good manager is really knowing your employees. In both cases, this list helps.

*Image from yuriz

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