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When people hire an interim manager, they’re looking for experience: someone who’s done what they need before and done it well.

For you as an interim manager, this means that whatever you’ve done well in the past, you’re likely to get hired to do it over and over again, solving the same kind of problems using the same management style and methodology. So where’s the career progression?

As a self-employed person, you don’t have the luxury of an employer supporting your learning and development–personally or financially. You also don’t have access to 360-degree feedback or other leadership development tools. Combine this with doing the same job over and over, and you’re likely to end up leaning more and more heavily on your strengths while not addressing your weaknesses. This won’t make you marketable if you ever want to return to permanent employment.

That means it’s vital to keep investing in your own development, asking your clients for feedback, and working with your colleagues to make sure you’re moving towards your ultimate career goal. If you plan to stay in interim management, this means studying best practice across sectors through professional bodies, or how to get the most out of your leadership style and experience in your current roles.

If you’re eventually looking to return to permanent employment, find a mentor or coach with a broader understanding of leadership styles, who can teach you the flexibility you need to make use of them, as well as acting as a sounding-board for ideas.

There’s no reason career coaches have to be only for permanent employees. For most interim managers, the main block to investing in their own development is money. But if you focus on just developing your offer rather than your business, it’ll cost you next to nothing–and it’s a vital investment for your future.

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