Contacting a coach for the first time – I know how it feels. You’re putting yourself out there. You are not hiding away, as you may secretly want to do. Therefore it can be daunting. Contacting a coach can seem like a really big deal, you’re admitting that you need help, that perhaps you have a problem.
You feel you are putting yourself up for scrutiny.
You’re going to have to think hard, answer lots of questions, be honest, maybe admit some hard truths.
You’ll have to face the facts and the reality of your situation.
You’ll have to do some work – and you may wonder if you’re ready for it.
Are you ready to share your secrets and dreams with a total stranger?
The thing is, there can be such a relief and release in talking to a stranger. You can be honest. It’s a non-judgemental environment.
You can really let it out and talk about what you want. Maybe you want to make more money, you want to be valued for your skills. You know you could do better and have more.
There’s nothing like getting it all out there and then with the help of your coach, unpicking it, working out what to focus on and what to let go of.
Coaching is about taking action , moving forwards.
The coach’s sole goal is to help you and make things easier for you. You’ll be challenged, you’ll have to do some work – but with support and empathy and cheerleading from the sidelines.
I love to organise and plan. It makes me feel good. I love a new to-do list, getting it all down on paper, getting my head together. I like sorting things out, the feeling of ticking something off a list. And I love a good makeover.
If a book I’m reading mentions anything to do with decluttering, or someone getting their life together and having a makeover, I’m thrilled. Particularly if it’s about the space they are in. Sorting out a room or a house, cleaning, repairing, chucking out old, broken, useless stuff. Sprucing it up, giving it a refresh. A bit of paint here, a good clean, moving the furniture around. That stuff sucks me in.
This love of organisation and decluttering comes into my career change coaching
work. I love helping career change clients to sort through the fog and gain
Get rid of the murky thoughts
They’re overwhelmed, stressed, with lots of thoughts and ideas milling
around in their heads. Quite often it’s a bit murky, a bit negative. Sometimes
there are some old beliefs in there – reminding them that they are not good
enough, or what they should or shouldn’t be doing.
More often that not, these clients have some great ideas and dreams. But these are clouded by feelings of inadequacy, a lack of confidence, a fear of failure.
So – I work through all this with a client.
Like we would do tackling a house makeover – we sort stuff out. Then we
clean it up. We get rid of the stuff we don’t need, the thoughts or beliefs
that are dragging us down or making us feel bad. I work with a client to really
understand what is behind a particular negative belief.
For example if they say, ‘but I’m not creative’ – what do they really
mean? Have they had a bad experience where they think they’ve failed or someone
has told them they are not creative? How has this affected their thinking going
forwards? Can they think of any time where in fact they have been
Meanwhile, we gain clarity. We sort through the mess, sort through the ideas. I aim to get to the heart of what a client wants, what do they really want to do?
I encourage my clients to let the unhelpful thoughts go, and try to see things from a new perspective. What skills do they actually have? Are they transferable? Which skills could they see themselves enjoying using in a different role?
And finally we get organised, we plan. What steps does my client need to take to get them to where they want to be? Can we break down each step into even smaller, less intimidating steps?
We work out what the client can do in the next week, a small doable step that’s going to move them forwards in their shift. And we repeat this over time, keeping moving forwards.
I read an article where a reader was asking for advice. Is wanting to change career at 30 years old a crazy idea? Basically, is it too late?
Here are my thoughts.
Firstly, you’re probably likely to be working for many more years to come. Do you really want to stay doing what you’re doing for 10 or 20 more years? 5 more years? 1 more year?
Secondly, what are your motivations for wanting to change career? For instance, is it that you don’t get on with your team or manager?
Do you feel that you’ve grown out of the role, it doesn’t interest you any more or sit with your values?
Are you bored, do you feel you’ve learned all there is to know and you’re not growing?
Maybe you’ve always had a secret desire to do a particular job, become a writer, teach, do social work, and you’re realising it’s now or never?
Or is it something else?
Whatever it is, it’s worth taking the time to uncover what’s really going on. Does it definitely mean a career change is the way forward?
If it’s a team or manager issue, can that be addressed somehow? If you have an HR department could they help? Could a side step into a different role in your company be a possibility? Do you actually need to leave, or if you enjoy the work, could the situation be improved?
If you feel that you’ve grown out of your role or you’re feeling bored, is it something you could speak about with your manager, HR or someone senior in the company? Could you change projects, start something new, move into a new team?
That restless feeling of boredom, could a more creative or entrepreneurial pursuit or hobby give you the freshness and excitement you need? Could you start something on the side; a blog, creating artwork, learning a language, volunteering, selling something you’ve created or can offer? Would that be enough to satisfy that urge?
Having a steady, slightly boring job can be an asset if you need the energy for writing a novel on the side, or starting your own small business or freelancing project.
This secret desire you’ve been pushing down for a particular job or career, what does the reality look like? Do you know anyone doing the work, or could you be put in contact with someone? Is there anybody you can speak to and get a realistic view of what the job entails? How do they really spend their time, what training did they need, how do they get started? Does the reality fit with the image you have?
Can you break down the steps you’d need to take to get there? Does it fire you up or seem like too much hard work?
Wanting to change career at any age isn’t crazy, in fact it’s pretty common. But not everyone goes ahead and does it. Because it seems daunting, scary, risky. But, for most people, a huge amount of your time is spent at work. In my opinion, the crazy thing to do would be to put up with a job that makes you miserable, depleted, frustrated – if you have the means and the opportunity to change.
Most importantly, get help – read books on career change, listen to podcasts, listen to talks. Find out how other people have gone about a career change and use their tips to guide you, you’ll always find someone in a similar situation to you. Talk to someone who’s been through a career change, maybe get help from a coach who can help you upick what’s going on in your head and make a plan.
If you are seriously considering a career change, it’s not crazy and it’s not too late. Something has obviously sparked this feeling. You just need to figure out what’s motivating you, what are your options, and go for it, small steps at a time. Good luck.
If you need help with your career change, you can contact me at LinkedIn or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some of the things clients have written to me when they’ve reached the point of desperation in their career situation.
“I feel stuck!!!”
“I am totally lost with what I actually want to do with my life and career.”
“I’ve been stuck for some time in figuring out what I’d like to do in my career.”
“I’m at a major cross roads!!”
It’s common to feel stuck. You don’t want to move forwards with your current career as it no longer feels right. You don’t want to carry on what you’re doing. You’ve lost any joy or interest in what you’re doing.
But – it offers a regular salary, certain security, you’re comfortable, you know what you’re doing. You can just cruise along. It isn’t enough for you, but it’s not exactly scary.
And the unknown, is scary.
A new job, new colleagues, a new set-up, possibly a new industry. A steep learning curve, the possibility that you won’t like it or won’t fit in. It’s all quite daunting.
Add in cvs, applications, cover letters, interviews, it all seems such a lot of work.
So you stay stuck.
You don’t do anything, you dream, you worry, you procrastinate. You lose confidence and you stay small.
I’ve worked with enough clients in this situation to know that although career change can seem daunting and scary, the scariest thing is actually doing nothing. Staying stuck, feeling crap, kicking yourself for not sorting your life out.
The best way to start feeling good again, to feel a bit motivated, a bit energetic, is to start on your career change journey.
It’s like a side project, your little secret – where it’s all about working out what you want, how you want your life to be, and how you can get there. Sorting out your values so that you find a job that actually matches what you want to achieve. Looking not only at what you’ve done in the past, but at what you really want to be doing, and could be doing, in the future.
Career change can actually be fun if you look at it as a discovery project. You can do the research, get inspiration, read about people who enjoy their work. Get ideas about what might interest you. Contact or talk to people within your wider circle of acquaintances, start finding opportunities.
Most importantly, you start DOING. Feel inspired to apply for that job. Be feel brave enough to ask that acquaintance about their work and find out if there are any openings. Say yes to finding out more about an opportunity that has presented itself.
If you need guidance with your career change, I help people come up with their own personal plan of action. We break down where it is they want to get to, and what are the steps to get there. Then we work on each step, starting small. If you’d like my help, you can contact me at LinkedIn or email me at email@example.com.
My client needed to find a new job as she had been made redundant. But she had lost her confidence. It was really holding her back. In her previous job she felt she couldn’t make her own decisions or act autonomously. And she didn’t know how to be more assertive. She’d got into the habit of falling back, staying quiet.
So she was hesitant about applying for new jobs. Although she had a good idea want she wanted to move on to, she didn’t know if she’d be able to sell herself. And she was scared of ending up in the same situation, with an overbearing manager, micro-managing her every move and criticising her.
This resulted in her going for jobs which didn’t match up to her level of experience or pay expectations. She felt that staying small would make things easier for her. But then she felt huge frustration. She knew she was better than this, that she could go for roles that were bigger and better, where she could showcase her skills and experience. And she had financial goals, such as travelling and one day buying a house.
My client worked with me on improving her confidence, which meant shifting the way she saw herself and reflecting on what she had achieved. She listed times she had acted assertively or confidently. She considered other areas of her life apart from work where she was a confident person.
The aim was to shake off the skin of her previous job; let that be in the past. Her new plan was to take bold steps forward: contacting people she wouldn’t have dared of before, writing, making herself more visible.
Ultimately she found a new job where she felt she had a voice and was encouraged to use it. She had worked out what she wanted from a company and her next role, and what she could bring to it. And her she was. She knew that she could do good work and move on confidently.
If you’d like to book a coaching session with me, contact me at LinkedIn or at firstname.lastname@example.org.