Trouble Networking?

What do you do when you know you need to get out there – networking, contacting people, asking for help, meeting people – but you’re too scared? It can be a real issue when you’re trying to change career but are overwhelmed at the thought of all the people you’re going to have to contact.

Case study

I had a client who struggled with networking, Andrea. She didn’t have loads of friends, she found socialising tricky, and her confidence was low. She was well aware that her mindset could be quite negative.

Andrea’s dream was to work for a start-up, and write articles about entrepreneurship on the side. The thought of having to get in touch with people who she knew could help with her career change, was crippling her.

She’d have to apply for jobs. She could try to speak to people in the start-up industry who could give her some pointers or advise her about opportunities, maybe ask them for a phone chat or to meet for a coffee. In terms of the articles, she needed people to interview. She would have to make the first move in getting them involved.

Building up to it

Andrea knew that being more comfortable contacting people would be a massive step for her. It was important to her being able to move forwards.

So together we agreed that building up to networking was going to be challenging. But it would help both in progressing career wise and in building her confidence.

Breaking it down

But Andrea had lots of excuses! There was always a reason why she couldn’t do something, always a barrier. So we broke it down. What would doing each task actually look like, how could she prepare? Could she prepare questions, set a time limit on how long the call or coffee would be? Maybe it would help to create a list of contacts and tick them off one by one? We had a think about what was the worst that would happen, was it someone saying ‘no’? Could she cope with that?

Once we’d broken things down into small, easy steps, and prepared for the worst case scenario, Andrea felt calmer about networking. Slowly she followed the steps we’d set out, and things became easier for her. She realised how great it felt having a positive interaction, and saw that people responded well to her.

Do it your way

Andrea is coming on in leaps and bounds. She goes for things and doesn’t feel the same fear around contacting people for help. She made it into the start- up world by starting her own online travel advisory company on the side of her day-to-day job. She’s also completed various courses including and incubator training programme to learn more about the industry she’s interested in.

Networking doesn’t have to be roaming around ‘events’ desperately finding people to talk to. It can be about focusing on what you need, slowly and quietly doing things in your own way. And getting the results you need.

If you’d like to some coaching sessions with me, contact me at joaopoku@gmail.com or here on LinkedIn.

Photo by Pavan Trikutam on Unsplash

Real life career change case study – from London NGO to remote work in Paris.

Kate had reached a point where she was really unhappy with her work, her social life, her living set-up. Everything just felt wrong and not suited to her. She needed a career change.

She felt that she had no control over her life and had somehow ended up in a situation that wasn’t making her happy.

She’s a really big-hearted person, who wants to help with terrible things going on in the world. 

Office life

Kate had recently started working for an NGO and working with disadvantaged school kids on the side. She wasn’t sure about the NGO work. Part of the issue was the set-up, she really didn’t like the tiring commute, being in the office and at her desk all day, and sticking to formal 9-5 working hours.

Kate loved working with the kids, and wanted to do more, but there didn’t seem to be many opportunities for full-time decently paid work.

Dream life in Paris

She lived in someone else’s house in a nice part of London, but craved her own space and independence. She had dreamed of living in Paris for years, and spent her free time studying French and watching films.

Kate had some career change coaching sessions with me, and at the start she felt lost. She had a vague idea of what she wanted but it all seemed so out of reach and unlikely. She was overwhelmed by the task ahead. But she was intent on finding something that really sat with her values and her lifestyle. 

She got specific

Over the weeks we narrowed down what she really wanted; what kind of work, working environment, hours, working space, pay, non work stuff, living situation. We weighed up what was feasible, and felt good, felt exciting. And we worked out a plan that would get her there. She thought out each step, different things she could try, with me prompting or questioning her. 

She’d have to do some pretty tough things, like asking her boss for an honest conversation, applying for a job abroad, consider finding accommodation abroad and all the admin that comes with that…but she’d started to see that it was just a series of steps, which she was capable of completing.

Part-time in Paris

And a year on, she’s working for the NGO part-time, remotely, from her new home in Paris. She’s also working with French business students part-time, and loving it.

It’s amazing that what had once been such a faraway dream is now her reality.

If you’d like my help with your career change, email me at joaopoku@gmail.com or contact me via LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/joannaopoku/.

Photo by Sebastian Brennes on Unsplash

Why you shouldn’t use a life coach

If you are thinking about working with a life coach but aren’t sure if it’s what you need, or if this is the right time, this is for you.

I spoke to someone recently about coaching. She was considering whether or not coaching would be a good idea.

She had left a really good job working for a big corporation around 6 or 7 years ago, pregnant with her first child, and ready to stay at home to look after her baby.

Since then, having had two children in total, the youngest has now started school, and she’s seriously considering what to do next. She wants to do something, she’s just not sure what. She’s totally overwhelmed, totally blocked, and feeling stuck. She’s lost her confidence, and she feels lost.

We decided that working together wasn’t the right thing for her, for now. Why?

Because coaching isn’t what she needs right now. 

She has issues with self-esteem, of self-worth. She’s not yet ready to move forward. She knows that there are things from her past that have affected her, that are holding her back. Things that have been lying dormant for years. Things she has to deal with.

What she needs is counselling or therapy. Uncovering things from her past to find a way to move forward in the future. 

Coaching is about looking forwards.

And coaching is not about looking back, working out why something happened and why it affected you. It’s not about events that took place during your childhood or adolescence.

It’s also not about someone giving you all the answers, telling you what to do, giving you a fool-proof step-by-step guide to sorting out your life.

Coaching is about looking forwards, planning and taking action. And the ideas all come from YOU. A coach helps you to unearth ideas, passions, opportunities and the next step that’s right for you.

You’re ready.

You’re ready to work with a life coach when you’re determined and excited to make changes. Maybe you feel nervous, apprehensive, scared. You might be stressed, burnt out, worried. You might not be sure exactly in which direction you want to head.

But you know that you have to do something to help yourself move forwards. Maybe there’s a little glimpse of excitement when you dare to imagine yourself in a different situation.

And you are ready to do the work. 

You are ready to ask for help, to share what’s going on, and to be open to new ideas. You’re ready to really examine what you want from life, and how you can go about getting there. You need support and someone to push you along.

You’re willing to move out of your comfort zone, knowing that in doing so you’ll make big leaps towards something new

You’ve got to be all in, ready to put lots into it and take action.

Are you ready? Sounds like you? Contact me at joaopoku@gmail.com and we’ll have a chat about coaching and what you hope to achieve.

Why talk to a Life Coach?

Today I am speaking to a life coach, and I’m so happy. Because I need it. Even though I’m a coach myself, and work with other people to uncover what they want to change or improve in their lives, it can still be hard to work on this stuff for myself.

We’ve all got our own ideas about what we can and can’t do. I’ve got my own fears and worries that stop me from doing certain things and hold me back.

It’s so good to talk to someone who doesn’t know you very well, who doesn’t know your past, who doesn’t know your personality. Someone who doesn’t base their views on the 8 year-old you, or the 24 year-old you, or the you from two years ago.

They can listen to you afresh, and objectively. They will dig deep into what you are saying or not saying. You might mention something quite flippantly – but they’ll catch on to it, and ask what you really mean. Why do you say that? Why is that an issue? Is there something deeper going on there?

We don’t stay the same

Sometimes we have age-old beliefs that we’ve held on to over the years. Such as: I’m shy, or I hate public speaking or I don’t like change. We felt like this 10, 20 years ago – it’s become a part of who we are. But the truth is, over the years we can change without realising it.

Maybe you were a shy teenager. But now you’re actually a considered, reserved, soft-speaking person who is quietly confident? Shy’s not really an accurate description.

Perhaps you still hate the idea of public speaking, but you have a lot of experience presenting to small groups of people, and you do it well. It’s not this big thing that should be holding you back.

Am I ridiculous?

It can be slightly nerve-wrecking speaking to a life coach – what if I can’t think of anything to say, what if it’s embarrassing, what if I feel they are judging me? What if my worries are silly? Am I ridiculously spoilt and privileged to say these things?

But a life coach is trained to listen in a non-judgemental way. They are experienced in asking certain questions to help you clarify your thoughts. A coach knows that most worries and challenges boil down to the same thing, fear. Fear of change, fear of what others think of you, fear of losing all your money, fear of the unknown.

Do you want to move on?

These fears are all valid. And worth addressing. It’s only when you realise what is holding you back and consider what impact that will have on your future, that you can work on moving forward.

Perhaps you’ll realise that you’re basing what you see as success on your parents’ views rather than your own. Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that you’ll only ever be able to do one sort of job because you spent years studying and training for it. You can’t stand the work, but you can’t ‘waste’ that education.

It could be you’ve lost your confidence and it’s stopping you from considering new opportunities. You truly don’t think you’ve got certain skills or aptitudes – but in reality you have them in bucket-loads. You just haven’t been enjoying using them, or you’ve had to apply them in ways that don’t suit your values.

A life coach listens, and then helps you to come up with a plan of action to move on. Once you’ve identified what’s stopping you, what one little step can you take to move in the direction you want to? You come up with the plan, and your coach supports you along the way.

Ask for help

There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. There’s a reason those sayings such as ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ have endured. Rather than letting worries about making changes circle around in your mind – talk to someone.

If you’d like to try life coaching with me, drop me an email at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

 

Are you boring your friends?

 

It can be hard when you want to change career. You know you’re going to have to shake things up. Your routine, what you know, what lies ahead, is all going to change. And that can be a really scary thought. We all like safety, comfort, routine. It helps us feel safe and in control.

You’re on your own

So you’re dealing with all these thoughts and worries, all on your own, in your head. Maybe if you’re lucky you have friends and family who are good listeners. But still – you feel there’s only so often you can repeat the same worries, fears, dreams.

Should I leave my job? Can I really do that? What do you think about this? What would you do in my position?

Chances are your friends and family are lovely and patient and just want the best for you. But it can get to the point where you feel like a broken record and you’re starting to annoy yourself with your indecision and lack of direction.

It could also be that you don’t really want to talk to those close to you, you feel ashamed that you’re somehow failing if you don’t feel 100% happy and successful in your work. It’s embarrassing to admit that maybe you’re not on the right path. It could be there’s this thing you’d secretly much rather be doing, but it seems silly or unrealistic.

When you’re feeling like this, chances are you need some assurance. You need someone to talk things through with at length. Someone to listen to you without judgement and without getting irritated or bored. An opportunity to have someone listen to your fears and dreams and let you talk it out. You can get everything out there, out of your head.

Someone who can read between the lines, get to the crux of what’s holding you back.

Is it lack of confidence?

Difficulty in making decisions?

Suppressing a big dream due to fear?

Is it caring too much what your family and/or friends think?

Talking to someone who’s been there too, can help

Talking to a coach, especially someone who’s been there, who’s gone through something similar, can help.

They’ll listen and they’ll help you to focus on what needs to be done to make some changes.  You’ll have support and encouragement. You won’t need to worry about going on about yourself.

It’s all about you, and it’s all about moving your forwards towards what you want.

If you’d like to try coaching with me, we can talk things through and make an action plan together. Send me a message at: joaopoku@gmail.com.

 

Photo by Korney Violin on Unsplash