My first session with a career coach changed my perspective.
At the time I was feeling stuck, stressed and a bit low. I wanted to change my career (and had wanted to for years) but I felt totally lost as to how to go about it. Any conversations with recruitment specialists just left me feeling uninspired, as they all tried to push me into another similar role. And that was the one thing I knew I didn’t want any more.
In my first coaching session I had to do an exercise where I gave myself a mark out of 10 against various skills, like communicating, negotiating, building relationships. I had to give a score out of 10 for how good I was at the skill, another score out of 10 for how much I enjoyed doing it.
My head was in such a confused, frustrated place. I wanted to give myself a low score for most of the skills. I just couldn’t see things clearly. All I had to go on was recent experiences using those skills. I didn’t enjoy negotiating, I didn’t enjoy presenting, I didn’t enjoy communicating – everything felt pretty gloomy. I’d lost a lot of confidence.
My coach looked at the list and said to me, Jo, you’re in a sales role. I’m pretty sure you’re good at negotiating, better than you think. You’ve been doing this for ten years!
And going through that process flicked a switch for me. It helped me to look at the situation more objectively.
I realised I was so stuck in the depths of that role, that I was looking back rather than looking forwards. I was bringing all my feelings of frustration and resentment along for the ride.
My perspective was skewed. I could hardly imagine bringing my skills and experience to something different. Rather, I was dwelling on past experiences that hadn’t gone well. I wasn’t yet at the point where I could see that applying those skills in a different context, in a different environment, could be a whole different experience.
That was the beginning of getting unstuck. I really do think that was one of the big turning points in my career change. It was the moment in which I realised my perspective had such an influence on my feelings and how I was going to move forwards.
I’ve recently read about a form of psychotherapy called Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). It helps people to see the relation between their thoughts and feelings and how they can influence your behaviours. This makes so much sense to me. I was in such a negative headspace, repeating negative thoughts to myself. So I was feeling bad. And that makes it so much harder to feel motivated and ready to explore a new path.
I’d definitely recommend finding some books on this subject; on how the mind works, on negative thinking, on changing the way you view things. I remember reading a book called The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters around this time. I found it really useful and interesting.
And if you’d like help with your career change through some coaching sessions, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/joannaopoku/