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 interesting interview with a marketing specialist about feelings of failure around quitting your job. She commented ‘it’s taking initiative and knowing what you want from life, not failing.’
It’s such a good reminder.
So often when you feel unfulfilled, bored or frustrated in your job, you feel like you’re failing. Why is my life so rubbish? Why did I take this job? Why can’t I just get on with it and enjoy it?
If your work makes you feel miserable, you can feel as though you’re failing at life. Work is such an important part of your every day, it’s how you spend the bulk of your time. And if your working hours are spent feeling negative, it can feed into the rest of your life.
I love her comment because it’s about turning things around. It’s about not feeling like a victim or that you’re powerless in your own life. Instead it’s about being brave, seeing that something needs to change, and doing something about it.
Quitting a job or anything else means that you are deciding what’s right for you. Never mind what other people (colleagues, friends, family) who’ve never been in the same position may think. Decide and go for it.
Taking the initiative, making a bold decision and working out a plan to support yourself is confidence boosting. Career change is always possible, it just takes time and action.
It’s about moving on to something better, something more suited to you.
If you’d like help with a career change, I run coaching sessions to help you plan and take the first small steps. Contact me on LinkedIn or 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.
You’re at a crossroads. Deep down you know what you want and need to do. You just need someone else to say it’s ok.
I spoke to a new client called Maira. She’d just left her current job, partly because the situation had changed due to covid and the job wasn’t quite the same. Partly because it wasn’t challenging her anymore, and she didn’t feel as though she was learning and growing. And partly because she and her boyfriend wanted to travel a little, to The Netherlands to spend time with his family, to Brazil to spend time with her family.
So she was at a happy crossroads, with enough savings to keep her going for a few months without work – but with a few ideas floating around and unsure exactly what to do next in terms of her career.
She had a couple of options – find a job with a company, working remotely, ideally as a community manager. Or set up her own business as an events planner, which is her ultimate dream.
Ultimately she knew what she had to do – find a decent job where she could work remotely – for now. It doesn’t have to be forever. A job that she finds interesting, maybe challenging, with a decent salary.
Then a little way down the line, she can start on her own business slowly, on the side.
As we were talking I could sense her relief in having someone agree with her, and back her ideas. She started to see things much more clearly – the crossroads was morphing into a vision and a plan.
We discussed how her next job might help in setting up her future business; she’ll learn new things, have new ideas, build up more contacts. She can enjoy a stable income and get started one her own business when the time is right.
Maira also wanted to talk about a personal project she was thinking of getting started on, which was writing more. She thought writing a blog might be useful. It could be a way to get her thoughts out, and to talk about her career speciality which is building communities. But she could also share her experience of living in a foreign country. She always used to love writing but hadn’t done much of it recently. I thought this was a brilliant idea.
Starting your own little side project gives such a boost to your confidence and motivation. You’re working on something you’re really excited about, you’re creating, you’re working out how you want to do things. In this instance, you’re learning all sorts of things, like how to set up a website, and you’re refining your writing.
Maira was wondering which audience to write for, in which language (she speaks three), and which topic in particular. I recommended that she just get started. See how it flows, see what comes easily to her, what she enjoys writing about. She could share it with her friends, family and network, and see what feedback comes back. That will inform her direction. And, even better, it could be a really good way of sharing her experience with potential employees and clients.
They could get to know her through her writing, get a better sense of her personality, read about her experience. She could share the blog on her LinkedIn profile, as this is one of the platforms she is using to find a new role.
Also – looking for a job can be so hard when you have the whole day to fill. You can easily procrastinate, do a bit of searching then give up, feel guilty, and not know what to do with yourself. Maira had already decided on a routine of spending four hours a day on her career change. A couple of hours to research and apply for jobs, a couple of hours to do online learning courses. She could build writing into her routine, and really enjoy the benefit of having a few different projects to get on with in the morning, each motivating her and moving her on in the right direction, then have the afternoons free.
For now Maira is going to carry on with the job search – with a targeted approach. She’ll research companies she likes the look of on LinkedIn. I recommended finding people in community manager roles and see what their experience is, see what they are posting about. Maybe contact them for advice. She’s also going to be even more active on LinkedIn, posting regularly, adding video testimonials of people she’s interviewed to her profile, asking for and writing testimonials, and being as present as possible.
And she’s going to get started on her new blog.
But she’s also going to give herself a break to spend time with her family. I think that if you can, that’s one of the best things you can do after leaving a job. Get away, have fun, get some perspective, shed the skin of your former role. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to go.
When she returns at the start of the new year we’ll regroup, see what the progress has been, discover if anything has changed, and move forward from there.
If you’re at a career crossroads and would like my help, contact me. Find me at Linkedin or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.