So you’re ready to leave your job and look for something new. You've been thinking about it for a while, going back and forth, but now you're sure. Whatever mental and emotional calculus you had to go through, you’ve come to the conclusion that it needs to happen. What now?
Consider working with a career coach to plan your strategy.
Do you know what you want to do instead? If not, how do you plan on figuring that out? Do you know how to make the most of your precious free time so that you can make the jump as soon as possible? Where should you start?
How will you decide:
- which of your options to pursue?
- what trainings/career development to invest in?
- how to break into your chosen field?
You might be smart (and you probably are, if you’re like most of my readers), but that doesn’t mean that you automatically know all the ins and outs of a successful career transition. A career coach can make this process a lot easier, because this is what we do.
Could you figure it out on your own?
Probably. Eventually. Like I said, you’re smart. I muddled through my own transition without professional help. I relied on self-help books and assessments and luck to get me where I needed to go. It took forever and I spent a lot of time wallowing in anxiety, self-doubt, and indecision. But I did get there in the end! You probably can too, if you're extremely self-reliant, motivated, and patient.
How can a career coach make things easier?
I’m so glad you asked. Here are just a few of the ways that working with a career coach will make your transition smoother, faster, and less stressful.
1. A career coach will guide you through the process.
It’s okay that you don’t know what to do next - I’m not an expert in whatever you do for a living, after all. I’m guessing that your situation is stressful enough without also trying to figure out and execute all the elements of a successful transition.
When you work with a career coach, you don’t have to be the expert. All you have to do is show up and be you, and I’ll guide you the rest of the way. I’m not going to tell you that changing your job is easy, but it’s a lot easier when you’re following a time-tested plan instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.
2. A career coach will help you with focus and follow-through.
Why do people have gym buddies? Because there’s more incentive to show up if you know someone else will be there. Why is it easier to learn from a class than from a textbook? Because you get accountability, homework, feedback, and the chance to ask questions.
When you’re feeling discouraged about your career, it’s easy to get lost in the conflicting thoughts and feelings about your situation. Even if you’ve created a plan/strategy/to-do list, it can be difficult to stick with it on your own. A coach can keep you on track and help you plan your next steps. Plus, I’ll help you maintain your sanity and humor along the way. :-)
3. A career coach has seen most of it before.
When you’re in the thick of your career drama, it can feel overwhelming. You may have never had to go through something like this before. Imagine someone telling you, “It’s okay, I’ve helped people in your situation before. It’s normal to freak out right now, but you're going to get through this.”
You are beautiful and unique, but your circumstances probably aren't. Stay-at-home-mom returning to the workforce? New grad with no clue what to do next? Burned-out non-profit employee? Only had one job since graduation? I’ve worked with someone like you.
If you're sick or in pain, you go to a doctor. Your discomfort may seem specific to you, but she’s seen lots of people with your symptoms. In fact, that’s one of the reasons you’re there. She knows what questions to ask to determine the best course of treatment.
If reading a career book is like browsing WebMD, working with a career coach is like consulting a top specialist. Yes, it’s more of an investment, but you also know you’re getting the best available care.
4. A career coach will support you without getting emotionally invested.
Why is this important? Well, in the course of your ponderings, you may have talked to friends or family about your situation. That’s great! It’s good to have a support system in place. However, you may have noticed a few issues cropping up:
- Your spouse/partner gets anxious about your financial future whenever you bring it up.
- You don’t want to spend all your time unloading on your friends, but it’s still on your mind.
- Your family has certain expectations of you that influences their advice.
- People are offering a lot of suggestions and you don’t want to be ungrateful, but it’s really getting on your nerves.
- You feel like you need to look like you have it all together, even if you’re flailing internally.
- Resentment builds up if any of this goes on for too long, affecting your relationships and quality of life.
A nonjudgmental, supportive sounding board can be a real lifesaver in this situation. Your coaching sessions will become a haven where you can be yourself and talk things out without worrying about anybody else’s feelings, thoughts, or reactions.
Because you have this time blocked off for dealing with all your career woes, you can enjoy your time with loved ones more fully. Trust me, your family and friends will appreciate this almost as much as you do!
5. Finally: hiring a coach tells your brain that The Game Is On.
Reading blog posts and self-help books is fine. I’ve spent many happy hours doing just that. But it also can be a sneaky way of feeling like you’re taking action without actually doing anything.
You can daydream about the 47 perfect ways your life could turn out, create a vision board or two, decide what your top five values are. These are all valid activities, but they’re not getting you closer to a more fulfilling career on their own.
Hiring someone is Serious. It sends a signal to your subconscious that This is Not a Drill. It’s a statement that your future is important and worth an investment of real time and money. When you raise the stakes, you’re more likely to do something about it.
Think about it. That’s all I’m asking.
If you’re here to get inspired and think about what you might want to do next, that’s awesome. I've got a whole library of articles for you to check out! But if you’re really, truly serious about finding sustainable, satisfying work - it might be time to call in the big guns. Next step? Check out my article on how to tell whether a coach is right for you.
Image credit: freeimages.com/Asif Akbar