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Career Transitions





January 27th, 2015

Do you want to make a career switch but are unsure where to start? Have you shifted into a new role but find yourself feeling lost and confused? Executive coaching can help you to embark on an exciting career transition, or handle a change-in-progress with ease.

Getting Where You Want to Go 

Even if you think your dream career is out of reach, executive coaching can help. Think about the job you want, and think about the job you have — there is probably some sort of skill overlap, whether it’s hard skills you possess due to your current job, or life experience that can help you transition. Executive coaching can help you cross-reference your skills in order to inventory and capitalize on the training and experience you already have. 

If you simply know you do not like your existing job, but are not sure where to go next, executive coaching can help. There are many careers out there, and narrowing down your options on your own can be overwhelming. Rather than blindly guessing at what job you should try next, make a concrete plan with an experienced executive coach.

Help Finding Success 

If you’ve started your career transition already but are not confident with your new role, executive coaching can help. Your executive coach can talk you through any issues, help boost your confidence, and remind you why your career transition was a good idea in the first place. Executive coaching will make you more self-aware and more in tune with your own needs and desires, so that you can be great at your job. 

Whether you’re starting over completely or working your way up, executive coaching can keep you on the right career path.


July 15th, 2012

We tend to think of career transitions as occurring along various points in an already well-established career. You may choose to change jobs a number of times for career advancement, be downsized out of a job, or leave your workplace for a number of other reasons.

How many people recognize that there is also another very critical career transition point at the outset of our work life? The point of changeover from the academic environment into the work world which is a significant change from the protected world of a learner, be it high school, college, technical school, or university.

Being tossed into a fast-paced environment with heavy workloads and sometimes less than supportive colleagues is a cold, harsh shock from the protected world of academia and/or the supported role you had as a learner being bridged into your new career. The sense of confusion, loss of ideals, and feeling of failure can be overwhelming for even the staunchest of heart and most optimistic! What you are actually experiencing as you make this enormous change in your life is the ending of some pieces of your former life. Be it the end of friendships, the comfort of the protected world of school, or a shift from a world in which you were recognized an expert into that in which you need to establish new connections, new habits, a new way of being.  

What do you do, how do you survive?

Your first step is to realize that you are not alone in feeling this way, your feelings are not uncommon, and in fact they are perfectly normal!  William Bridges, an expert on managing transitions, describes three stages of transition, which can be applied to both organizational and personal change. He names the stages as:

 1. Ending, Losing, Letting Go. (S1)

2. The Neutral Zone. (S2)

3. The New Beginning. (S3)

Seem backward to you? There is a rational for that! Bridges (p.5) states, "Because transition is a process by which people unplug from an old world and plug into a new world, we can say that transition starts with an ending and finishes with a beginning.”  And you need to go through all three stages to navigate the change successfully!

Let’s break it down into some practical steps:

  • Go easy on the self- criticism, give yourself a break, the time to learn and adjust to the new! (S 1-3).
  • Establish structure and routines for yourself at work as much as possible so that you have a sense of consistency and familiarity to hold on to in these early days. (S1-3).
  • Find a mentor at work. Look around at your co-workers, choose one that has the skills and talents that you aspire to and ask them to share their knowledge with you. Or ask your boss/supervisor to help you find one.(S1-3).
  • Be prepared to find that the way you learned to do things in school may not be the way it actually gets done in the workplace! Thinking about how you will approach this type of situation when it arises will help you be prepared and decrease your stress level when it occurs. How will deal with a situation that may require you to compromise your standards? (S1-2).
  • Be open to learning new ways of doing and being. (S 2-3).
  • Let your friends and family know that you are going through a time of change, which may impact how you are able to respond to their needs and expectations. Ask them for their support and let them know what that support looks like for you. (S1-2)
  • Consider working with an Executive Coach who is experienced in supporting people through transitions. (S1-2)
  • Stay the course. Depending on your profession it can take up to 6 months or more for you to become comfortable in your new environment, longer for you to feel competent in your new role. Hang in there you can do this! (S2-3)

Good luck on your journey!

 Reference:

Bridges, W. (2005). Managing Transitions. (2nd ed). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press.


June 22nd, 2012

The Search begins!

So you've decided to take those next steps on your career path and find a new job. Are you wondering what that process should look like for you?

Like grains of sand on the beach, everyone is different.Sand Dollar

Some people like to take the leap into the unknown and go for whatever interests them at that moment in time. Others are very methodical, planning their path carefully, moving strategically towards their ultimate goal, their dream job.

Whichever option is right for you, here are some steps, which I hope will serve you in your journey:

  • If you’ve decided to take the leap into the unknown, pick an area of passion/interest to focus your search within. If you are following your career path you are ready to start!
  • Define your values (deeply held beliefs of what is important to you; they act as guiding principles your life).
  • Do your research - find out more about the organization(s) that you are interested in working with. What are their values, mission/mandate, vision, goals, and strategic plan? Compare: how do they align with your values, beliefs, career plans? Are they a match or a clash?

Analyze and reflect upon:

  • What do you like about your current work that you want to keep doing?
  • What don’t you like in your current work that you are happy to leave behind?
  • Do you want to work for a large or small organization?
  • What type of people do you like to work with?
  • What type of work environment do you prefer: one that is a structured 9 am - 5 pm punch the clock, filled with routine, or one that allows you flexibility and creativity in completing your work at your own pace?
  • What types of hours suit you, fit with your family needs?
  • Do want an office to go to every day, or a virtual one that allows you to work from home?
  •  

Once you have answered those questions in addition to your own, design a strategy to plan your steps and keep you on track. An efficient and fun way to do this is through the use of a mind-map. For those of you who are totally electronic there are some great free apps to choose from which you can find through your favorite search engine, or, pen & paper work just as well!

Set SMART goals to keep you focused and on task: 

S: specific,

M: measurable,

A: attainable

R: realistic

T: timely.

 As you work through the SMART process, ask yourself the “W” questions to guide you: Who, What, Where, When, Which, and Why.

Coaching questions to get you started:

What opportunity is in front of you right now?

What do you need to create what you want?

What next steps will you take today?