My favorite part of coaching is supporting people through change. People like my former client Sharon, an HR manager with the same corporation for 12 years, until last month. Although Sharon didn’t love her job or her boss, she wasn’t ready to look for a new one. Stuck as a sailboat on a windless day, she towed the line until the day the company announced a re-org and Sharon learned she was being laid off.
When I share this story during my workshops, I see lots of heads begin to nod. “You’re describing my life” is one common response. Most of the people I work with didn’t choose the timing, but here they are, in transition. Facing a change they weren’t ready to make.
My clients are not lazy people. These are professionals who have done the work, learned the right skills and followed a career path. They did everything right, even when it didn’t make them happy, like in Sharon’s case.
Now after a layoff or some other change driving this process, they suddenly need to find a new job.
The job search makes most people feel vulnerable and insecure. In order to reach your goals you have to put yourself out there in ways most of use aren’t used to. Asking for referrals, sharing your accomplishments. It’s scary!
Yet in the midst of all this there is a huge upside. Bigger even than the pain of the unknown. And it’s this: change is an opportunity. You can make it work for you when you have a plan. That’s where I come in.
I worked with Sharon to help her to recognize how this layoff could be the best thing that happened to her.
Hard as it was for her to visualize that this was anything but a disaster, I asked her to work with me to try something. It’s pretty simple.
It’s called “act as if”. I asked Sharon to act as if this unexpected transition was the opportunity she was waiting for. Now instead of feeling stuck in a job she wasn’t happy with, she could mentally reframe, or reimagine this as a fresh start.
Did it instantly fix the problem of needing a new job? Of course not. But it did positively impact her energy level, her motivation and the way she was showing up for job related conversations.
Clarify your goal. It’s hard to stay on track when you’re not clear about your destination. Be as specific as possible, including job title or titles, timeframe, salary and geography. This exercise will help you to create your roadmap to success and prioritize the steps to getting there.
Find a coach or mentor. People who work with a qualified career coach reach their goals faster than those who go it alone, for several reasons.
First, each person and situation is too unique for online advice to effectively address. A coach will help you identify which of the numerous strategies out there will work best for you.
Second, a coach can help you understand how to use your unique strengths, experience and transferable skills to build a compelling brand that does the heavy lifting for you, no horn tooting required.
Finally, a coach is a partner in your success. She will keep you focused on the positive, motivated and accountable to reaching your goals.
Which is what happened with Sharon. 2 months after her lay off, she accepted a position at a company she had always wanted to work for, but couldn’t find right time to pursue.
Change is always happening, but by clarifying your goals and taking the initiative to drive in a positive direction, you can make it work for you!