Career coaching and navigating life transitions

It’s Monday morning. You bounce out of bed, excited by the day ahead and filled with enthusiasm for what you are doing and how you are working every day. Imagine that.


The average person spends 90,000 hours at work during a lifetime (compared to only 2,800 having sex or 3,000 on holiday) so this is a sizable proportion of our lifetime that many of us are simply dragging ourselves through, waiting for the weekend or payday.

At some point, realisation dawns. If this time isn't being well spent, we're not making the most of what life has to offer – and that’s when a career change can begin to loom.

This is something I realised around a decade ago when I was working as a lawyer in the city. So much of it wasn’t good for me – or aligned with how I flourish and function best – but in my head, I told myself that it was madness to walk away from a steady, lucrative job. That I was too old and it was too late to change. That work always had to be a little bit unpleasant and I should just put up with it. Oh, and that I was being naive thinking I could have the life I thought I wanted. I am so glad that I didn’t listen to that negative voice of doom and instead, I successfully navigated leaving a corporate job to become a freelance writer and then also a coach.

Career coaching always involves resilience

Whether you’re looking to go from employed to freelance or consultancy, change industries, or get back into the job market after a break or later in life, this can be a time of excitement and anxiety. Uncertainty at any time is unnerving, especially when it involves money, employment and change to your daily way of doing things. Career change coaching is based on resilience; building up your reserves of strength and motivation, so that you can adapt and be flexible whatever comes your way – and ensure you have the confidence and clarity to make decisions that are right for you.

There are some key steps involved in this:

Step 1: Allowing yourself to see the full picture

All change is unnerving and there is no point in going through a process of change if you’re not going to use it as a way to create the full-colour version of the life you want. We all have that little voice that tells us we’re being “too ambitious”, “naive” or “unrealistic” but really, the only thing that will definitely stop you from achieving a big dream is listening to that voice too much. Career coaching is partly about having someone on your side who is going to blast that voice out of the water.

The starting point with resilience career coaching is establishing a stretch goal for this change that is outside your comfort zone so that it feels exciting and a little bit scary too. This is about entertaining all your ideas and desires for your career so that you don’t look back and wish you’d given something that really mattered a go.

Step 2: The structure for careers change

Resilience coaching is a very practical process. So, once we know where you’re looking to go with your career change, it’s time to put a structure in place to make that happen. That could be a plan for managing a transition back to work after maternity leave, for example.

I supported one client through this process and she was able to go from feeling incredibly anxious about rejoining her team, with a head full of catastrophising and fears of what others would think, to taking a calm, empowered approach that encompassed everything she wanted from relationships and work-life balance going forward.

Step 3: The practical action

One of the major issues many of us face when it comes to career change – and creating a working life we love – is that we don’t do anything about it. Dreams that stay dreams can sour into regrets and no one wants that for themselves. So, action is very much a part of resilience coaching. This regular accountability can generate real momentum to start doing the things you’ve just been thinking about for years.

Plus, the support and guidance of someone with experience championing you through an uncertain time makes it easier to take those wobbly first steps. 

Step 4: The permission

If you have been dreaming of a career transition up to now, and it’s still just a dream, then it may simply be that you’re not giving yourself permission to do it. We can come up with a whole range of reasons why now is not the time to go freelance, change roles, go for a leadership position or jump to another industry. And, yes, these are challenging economic times and there can be very real obstacles. But if you’re already thinking about something, the likelihood is that you already know you’re capable of it (or you wouldn’t be thinking about it). Once you actually give yourself permission to make the leap and see yourself as what you want to be after the career change has happened, everything else has a tendency to fall into place. Well, with a little determined and messy action, it will.

Regular career coaching often misses out on how important it is to address what's going on in your head and heart where your career is concerned. It's much more effective to invest in career coaching that addresses everything you're bringing to the table for the next stage in your life, not just what's on your CV.

Being more resilient means having a clear view of the blocks you’re putting in your own way, as well as the tools to be able to start clearing them so that you can actually start working on the things you really want. Not just what you think you might have or it’s ‘okay’ to want. It also means developing rock-solid self-belief and becoming this wildly tenacious person who just isn’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer – this is an incredibly powerful shift to make.

If you’re on the edge of a change of any kind in your career, then resilience might be the version of career coaching you need to help ease the transition. I’d love to explain how I could support your career change, so book a free discovery call and let’s get stuck in.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Winchester, Hampshire, SO23
Written by Alex Pett
Winchester, Hampshire, SO23

Alex is an ICF trained and NLP cert coach focused on helping people to deepen their resources to adapt and bounce back - and go on to thrive. She works with resilience to help clients build confidence, recover from burnout, be assertive, set boundaries, find joy and move beyond limiting beliefs. Clients achieve tangible change in 6-9 sessions.

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