When clients come to me uncertain about the next step in their career, this usually has two causes:
first, not being clear what is going to be right for them;
but secondly, not having confidence that they will make the right decision.
They usually have evidence from past experience that they make bad career decisions, and are very scared about repeating that pattern.
That keeps them stuck far more than the not knowing - because it stops them doing the work even to find out.
The process I take them through doesn't just give them clarity on what is the right future path for them...
...it also gives them CONFIDENCE that this IS the right decision for them, and one that is ACHIEVABLE for them.
And that confidence means they can take decisive action, moving forward bravely and boldly to realise their dream.
As I have come to realise, mindset is at the root of all success...
In today's blog, I'm going to describe the three pillars of my process, which (despite the negative X Factor connotations), I describe to clients as a Journey that we take together.
1. Get clear and confident about who you are, deep down inside
I have found that the first, most important step with any client is to help them focus inwards.
what are their Values, the underlying principles we use as guiding stars (and which, if they're compromised, mean we're never happy)
what were their dreams when they were young? Who do they look at now and want to be like? If money was no object, what would they do? Questions to free up the imagination so they can picture their career without the limits we learn place on ourselves...
and I also help them tap into their unconscious through a guided visualisation that walks them through a day in the career that's right for them. This is an incredibly powerful part of the process, that has been the turning point for many of my clients: freed from the constraints of what they think they "should" want (by tapping directly into the unconscious), they are able to find an answer that sometimes surprises - but sometimes they knew already, deep down, but didn't want to accept.
Once this part of the journey is finished my client has, sometimes for the first time ever, a really clear picture of who they are as a person, and what that means for their career.
They understand why their current career isn't lighting them up.
And they have given themselves permission to dream freely, and dream BIG, about their future.
This is the fundamental first pillar that will give them confidence that their new career choice is right for them - because they know themselves.
2. Get clear and confident about the practical parameters for your career
A crucial part of someone's happiness with their job is not what they actually do on a day-to-day basis, but all the logistical, practical stuff around that, such as:
how far you have to travel to do your job, and/ or whether you're willing to move house to get a new job
how much flexibility there is (how much you want to work from home; what time of day you want to start and finish working eg around the school run;
whether you want to work in a large team or a small one, with a boss or as your own boss
and of course, how much money you make - I always ask my clients to create a "bare minimum" budget, so they know what is they need to live on.
These are just some of the factors that are common to all clients, but each client has their own deal breakers.
Once we establish what these parameters are for each client, we rank them in order of importance to get clear on what REALLY matters.
For example, one client chose between two future jobs because one would allow her to take August off to be with her children in the summer holidays, whereas the other wouldn't.
She discovered that this was MORE important to her than the nature of the work. And once she knew that, she was able to make that decision with absolute confidence.
And another client had to discard a potential future career change because he realised it would trigger his allergies - a complete deal breaker.
(Interestingly, one discovery that is true for nearly all my clients: salary is a lot less important than they previously thought. As long as it meets that the bare minimum, for most people factors like the commute or flexibility are more important).
Through this process each client gets absolute clarity and confidence on how they want their job to fit into their life.
Which again, gives them a rock-solid confidence with which to move forward in their Journey.
3. Get clear and confident about your skills, talents and career anchors/ career capital
The final pillar for my process is where traditional career counsellors start.
We look at:
what are you innately good at;
what knowledge and skills have you developed during your career;
what are your "career anchors" and "career capital".
There is a prevalent theory that your career must also be your passion - and I certainly agree that you want to find a career that you enjoy.
But if you love macramé, that doesn't mean you HAVE to have a career making and selling macramé. Some passions can be best kept as a hobby.
Instead, I encourage clients to think career options that firstly fit with their values; secondly fit with their practical parameters; and finally that they are also good at and can be successful in (because they have built up relevant skills and experience already - what Cal Newport calls "career capital").
This enables them to find a career path that works "with the grain" of who they are, how they want to live, and their previous skills and interests.
And it works!
As one client said recently:
I was in the middle of a career change and was extremely anxious about my future. I was going round in circles and had been for some time, not knowing which decision to make or which direction to go in. It was very stressful and put a big strain on other aspects of my life.
Kirsten's coaching helped me process my thoughts and emotions, enabling me to make sense of my confusion. I feel so much better compared to where I was when we started. I now have a plan and I am ready to start working towards my new career goals, feeling confident that I have made well-informed and well-thought out decisions.
Because that's the key: thanks to the Journey, he now feels CONFIDENT about the decisions he's made.
Which means he can take action with confidence to bring his new career into reality.
MY OWN CAREER CHANGE
I have been doing my own work recently, looking at my future career direction.
I originally decided to re-train as a coach because I knew I wanted to help people, especially ambitious women, thrive in their careers.
(With my history of operating at senior levels in the UK Civil Service I have seen the potential out there that is not being fulfilled, and I wanted to make a difference.)
And I have loved every minute of the last two and a half years, working with my wonderful clients to transform their futures.
But I realised that the work I was doing was fundamentally about helping my clients with their mindset, so they could then take action with confidence.
And during lockdown I found myself called even more to support people's mindset during these difficult times.
So as a result, I have made a decision: I am going to shift my coaching focus away from career change, towards more mindset-focussed work.
I will be announcing this change next week - watch this space... 😉
But first, I want to give my readers a last opportunity to work with me:
to use the skills and knowledge I have built up to get clear and confident about their career future.
So if you'd like my support to help you with your career change, at current prices (as prices will rise from next week to take account of the significant transformations I offer my clients)...
...email me to book your intro call or book into my calendar here.
(You need to book your call by the end of Friday 9th October, but the call itself can be up until the end of October. The package of minimum 6 sessions must start before Christmas.)
And don't forget all new 1:1 coaching clients now get a DISC profile and analysis included.
I have loved every minute of the work I have done with my amazing clients, and if you'd like to take advantage of my skills and experience in the field of career change (at current prices), then get in touch before it's too late.
Wishing you a positive and productive week! And watch out next week for my exciting announcement... 😃💖💪
p.s. don't forget, to book a 1:1 coaching package around career change at current prices, get in touch by Friday 9th October, either over email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or book into my calendar here.