Why Career Coaching?
For a mid-life career professional, transition can be quite a challenge, even for the best of us. In quiet conversations, individuals often share how surprised they are that the process of transition is so hard. It is like an emotional rollercoaster. One minute they are riding high with optimism, good prospects, and self-assurance and the next they find themselves depressed, angry, uncertain, and lost.
Transitions can make us feel out of control. Even when we are churning inside, we like to project the image of competence and confidence. This need to appear strong and have our act together adds an additional burden to an already wearying transition experience. So, what is the answer? How do we make this transition between the “worlds” of one job and another less stressful, less like a roller coaster?
One of the key means of leveling out the transition experience is to understand that while each transition is unique in the details, it is a fairly well-defined process.
* One of the foremost experts in the process of transition is William Bridges who has written widely on the subject for
30 years. Bridges uses this graphic to represent the three phases of transition.
Glenda S. Curriculum Developer, New York, NY
Coaching Phase I: Letting Go
At the heart of Bridges’ model above is his recognition that before we can embrace a new reality, a new future or beginning, we must first let go of past. Bridges believes, and my own professional and personal experience reinforces, that when we are confronted with any major change in our lives – ones we choose or ones that are forced upon us – we cannot make that change without first letting go of the past. As Bridges observes, “we resist transition not because we can’t accept the change, but because we can’t accept letting go of that piece of ourselves that we have to give up when and because the situation has changed.”
As someone in transition, we must let go of the past and be open to the future. We must set aside and let go of possible entitlement, arrogance and/or sense of superiority, while holding on to the positive traits, while working as a member of a team or on our own. Unfortunately, there are those who find this quite difficult. I’ve seem this first hand where one cannot or will not psychologically begin the real work of creating the next phase of their life, not just finding a new job.
A critical aspect of this letting go phase is the unexpected emotions that are associated with it. So many times those in transition say that they had not expected, and were not prepared for, this emotional upheaval. This experience of letting go, loss, and ending is often described as a grieving process. Shown here are the five emotions typically associated with grieving.
*While this looks process looks “nice and neat,” it is not. At some point, we think we are done being angry or depressed and well on our way to acceptance, then something happens and we again find ourselves retracing the path. This is an emotional roller coaster that we are hard pressed to understand – and it affects not just us, but those closest to us as in the image below.
John Y. Senior Inspector, Gilbert, AZ
Coaching Phase II: The Wilderness
*The second phase of Bridges’ process of psychological readjustment is what he calls the “Neutral Zone.” When talking to those in transition, I always call this “The Wilderness” because there is not, nor should there be, anything neutral about this phase of the journey.
This is the point in time when the past has loosened its hold, but the future is still ill-defined. This is a time for exploration of options and prioritizing or re-prioritizing values/goals. This is a time to open the lens and not just default to what you have done previously.
This is the time to reflect and think deeply on …
- What you want to do with your life?
- What would make you happy?
- What are your favorite and best skills?
- What are your values and priorities?
- What is your unique contribution to the world?
Caution! For so many, the priority is finding a job to pay the rent and take care of their families. If you need a job to make ends meet, take a job. However, do not abandon this time of exploration. This is your life, not just a paycheck.
Matthew M. Marketing Strategist, San Francisco, CA
Coaching Phase III: New Beginnings
*The final phase of Bridge’s transition model is “The New Beginnings.” The reality is that as you start in your position, you are likely to find new things that you have to let go of, new challenges to meet, new ideas and opportunities to explore.
This really is a new beginning, the opening of another chapter in professional life. Few find their “happy ever after” job. Instead, like most, they will continue to explore and evolve in their work lives. The progression we often see among our clients is an “A-B-C” progression, i.e., a job, a better job, a career.
Steven P. CEO/President, Redding, CA
Coaching Phases I – III: Over and Over
We have focused on job transitions, but we all recognize that as human beings we are often confronted with multiple transitions in life, and that some of those transitions may be interrelated. For example, I talk to a lot of individuals who aren’t just dealing with a job hunt, but with major changes in other areas of their lives. Divorce. Marriage. Injury and hurt – both physical and emotional. Relocation. Loss of parents. The list goes on and on.
There is a constant call to change. Sometimes the call is a quiet tap on the shoulder and sometimes it is the proverbial meteor that drops out of the sky. Constant transition is our human estate. The better we get at riding the transition roller coaster, the better the quality of our lives, our work, and our relationships.
Stuart S. Technology Consultant, Chandler, AZ
Your Career Transition Coach Will Help You Achieve…
DEFINITION: Kevin will assist you in defining your reality and discoing if your career goals are realistic. Together, you will discuss if you are operating under assumptions about your career path that make sense so that he may guide you in the right direction.
CLARITY: As a team you will examine your vision and define your career goals so that you are driven by purpose. Kevin will guide you away from the rollercoaster ride on on the right path.
UNDERSTANDING: A career transition coach becomes your accountability partner move you away from roadblocks that get in the way of your life and/or your workplace. You will learn how to move around the roadblocks and quickly past them.
EVALUATION: Your coach helps you to continually evaluate and assess your progress, moving you directly on the path to finding your dream job.
ACCOUNTABILITY: Kevin will help to support you in planning and setting goals for your career. Hold you accountable to yourself, your plans, and your goals. I will help you make those career plans and goals concrete and personally coach you as you make them a reality.
Rachel K. Trainer, Phoenix, AZ
Contact Us Today to Start Your New Career Path
* The basis of much of the work above was graciously shared from Paulette Risher, Major General, US Army Reserve, Retired, of Still Serving Veterans. Used with permission.