Coaching Through Career Change

Author : Sinead Howland

16th November 2018

I’ve been working in the field of Careers for over fifteen years. What I love most about my job is hearing people’s stories. Career coaching is as much about life as it is work – to show you how I work with my clients I thought I would share some of my clients’ stories…

“In my experience, the best way to help clients is to start with self-awareness”.

Through coaching and exercises to do at home (yes I give homework!) we build a picture of the client their skills, strengths, passions, interests, work motivators, values, identity and life purpose.


Jane came to coaching, as she was unhappy in her career. She realised she was unhappy in the area she lived it too. So, Not only did she change her job and career, she moved out of London, closer to her family, two decisions she said changed her life.


Identity is an important area to explore. Elizabeth felt the need to return to corporate life after having two children and compared herself to work colleagues who had never left. She had a life changing moment when she realised it was OK to be a mum, the corporate self could wait. She went on to have a third child and did some part time study. Elizabeth is so happy with her decision she influenced many others to come and see me, she is currently my best advert!


Paul came to coaching, as he wanted to leave his job. There were aspects of his job he loved, but he was bored and not progressing. His interests outside of work were cars. Through coaching and visualisations, we began to build a picture of what his perfect career might look like. He found a similar job, but instead of strategic planning in border control it was liaising with the British car industry, and as Paul put it, “even when I am bored at work, I still get to talk cars all day, I love it”. Paul needed coaching to open up to the idea of connecting his passions with his experience and have the confidence to change.

Jane was a physio helping people at the end of their life. Something she felt she could no longer do. She volunteered at a rugby club seating people for games. Through coaching she was able to channel her volunteering at the rugby club to something more beneficial, she was helping overweight men get fit and slim down. She realised obesity was an area she was passionate about, so added personal training to her physio qualifications. We worked on visualising her perfect job, and as Jane explained it, she wrote the job description in coaching then found the perfect job to match it.


In my own personal coaching journey, I have discovered my life purpose is to help people find their life purpose. This has been a life-changing discovery as I can move forward in my business and career with a focus. It what I am doing helping others on their journey to discovering their life purpose? If the answer is yes, then I am on track…

A client, Claire discovered her life purpose was to empower young girls and women and had a number of business ideas. She decided to set up as a personal shopper, empowering women to feel confident in the way they look and run vision board workshops for women, helping people realise their dreams and goals. Long term Claire plans to study coaching and set up a programme designed to empower girls age 9 to 11 years, to help build confidence and resilience, discover their truest selves and develop skills, knowledge and courage.


Working on building self-awareness with the client builds their confidence and opens them up to look at a wide range of possibilities. At this point in the coaching process, we start to look at all the career possibilities the client has. Taking each one in turn and asking:

What is the underlying attraction?
If this were my career what would it give me?
How does this stack up against everything I now know about myself?
In this list, there will be some career themes worth exploring further and some ideas that can be best suited to hobbies and interests, but still important to their life.

For Justin, he had always wondered if self-employment was something he wanted to do. Exploring his career ideas he was able to put that idea to bed and realised employment was for him.

For Kimberly, she still had a desire to be an air-hostess, even though she was earning a six-figure salary in the city. When explored, the career idea was about the image of an air-hostess and being in a job where she gets to wear a great suit and “killer heels”. Air hostesses, to her, represented that image.

What you come out with is usually three career themes for the client to take forward and explore in depth. Then when they decide on what career they want to take forward and turn into a reality the next step is to create a plan of how to make it happen. Once they get to this stage, that is the easy bit!

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