New Career Coaching: 2 Key Reasons NOT to Rush in Plus a 5 Step Process to Empower Your Clients

Client rushing to new career with rocket shoes

When a client comes to you, unhappy and wanting to find a new job or career, don't leap into helping them find a new job or career!

Everyone has a story—they're bored, underappreciated, their boss is mean to them, they didn't get the promotion or pay-rise they deserved, the company's values don't match their own.

And when someone is unhappy at work, the usual response is to assume that the job or career is wrong. The 'logical' next step is therefore to find a new job or career that doesn't make them miserable!

Whatever their reasons, people are often already convinced that the solution is to jump ship and find the "perfect" new job or career. And so they hire themselves a coach to help!

And we coaches get dug into the business of helping them set goals, brainstorm ideas and taking action.

This is great. And...

There are 2 issues with leaping straight into finding that new job or career:

1) Finding a new job or career can take some time

Your client will continue being unhappy and dissatisfied 5 days out of 7, until they find their new job. And as finding a new job or career can take a while, this means your client may potentially be miserable for quite some time.

What we want is for our clients to find a way to be comfortable where they are, for as long as it takes to find them a new job, role or career.

So it's important to help our clients move from a position of strength—not weakness—as this allows our clients to turn down an unsuitable job offer or quitting their job out of frustration.

2) Rushing to a new job or career can mean clients miss out on a much simpler solution

In rushing away from the unpleasant situation, your client may miss fantastic opportunities right where they are.

A few alternate ideas include

  • A sideways move to a different department or role in their current organization
  • Getting some training to help in their current role
  • Requesting more of the tasks/activities they enjoy—or fewer of the activities they don't
  • They could stand up to the difficult colleague at work and build their confidence
  • Changing their working days/hours, compressing their working week or going part-time
  • Finding ways to meet their needs outside of work

For example: I had one client who moved to a similar sales role, but in an entirely different division of the company. This changed their responsibilities and gave them a customer base that aligned with a hobby they had—which made their work more fulfilling and gave them a new boss!

Another example: I had a client reduced their working hours, told their boss what they needed to do their work well (who surprised my client by agreeing!). They also started a small part-time business on the side they were super-excited about! Which meant their job paid the bills—but they got work fulfilment outside of their existing role.

Neither of these clients "quit" their current job.

Here is a 5 Step Process to Help Your Clients Identify 3 Actions to Empower Themselves in their Current Working Situation

Note: This process is drawn from our coaching exercise, "Reclaim Your Power at Work".

  1. Start by asking your client "What percentage of your time at work are you currently feeling;
    1. Enjoyment?
    2. Miserable? and
    3. Somewhere in between?"
  2. Next ask your client to list:
    1. "What most contributes to your enjoyment at work?" and
    2. "What most contributes to your misery at work?"
  3. Suggest they take a few moments to really consider their responses before asking:
    • "What are the key underlying factors that impact your enjoyment of  your work?" and
    • "If there was one thing that made THE difference as to whether you enjoy your work or not, what would it be?"

Now your client has lots of information they can use to both increase their enjoyment and reduce what makes them unhappy.

Next coach them to come up with 3 actions they can take to empower themselves in their current situation.

  1. First, let your clients know you're going to do a little brainstorming. The idea is to come up with as many ideas as they can, without judging those ideas! You're interested in quantity, not quality! Now ask them:
    • "Given what you now know about yourself, what opportunities are there right where you are to find or create work you would enjoy more?" and
    • "What could you do to empower yourself in your CURRENT work situation?"
  2. Finally, armed with all this new information and ideas, ask:
    • "What 3 actions will you commit to take today, tomorrow or within the next week?"
    • Then coach them around these actions—looking for obstacles (themselves, others!) and encouraging them to be bold and to take care of themselves.

Final Thought

You may also need to remind your client that we all have feelings while working.

Work is where most of us spend our prime years and the bulk of our time. Our feelings are always shifting and changing—and over time these feelings can range from misery to bliss! And it's perfectly normal to have 'negative' feelings sometimes—even when we love our work.

We'd love to hear your career coaching stories and experiences. Share yours by commenting below!

If you liked this article about finding meaningful work, you may also like:

Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>

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