As I think about my last half a dozen coaching clients, they have a pattern.
Each of them is at an intersection in their lives, at a transition point and wondering what next?
Unspoken questions are how can I do something that takes me nearer to the life I want to live? How can I do something I love? How can I balance work with my life in a way that feels harmonious?
My own life has been in a similar transition since last November when I did a lot of work on my values and what I and my partner wanted from life over the coming five to ten years. I made a decision to reduce my working days as an employee to three, to freelance two days a week and to negotiate some work with a previous employer and I love this new way of being. It means as well as making a difference in the day job, I can be as creative as I like and attend development courses on my freelance days and also have the flexibility and freedom to visit my Son and his family who are newly moved to Devon, every month.
For example, of the clients I mentioned
One was a returner to the labour market returning to work after an artistic/caring break of a few years, who had lost her confidence and wondered what she could now offer. Together we helped her secure well paid work that fitted well with her values and with flexible hours so that she could still paint and create.
Another was someone who felt out of step with her work. She had previously been promoted into a role and the service had changed to the point that she felt it conflicted with her values and drained her to the point of exhaustion. Together we revisited her values and identified where and why she felt disconnected from her role and considered her options. This person decided to take a career sabattical and to consider new ways of working over the summer. She handed in her notice the same week.
Another client was facing a restructuring of her service and potential redundancy. She had a fairly unique role and wondered what she could do next. Once again we did work on identifying what really mattered to her and over a short series of sessions this person was able to secure a new and stimulating role in a new organisation.
A senior manager came to me for confidence building. She had made an incredible difference in her role and yet had imposter syndrome. She had identified a job she really wanted to do in a new organisation - a sideways move - that would allow her to build up a service in a way that didn't consume her whole life and in an area with much less travel time. We spent two sessions together and the interview was so successful they offered her the job before she left the building.
One coachee had been frustrated in her present role as it didn't have any opportunities for progression. She identified a job at a higher level on secondment to another organisation and it was a stretch, taking her into a new area of training from that she had been used to delivering. We focussed our sessions on building her confidence, identifying transferable skills, working on her interview skills and in particular her presentation for the interview. This meant that at interview she was focussed and on point in talking about the changes she would make if she were to get the role and how the skills and experience she brought to the role would enable that. She was offered the job and is doing well.
Over my thirty something years of working with people looking for work and with employers, I have worked with so many kinds of people from executives to the long term unemployed. From people seeking employment in specific sectors such as airports, the car assembly industry to single parents returning to the labour market. From people who are ex offenders and or homeless through to young adults looking to gain employment.
A favourite area of mine to work with is confidence building in relation to supporting people career wise.
As well as recent examples above, people still occasionally tap me on the shoulder and say, do you remember you helped me to get that job at.....well I am still there!
So why might you want a coach to help you? You have experience in interviews and are good at applications. You get feedback on interviews you did not succeed in but perhaps things are still not happening.
Or maybe you are in a great job but have a nagging feeling that it is not the right career for you. Or perhaps you long for something that brings more balance to your life?
So, what difference can coaching make?
Using a variety of different approaches, and depending on what you want to have happen in our session, some things that could happen in a coaching session are:
Can I afford coaching?
The question could easily be, how can I not afford to?
With the cost of an outfit for an interview being upwards of £150.00, then the cost of travel and parking, not to mention the hours (days?) completing the application form and then preparing for your interview, (if you cost that in terms of your hourly rate at work), the cost is very significant. Not to mention the emotional aspects - the hopes, dreams, plans and aspirations you have riding on that career change, new role, downshift or promotion.
And if you aren't successful this will have been a useful, but costly, piece of feedback that can take you closer to your goal.
For a potential outlay of £30.00 for a single session, you could make a significant saving by being prepared, for the right job, in the right way and at the right time.
Typically and by agreement, a coachee would spend one to three sessions with me on career aspirations and this may be online via Zoom or Skype or possibly face to face depending on your location.
So, if you want to make a fresh start this autumn, do get in touch via the enquiries form on my website.
Coaching is on offer at a special rate of £30 per session until the end of August and you can have a free 'chemistry meeting' to find out if coaching (and coaching with me) is the right next step for you and this will include a taster of my style.
I look forward to working with you and supporting you to do what you love!
Whenever I pick Richard up from work in our car, I arrive and then walk round to the passenger seat so that he can drive back. And whenever we go on holiday (or anywhere) together, I let him drive.
From time to time when then Richard says he is tired from all the driving, I rear up on him and say ' I didnt drive because you are always picking faults with my driving' or 'you never let me drive long distances'!
This is classic drama triangle.
In the Karpmann drama triangle the victim (me!) is looking for a rescuer (Richard)
The victim puts out little signals to hook the rescuer. 'I am too tired to drive', I don't feel comfortable driving on the motorway', I have never driven that far', 'I am a nervous driver'. And, as Richard takes to the wheel he rescues.
This works only as long as it works, and both parties are happy in role. But often in the triangle, there is a switch and a feeling of discomfort - a 'what just happened there' moment!
In the example above the victim turns into the persecutor and the rescuer is now victim. Nice.
So how do you know when you are victim? Or rescuer?
You are probably victim if you have an unspoken agreement or are allowing someone else to do things for you. Some examples could be
Doing the household bill paying
Putting the bins out
Doing the garden
Cleaning the house
Doing the driving for you etc
You are probably rescuer if you are helping somebody and they haven't specifically asked you to or you haven't specifically agreed to help
Doing the household bill paying
putting the bins out
doing the garden
cleaning the house
doing the driving
Solving a problem for them etc
Another example is of somebody asking you for help with something at work - 'Can you help me fix the photocopier, its broken and I don't undertand how it works'? This is the victim putting out pleas for help to hook a passing rescuer.
'Here, let me sort that out for you' (rescuer).
And if you cant sort it out, a response of this kind, 'well I suppose I will have to report it as broken then, and I've got loads of work to do' in a huffy tone that can leave you feeling as though its your fault and you've failed (The switch to persecutor).
Another game is the 'yes but' game, and again its out of conscious awareness.
A friend tells you about how she feels mistreated by her boss (looking to hook a rescuer). You say, 'why don't you look for something else'. 'Yes but the money is good and its only round the corner from home'.
'Why don't you complain to HR'...'Yes but I don't want to create any trouble for myself'. 'Why don't you have a word with the boss and tell her how you are feeling'...and then the switch, 'its no good talking to you about this, you just don't understand....' (now victim is persecutor and you are victim).
So what can you do to stop yourself being in victim?
Notice it. Notice you are passing over responsibility and take it back. Say 'I will drive today'. And if there is a criticism of your nervous driving say, 'thank you, I know you care about me and you want me to be safe, and that's why you are pointing these things out. I would prefer it if you didn't criticise my driving as it doesn't help my confidence'.
Or 'I have tried following these instructions on the photocopier to fix this fault and before I report it as broken, I am wondering if you can see anything that I may have missed'?
And if you are persecutor, take back responsibility. Ask yourself 'what is my part In all of this (and you always have a part), where has this come from? ,what do I really want here...and ask for it in an adult way.
In summary then, a simple rule of thumb is that if you are doing more than 50% of the work you are probably rescuing. So you have the choice to offer help when help is asked for, or to offer advice when advice is asked for but beware of wading in and offering help that is unasked for unless you want to be in drama.
About the author
I love learning new stuff, I get a real thrill from making new connections with and between things.