Most of us will make a career transition at some stage in life, whether prompted by redundancy, early retirement, organisational re-structuring, or simply by a desire to derive greater satisfaction from our work. And for many of us the greatest difficulty lies in working out exactly what that crucial next step should be. It can be particularly hard to see beyond the titles and expertise that have defined our roles to this point, and to envisage ourselves in new and unfamiliar territory.
What is needed is to identify those strengths and qualities that we draw on when we are performing at our best. Remarkably few people are either conscious of these qualities or able to articulate them, and yet they provide the basis on which career transitions may be confidently navigated. Coaching typically begins with an exploration of the individual's achievements, where these are defined as things they have done throughout their life that have given them a sense of satisfaction. On the basis of this enquiry, a clear and consistent pattern of themes emerges which provides a rich understanding of the individual's uniqueness and what we refer to as their 'want-to-do strengths'. These can be clearly distinguished from their 'can-do strengths'; those that they may be very accustomed to using but have much less appetite for.
On the basis of this exploration, clients are able to make more informed decisions about their career options; they are able to identify previously unconsidered possibilities, and to create CVs and personal biographies that present them at their best. On-going coaching provides the support and guidance needed to sustain the individual through the process of transition, from leaving the familiar behind, holding steady during any intervening period of uncertainty, and then engaging positively with the new.