CLIENT STORIES: Mid-life career change

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At 43, Barry had worked in the same sector for 15 years and was at a critical point in his career. He could step up to the top role, or change careers completely. His preferred option was the latter, but he didn’t know how to make that happen.

Feeling trapped and not knowing what else he could do or how to transfer his skills to something else, Barry decided on career coaching.

As with many people considering a mid-life change of career, Barry had some barriers and fears to work through. Having reached a senior level in his current career, he was worried about loss of identity, and that maybe he had no experience of value outside his current role. At the same time, he was clear that he didn’t want to retrain, and neither did he want to start at the bottom of a new career path. He was also putting pressure on himself, believing that if he was going to make a change, the next thing had to be the ‘right’ thing.

It helped Barry to hear that, while its important to be able to identify what the ideal would look like for him so that he knows what to aim for – which is what the coaching was designed to help him achieve – in reality, there are often transitional roles along the way to the ideal.

Ultimately, what Barry needed to overcome his barriers was to trust in the process and give himself the time needed to get to ‘what good looks like’.

“The coaching process provided me with the confidence to commit to change,” he says. “Lucy provided a metaphor at the start of jigsaw puzzle parts. To extend that metaphor, each part seemed new and not to fit at the time. But, once I took the time to examine them as a whole, I could see patterns… I have been able to better explain what works for me. I can now see what drives me and what strengths were unrealised”.

Within five months of the coaching sessions, Blair had resigned from his job and been appointed to a new role in a new sector – without having to retrain or start at the bottom.

“The benefits of the coaching unfolded over time. As I used the tools Lucy provided, I was narrowing my consideration of job descriptions. Once I had the clearest thinking on what I needed to do I found success. This was not an accident, but a product of valuing the guidance Lucy provided, trusting the process, and, taking the time to get there,” says Barry.

“I feel at peace with the transition I have made from a long career toward a new path. I am more optimistic now. I see how unhappy I was. I knew there were other opportunities – but I needed support to change. I feel so fortunate to have had the professional help to guide me to do what benefits me”.