Thursday, July 2, 2020

Career Transition: From Exploration to Action

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My clients often seek coaching when they’re experiencing a major transition.  They could be in a new professional role and want to develop critical skills needed to work at the higher level.  Perhaps they’re frustrated from having their hard work overlooked.  Or maybe they’re looking for a new job.  Something may simply be missing from their career.

Life is a series of transitions.  In his Handbook of Coaching:  A Comprehensive Resource Guide, Frederic Hudson defines the four stages of his transition model of change.

  • Phase I: “Going for it” We are happily pursuing our goals with fervor.
  • Phase II: “The Doldrums”  We are feeling “stuck” or lacking momentum.
  • Phase III: “Cocooning” We begin our self-renewal with reflection and exploration.
  • Phase IV: “Getting Ready” We move to action and execute our plan of change. 

Once we reach the cocooning phase, it can be fun to explore and imagine what could be different.  But moving from Phase III into Phase IV can trigger fear, holding us back from our dreams. 

At that point, you must make a commitment and a plan.  Here are a few suggestions to help you maintain your forward momentum:

Get support. 

Whether it’s a coach, a friend network or mentor, you should have your encouragers join you on your journey.

Work on one thing at a time. 

If you try to change everything at once, you’re more likely to feel overwhelmed. 

Make your decision and stick to it. 

If you’ve made the decision to change, and have done so with clarity, don’t be surprised if you feel yourself being pulled back to the familiar.  Keep the rationale for your decision in front of you.  If the fundamental reasons for your decision have not changed, then it’s unlikely your decision will change.

Acknowledge your successes, no matter how big or small, along the way.  

Give yourself credit for each and every little thing you’ve accomplished. It will help you stay focused on the positive.

Keep your eye on the prize.  

Use a vision board, an affirmation of your goal, a picture or quotation that keeps you motivated.  Look at it often to remind yourself of why you’re making this change.

The more you are able to use these tools to maintain your momentum, the more smoothly you will move through your transition to the next phase. For more on moving from exploration to action, join me on February 15th for my Coaches Corner on this topic. 

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