Often when we need career transition help the most, we can be reluctant to ask for it or recognize that by delaying taking action, we’re only lengthening our state of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, or not reaching our potential. Some may then trudge along, continuing to live with the status quo, for a variety of reasons – financial, uncertainty about what type of help is needed, struggle finding a good fit with a coach or adviser, etc. At times, the issue may be a lack of awareness or recognition of when to seek external support.
The scenarios below can provide a sense of when it’s a good time to hire a coach who can work with you on career development and transitions, whether you’re looking to find a next role or industry, grow in your career, or exit into retirement or semi-retirement.
Talking Without Doing: If you think you’re having the same conversations repeatedly with friends or family, chances are…you are! While they may not want to say it to your face, inside, the receivers of your lamenting about your current situation over the course of however long with no action toward change are probably a bit exasperated. How much more time, energy, and frustration are you willing to tolerate before enough is enough, both for you and those who serve as sounding boards?
Stagnation or Burnout: Feeling depressed, disengaged, stressed out, or unproductive has huge costs, both for you in terms of your health, and for employers (upwards of $190 billion a year a couple years ago). Being in a place of feeling overstressed or just plain bored in your career or retirement is a great time to seek help from a coach to give you a spark and find a fresh perspective with a clear goal while holding you to taking action for accountability. How much longer are you willing to sacrifice your wellbeing (and that of your organization, as the case may be)?
Change in Role or Career Identity: Whether through a promotion, re-organization, job change, or shifting priorities, any time you experience a major shift in the type of work you’re doing, tackling new challenges such as becoming a people leader for the first time or leading a fully remote team, or looking to exit, there are downstream impacts, both for you and those in your orbit. Working with a coach can provide you with a plan for how you’ll handle new situations and make a transition successfully. How much are you willing to go it alone, making this change in a vacuum, potentially, at the risk of missing key pieces that could make a big difference?
Unclear Direction: When you find yourself spinning without a clear idea of what’s next or what you want to do, coaching can be a catalyst to help you home in on where to take things. Perhaps it’s not having a good understanding of your strengths or skills, so you’re not sure what to do, that’s the obstacle. Or, you may have an inkling of a next move, and are experiencing self-doubt or confusion about how to get there. Maybe it’s fear holding you back from taking action, regardless of the direction you’d like to take, causing paralysis. How much more do you want to keep spinning without a plan, wasting precious time when you could move forward instead?
Negative Self-Talk: It’s very easy for us to talk ourselves out of something and make every excuse under the sun for why we don’t act, especially when we don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we can do, have ownership over, or belief in our abilities and capacity for change. If the script running in your head is mostly negative (e.g. “I can’t do ___ because…” or, “I don’t have ____ to make the change I want so why bother?”, etc.), it’s a prime time to seek coaching to get out of your own head and consider your circumstances from a different angle. The thought-provoking, powerful questions great coaches ask are frequently the technique that leads to breakthroughs. How much longer are you willing to stay stuck in your negative thoughts without seeing a different path to change your situation?
Regardless of your specific scenario (or a mix thereof), only you can decide when it’s time to get help. In other words, when does the cost of your happiness and wellbeing become greater than the financial and/or time outlay of coaching? What’s it worth to you to make a change with some support along the way so you are confident in your decisions and actions and overcome fear?
It’s a sign of strength, in my opinion, to get help when you need it, as so often it takes a lot of the pressure off that we put on ourselves so well, and can be just what’s needed to lead the life we want and make the changes we need to do for our own good and those around us. As the saying goes, if not now, when?