CASE STUDY #4: Exploring a New Career
Career change coaching is a powerful exercise for anyone in need of new career options. For our client, a veteran lawyer with twenty years experience, the coaching process gave him much more to think about than just a new career.
Our client was a lawyer with more than twenty years in-house corporate legal experience. He had reached a plateau in the company he was working in, and was looking for something that would give him more meaning. He was unsure about what types of jobs to look for outside of the law, and was worried about the financial impact of making a change on his family, since he was the primary breadwinner.
We started the engagement with an assessment that gave the client some insights to how he works best and his strengths. He had some quick recognition via the assessment that his current position didn't utilize many of his natural behavioral strengths, such as taking initiative, explaining why he had been feeling frustrated at work. It also gave him a good snapshot of the types of organizations and roles where he would be most comfortable, and what factors were most important for job fulfillment: being able to lead projects, being a valued part of a team, and having the ability to influence decision-making.
We went into the self-exploration phase of the coaching, and our client did some deep reflective thinking, and the coaching brought forth a list of potential career elements that were important for him. The coaching uncovered new career options, including academic and non-profit possibilities, which would utilize his legal background and potentially place him into a more fulfilling environment. We analyzed how his skills and experiences would fit into these types of positions, and layered in his work and life needs, including financial considerations. Career prioritization exercises narrowed his choices, and he spent time to research these options and test them out informally. At this point in the engagement, he had a solid understanding of the types of positions that he was excited to move into, and a lot of enthusiasm for what his future career would look like. He began the active process of networking and job search, and our coaching continued with personal branding and job search strategies. This entire process took approximately eight sessions over the course of three months.
At the end of the engagement, our client was deeply immersed in job search, utilizing the networking skills he had developed in coaching. His outlook on life was more positive than it had been in years. He was excited to move into a new career path. In addition, the insights he had about how he works best, as well as his new enthusiasm, had carried over into his corporate law job. He had a candid conversation with his boss, and was able to take on some different responsibilities -- which were in line with what he most enjoyed doing. As a result, his happiness in his current position increased, and the work felt more meaningful to him. He intended to continue to job search to find the "ideal job" for this stage in his life -- and, at the same time, was motivated to continue to improve what he could in his current position. He reported that the coaching had been "a tremendous opportunity to learn about himself, new career possibilities, and importantly, how to step up his current position to make that more meaningful."