New Year’s Career Resolutions Q&A


By Helen Slingsby – Mon 6 Jun 2016 @ 11:03

How much of an increase in interest in your services do you get at this time of year?

It’s a cyclical business with the start of the year representing one of the busiest times for me, and probably any other personal development coach. The Christmas holidays have done little but crystalise people’s concerns and problems with their jobs, it’s a time to mull things over and take stock. I’d say business increases by 25% at this time as people from a raft of career backgrounds, such as car mechanic, university lecturer, marketing director and recent graduates back from time travelling, weigh up why they don’t feel stimulated or happy in their jobs, or are looking in the a case of graduates to start their careers.

Do you get people coming to you who are completely dissatisfied yet are at a complete loss as to what to do about it?

Yes, frequently. In my experience there are two types of people in this situation. The first type is dissatisfied and at a complete loss because they have little idea about the options open to them. They could also do with re-establishing who they are, what they value, what they are interested in and what transferable skills they have and get a clearer picture of who they are and what they have to offer. They often need some wholesale confidence boosting too, which I do.

The other type are unhappy and at a loss because of other problems that are not necessarily connected to work but are making them sad and unable to function. This could be a bereavement or a relationship that isn’t working or some deep-seated assumptions about themselves that have been in place since childhood (eg: “My parents said I was the serious one, therefore I can’t give up everything and become an artist” … “I am the baby of the family and therefore still expect everything to be done for me”). I work with this tyupe of material from a strictly career angle but won’t be able to help with the underlying issue

How does somebody go about changing career?

Baby steps! I take them through four stages asking: Who am I? What do I want and where do I want to be? What’s stopping me from getting there? With this increase level of self awareness we are able to work together to look at the options, what makes that person, tick etc and the do the fourth stage and plan for the future. I always stress the need to take things slowly, dip toes in ponds to see if the potentially new career really is the right one: for example, if you want to switch from recruitment to become a teacher, then ring the local college and do some voluntary work to see if it’s really you. This way we avoid the grass is always greener scenario.

It sounds like a big step, how would you make it seem more realistic for the client, and turn it into an achievable goal?

As you can see I turn the process into easily-digestible into bite-sized chunks. This stops things from being overwhelming and ultimately, off-putting. But it’s better to have tried than to regret it later. We only have one life. Remember: “Career time ticks away faster than you might think but remember it’s never too late to reset the clock.”

How can a career coach help?

They provide insights into a person and their career they may not realise. They make connections between people’s abilities and other occupations. CV and self marketing. They are a neutral person to talk to about jobs and career – something most people never do and yet most of us would agree, would find very beneficial. Even if it is just to air concerns about a new boss, missed promotion or new responsibilities.

If somebody knows they want to change career but doesn’t know which direction to take, can you help somebody identify what new career to embark on? Are you able to show them what steps to take?

Yes. I think we’ve discussed that above. I must stress that the best results are where the client is willing to go away and research the career options we have identified in our sessions and not expect the coach to do everything for them. It’s a two-way relationship, a partnership.

Is part of your job to help build an individual’s confidence and, if so, how do you go about doing this?

Yes we do confidence building exercises and simply by reconnecting with who you are and your achievements, can be a huge boost. If a client has a significant issue with lack of self esteem, which maybe very deep-rooted , I would recommend they seek extra help such as going on a course or seeing a specialist to address this.

How does Career Breakthrough work?

People get in touch often through personal recommendations, my website, and in response to advertisements. I find out what they are looking for and then we proceed with between one to five sessions. Typically four one-hour sessions should be sufficient to put a person on the right track.

What areas do you help with?

In that people are so fascinating and different, I seen them in relation to an equally fascinating and varied amount of career-related areas, including job change, redundancy, sudden departure and compromise agreement, returning to work after a gap, seeking promotion, managing one’s career, getting onto the career ladder, finding a job, confidence issues, keeping motivated , CV help and making the right impression on interviewers.

Do most of your clients experience a satisfactory result from coming to you?

I can’t promise the earth , nor should I. But I get good results. The best results coming from the clients who work the hardest during the process. It also depends on your definition of a result : it can be wholesale change such as giving up corporate life to be a full time artist. However, it needn’t be an earth shattering life changing experience. Some people simply visit me to check they are on the right track, others to discuss work life balance.

Are there any examples who have failed to turn their careers around?

I’m sure there are. I ask for feedback and get it, but it’s usually from people who’ve had a good experience. I had one situation where on reflection the client was simply looking for permission to quit his job, but had originally come to see me for a career overhaul. I addressed the bigger picture, while I think he really only wanted to discuss how his current job that was making him unhappy. It was a case of what was better: deal with the job, one of many this person had had, or question why he could not hold down a job. It’s not a definite science.

Can you put people in touch with contacts who may be able to help them in their chosen fields?

To a certain extent yes, although one of the key areas I stress is that each person should use their own personal network of contacts as it will be bigger and more diverse than they really think. This can be anyone from family, friends, friends or friends, business associates, people connected through your child’s school, sports clubs etc.

How much do sessions cost?

£125. There is discount for block booking and special circumstances. The other day I saw someone who had been made redundant just before Christmas, and charged her a lot less.

Are your services open to men and women?

Of course! I see 50:50 from a wide range of occupations.

What’s the next step?

Just contact me for further information about any of my services.