By Pranavi Jha
Executive Coach coach
14 December 2020
There are many definitions and ways to describe Coaching and Coaches. The one I find the simplest and clearest to relate to is that "Coaches are thinking partners for people who are stuck inside their stories and perceptions". What does Coaching do? I borrow this from Master Coach Marcia Reynolds when she says, "At times when events at work and in the world dampen the spirit, coaching brightens the path."
I'm passionate about what I call, "Transition Coaching". At times of change, whether it is personal or professional; whether it is a consciously thought out decision or something brought upon us, we are at our most vulnerable. At such times, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, confused, under confident and prone to listening to advise that may not be in our best interests. Can you remember a time like that? How did it feel?
Change is inevitable and staying stuck is a painful option. So what works at such times?
Eye on the prize!
What is your goal here? Define your top 2-3 objectives for the next 3 months. Write down what are the most important things to focus your energies on? In a work situation, do you know EXACTLY what is expected of you; the said and the unsaid? Who can you schedule a conversation with to be absolutely sure. Know what you are going to be measured upon. If you are currently looking for a job, are you absolutely clear on what kind of role you are looking for and your target companies? Don't just jump for vague reasons such as 'a good role that helps me in growth and and gives me x% increment". What is your overall career objective and what should your next role look like in terms of skills and challenges? If you are a new mum, what challenges are you facing and what will ease these challenges for you? Do you need to build an understanding support system around you? Do you need to find ways to take care of yourself while dealing with new responsibilities? Or do you need to find a new workable work situation?
Have clarity on what you want.
Anchor to core values
At times of change it is natural to feel some dissonance. What is the discomfort? It is good to be aware of your core values and there are exercises and tests that help you identify these. Suppose one of your core values is work-life balance and a potential role requires significant responsibilities while the work culture doesn't really respect personal time. How long could you sustain this situation? Maybe you are a new Dad and you value partnership and support; what does it mean in this new situation and how can you bring it about in your parenting style?
At times of change, pauses to reflect are really important. We approach problems in familiar ways that have worked before. But these might not work in this new situation. List down the strengths that you can draw upon. Notice what holds you back. What are the familiar lanes that your brain loves to run along? Do you need a new map to reach this destination? What are you feeling right now?
Times of change can bring out the best and worst in us. Being aware of what your are feeling or how you are behaving is great. The next step is to manage your emotions and behavior to meet the situation. When you are stressed, what happens to you? Do you withdraw into a shell? Do you abdicate responsibility and place it on someone else? Or do you take the reins, not remembering there is a team to work with you? Does your response work well or do you need to modify it?
Have a plan
We've spoken much about connecting to your values, having clear goals and being self- aware. This has to be backed up with a clear achievable plan. Break the goal down; have clear strategies, smaller milestones and action plans in place. Review this frequently. A plan B is handy too. A tennis match is long and tiring if not broken down into sets and games.
Celebrate the wins!
Small wins matter too! Notice things that have gone well and treat yourself in a way that is meaningful to you. Did you reach a fitness goal? Treat yourself to a movie with that friend or the book that you've been meaning to read or the lipstick you've been eyeing!
Learn, learn learn!
New situations require new learning. Sometimes we believe that we should already know. If you are promoted to a new role, the previous success does not mean that you are equipped for what's round the corner! The next mountain is steeper and you may need better shoes or stronger rope. Have a learning plan ready too. Choose from a wide range of sources- on the job projects, find a buddy/ mentor, high quality online courses. Fit learning into your schedule, as a part of work and take time to reflect.
Keep good company
At difficult times, you need to be around people who believe in you, care for you and want you to succeed. Identify and keep away the energy vampires! Build up your support mechanisms for the tough days. No-one can do it all alone.
So there we are. A quick guide to managing Transition in your life. A Coach is very valuable in all the above steps.
WHO do you need to be BE to sail through the next phase of life? Let's talk.
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