The Benefit of Coaching on Career Development

CoachHub · 22 August 2022 · 3 min read

Navigating transition is a hallmark of many coaching conversations, but what makes this topic so important?

Coaching has everything to do with change. Coaching can act as a change agent, playing out as support for an individual wanting to achieve change―like a career change or a strategic change program. As individuals develop a level of dissatisfaction with their current circumstances, the truth in the saying, “what got you here won’t get you there,” is revealed, and a coaching conversation is a perfect environment to explore what behaviour change is required to maximise the likelihood of a successful change.

Coaching is also helpful when having to deal with an unexpected change. A sudden change in circumstances can make people feel unsteady, and a coaching conversation can provide an opportunity to reflect and identify how to adapt. It’s also particularly helpful for use in advance of an anticipated change. For example, resilience coaching before a merger or a restructure will equip the individual to respond well.

Coaching for managing career change

Change, even when it’s positive, represents loss. Letting go of the familiar requires a level of vulnerability that many people are uncomfortable with, particularly in the workplace. Think about bungee jumping—there is a moment of letting go of the bridge railing and feeling the strength of the cord holding you safely. Releasing one’s hand from that security is a required step to embrace the fullness of the experience.

All career transitions include an element of loss: loss of relationships, activities and familiar settings. Bigger than all of those perhaps, a career transition requires an internal reframe of where one sees one’s position in the world. Particularly when an individual has tied up their sense of identity and purpose in one’s role, a change to that can unexpectedly remove some significant foundational building blocks of one’s worldview.

Our tendency to want to avoid loss more than make gains increases this sensation. Research (e.g. Kőszegi, B. & Rabin, M., 2007.) has even shown that the belief that a loss may occur will prevent people from engaging in something that would lead to a net gain. How much greater is that sensation when the subject associated with loss is that most significant of roles in our lives: our jobs?

It’s only natural, therefore, for transitions to introduce a sense of anxiety, even fear. The level of uncertainty around what the future might hold could be significant, especially if previously it had felt mapped out in front of them. Transition brings disruption, and that never feels nice.

Becoming comfortable with disruption

The disruption inherent in transition isn’t all negative. When harnessed it can push us into a place where we are perfectly positioned to learn. Uncertainty is a sign that we don’t know something, so the courage to lean into it rather than away from it gives us the perfect opportunity to learn new things about ourselves, other people, and the way the world works.

Neuroscience backs this up. The reward system in our brain processes both pleasure and pain, and is consistently working to maintain as close to a state of equilibrium as possible, through the release of neurotransmitters to dampen emotive reactions. This can be a problem when we’re experiencing pleasure, because we’re led to immediately eat yet another piece of chocolate. But when we choose to press into an uncomfortable situation, the inverse is true: dopamine is produced, and we can enter into a flow state in which we feel happy to continue to engage, even while experiencing greater neuroplasticity thanks to the release of acetylcholine.

Coaching is perfectly designed to support this process, creating a safe space for individuals to reflect on their transition, discover their strengths, explore their values, and bring a new sense of energy, stability, and resilience.

Even the most dramatic of unexpected transitions, such as a need to take on more responsibilities in the workplace while going through a divorce, offers opportunities to take dramatic steps forward. While emotions at the time might be more noticeable than during a time of extended stability, the chance to learn and grow as a person is very great.

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Bottom line

Coaching can also help to ground us when we’re going through a time of transition. A lot has been written about common experiences of transition, such as:

  • An immediate emotional response
  • Losing confidence and feeling impacted by imposter syndrome
  • Beginning to accept the change
  • Ultimately becoming more hopeful and optimistic about the future and the change itself.

By elevating our awareness of these, coaching helps us to ground ourselves, moving into the future with confidence and a more resilient mindset and skill set that deals well with change.

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CoachHub is a leading global talent development platform that enables organisations to create personalised, measurable and scalable coaching programmes for the entire workforce, regardless of department and seniority level. By doing so, organisations are able to reap a multitude of benefits, including increased employee engagement, higher levels of productivity, improved job performance and increased retention. CoachHub’s global pool of coaches is comprised of over 3,500 certified business coaches in 90 countries across six continents with coaching sessions available in over 80 languages. Serving more than 1,000 clients worldwide, CoachHub’s innovative coaching programs are based on proprietary scientific research and development from its Innovation Lab. CoachHub is backed by leading tech investors, including Sofina, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Molten Ventures, Speedinvest, HV Capital, Partech and Silicon Valley Bank/SVB CapitalCoachHub is committed to creating a greener future.

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