It's time -- you can feel it. Your old job isn't quite capturing your interest any longer, and you know there's an opportunity to use your skills, your story and who you are as a human to make a bigger impact on the world around you. It's time for a career change. Of course, you've already researched a few options and read everything you can, perhaps you've been thinking about becoming a life coach for a few years. You've felt a pull and you're ready to look at it more seriously.
So, what are the ways to prepare for a career change? How do you make sure you come through it all successfully? We have some tips for you.
Ways to Prepare for a Career Change
1. Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons
Cloudy judgment? It’s not just you. It happens. That said, the very first career change transition tip we have is for you to double-check and make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. If you’re wondering how to become a life coach, are you interested in it because coaching is trending and it seems like an "easy" job or do you actually want to make a positive impact and be of service to other people? We can all say we want better salary, or more days off, or a more flexible schedule. And yes, these can be good reasons, but are they reason enough? Are they enough for you to actually make the jump into a new career?
So, ask yourself:
WHY do I want to change careers? (Be specific!)
What’s are the things about my current role that are no longer fulfilling me? List them all down.
2. Inventory all your skills
Next up is to assess your skills. Know the skills you need to have and skills you already have. What are the skills you have and are useful in your current work? What are the skills you have but you don’t use much in your current work? Which of these skills are you most confident in, and which are the ones you want to improve? What do you need to shore up before considering a move?
Sometimes, we can use our skills as our compass to point us to our new careers. If you’re good at mentoring and speaking with others about their goals, but your main job is working as an accountant, transitioning to a business or money coach does make sense. And you already have a good set of skills to start with. The shift won’t be as daunting.
So, ask yourself:
What are my most useful skills at work? (Soft skills included!)
What are my skills that I don’t use much at work?
Which of these skills do I want to make the most of and hone?
3. Plan carefully and set realistic goals
Making the change is not easy. And even if you have a solid plan in your head, you never know when things might not go as planned. Which is why we strongly advise you to have a financial cushion. Some things may work, some may not. And there’s really no way of telling. Thus, a financial cushion would be helpful in case things go a little shaky.
Also, don’t just set goals. Set realistic ones that advance you to the next stage. Break it all down into smaller, more achievable stages. Redoing the resume, updating LinkedIn, networking, brushing up on skills -- these things require planning and time. So many people struggle to deal with transitions because they set the bar too high. Carefully plan things out and set realistic goals you know you can achieve. Having a personal coach or a solid group of friends is super helpful in this aspect
So, ask yourself:
How long do I think this transition will take?
What are my goals during the transition to make it smoother?
How can I break everything down and stick to a schedule to get it accomplished?
4. Know how to deal with negativity and doubt
Change is scary, and during scary moments, there’s negative thoughts in our heads that are getting louder and louder. And sometimes, it can get paralyzing. Don’t let this voice take control of how you maneuver in life. Feelings are real, but those thoughts aren't always correct about our abilities or outlook.
Have an anchor thought, or a thought that silences these voices whenever they try to go louder. An anchor thought is usually picturing the outcome once you’ve made a successful transition. Perhaps it’s a picture of you being able to work from home. Or you and your family have more vacations in a year. Keep your anchor thought and your end goals close and when doubt or fear becomes louder, be reminded of why you want to do this career change in the first place -- to have a job that's more fulfilling, more enthralling, more meaningful to you.
So, ask yourself:
What exactly am I scared of and how can I reframe it as something more positive?
Where is this feeling coming from?
5. Show up and embrace the process
Showing up is easier said than done. Changes are complex and if you feel daunted, know you’re not alone. This is something we all share. We see this a lot at the Catalyst Coaching Intensive, people are interested in a new career as a life coach but have a lot of trouble sticking with the lengthy process of learning how to become a life coach. It's not an overnight thing, and these changes can take a lot longer than we want them to. But, time will pass either way -- so how are we showing up for ourselves, in our own lives?
It’s all tiring. It’s all exhausting. Push through anyway. Show up and embrace this messy but beautiful process. Fill your mind with positive thoughts because this is an exciting and thrilling time -- the beginning of something new and powerful in your own life.
So, ask yourself:
What's exciting about this process?
What can I look forward to in my new life, after this big change is over?
...Your WHY is so much more important than you realize
Many people think a career change is simply changing jobs. But if you think deeper, it’s so much more than that. Knowing WHY you want to change jobs is super important, more so than most people realize. Say your goal is to have a wellness coaching certification… WHY? Knowing your WHY and understanding how you feel about your current job and the new career you’re going for will help unlock new ways of thinking and keep you motivated throughout the process.
...Tracking your process is necessary
Tracking your process if another thing many people don’t practice. But it’s one of the most effective ways to prepare for a career change. And of course, to make sure you’re on the right track. It’s easy to lay out a plan and to set goals. Meeting those goals is another story, you might need a coach in your journey to become a coach. From time to time, check-in with yourself and see how your progress is going, write things down, make a spreadsheet -- whatever necessary to keep track of where you were and where you're going.
...A financial cushion is only there to help. Don’t rely on it fully.
While we mentioned the importance of a financial cushion and how much it can help during the rainy days of the transition, we also want to remind you it’s only there to help. That said, don’t fall into the trap of fully relying on it during your career change. It’s important to deal with transitions in a smart way and by that, we mean have another source of income. A part-time gig can go a long way, especially if you’re still working on your coaching training and aren’t working as a full-time coach yet.
Get ready to flourish! We're excited to see where this new career takes you.
Ready to know how to prepare for a major career change? If you're ready to learn more about how to become a life coach, take a look at The Catalyst Life Coaching Intensive. Vibrant community. Evidence-based life coach training. Lifetime support.