Coaching Corner part II - if you don't have a coach, what 3 things would you recommend to help yourselves?

Welcome Back to part II of Coaching Corner In part I of this series, we introduced the concept of coaching and some of the most common reasons for seeking a career coach ( However, we are very aware that not everyone has access to a professional coach s this week I asked Karen:

• If someone isn’t able to utilize the services of a career coach such as yourself, what would be three key things you would recommend an individual to do to help themselves?

Identify and articulate the issue This may sound really obvious but it’s surprising how difficult it is to do. When things are not going well or according to plan, it is really easy to jump to conclusions about why something is or isn’t happening. It’s surprisingly easy to confuse the symptoms of an issue, especially if there are many contributing factors, and completely miss the cause. Identifying the issue can be very tough and is often not a simple task, but in doing so, you’ll have a better chance of solving it quickly and more effectively.

Several of my clients have approached me to help with their interviewing techniques saying that they cannot get past that final round. Clearly many factors come into play, but what I found was that many didn’t know why they were interviewing for those jobs. If you don’t know why you are interviewing for the role and why you deserve that position, why would the interviewer think otherwise? For example, being frustrated with your current job may seem like a good reason to leave, but if you’re interviewing elsewhere solely because you’re frustrated, then that’s all the interviewer will see. If it’s because you are seeking a new challenge in a place where your values are more aligned, that will create a better impact at your interview.

Take a step back We’ve all been there – when you feel like you’re drowning in the problem. Continuously thinking about the issue will often exacerbate the worry and give it more significance than it really has. Take a break and do something different, preferably fun. That said, if it is really bothering you, it can be very hard to let it go, even temporarily. A possible solution is to give yourself permission to take a break by making a pact with yourself. ‘I know that I will worry about it all weekend but if I give myself permission to relax and to forget about it, I promise to return to worrying about it on Sunday afternoon.’ It sounds incredibly silly but try it! You’ll find yourself far more relaxed and able to approach your issue with greater objectivity and with more perspective, thereby reducing the worry. Practising mindfulness (yes I can see your eyes roll, I am also on that bandwagon…!), will allow you to create some distance between your thoughts and the reality of the situation. It may even feel less overwhelming.

Be creative in your solution finding Following on from the two points above, if you are able to identify the issue and create some distance from it, this should allow you to be creative with your solution finding. People often think that problems are greater than they are because they assume that their options are binary. By seeking and being open to creative solutions, some of their issues can easily be solved, or at least partially. For example, many of my clients want to feel more fulfilled at work but feel stuck for various reasons. Perhaps offering to mentor someone whilst at work, or contributing to a work sponsored initiative such as a charitable arm may partially fulfil that need for variety and fulfilment. Alternatively, this could be the time to dust off your recorder or bongos and meet up with some bandmates once a month to belt out a few Rick Astley hits. There is a lot out there for you – it may be that you need to slightly adjust the perspective from which you view things.

A side note - it is perfectly normal and encouraged for you to talk to your close friends and family about some of the issues that you face. However, although these well-meaning confidantes are looking out for your best interests, they may not be as good at really listening to your concerns, and many will be very pleased to advise before fully understanding what your concerns truly are, and have some strong personal biases in their approach. Just remember that you can only think and do what feels and is right for you. After all, you’re the one living your life!

Any further questions or if you have suggestions for topics on Coaching Corner, please contact either one of us: Karen –: Josephine:

Karen Kwong is an experienced business coach and consultant who has worked with start-ups and social enterprises through to large established corporates across a number of industries including financial services, engineering, retail, media & communications and also local Government agencies. Prior to this, she spent almost twenty years working at a senior level in fund management and she also has a Masters in Organisational Psychology. Please contact Karen at:

Josephine Defty is an experienced ex-IR professional turned head hunter following roles at a leading FOF, a boutique placement agent and a VC fund. She is focused on working with IR and fundraising professionals within the Private Equity sector - both in-house and within the placement industry. Please contact Josephine at

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