Transitions: 5 Ways Executive Coaching Can Help

In nature, things are constantly in motion or some kind of transition. The seasons change, a seed evolves into a big tree, and a hurricane erodes a wide beach.

Human beings go through life, often amid a transition. Some are impossible to ignore, like a college graduate who finally, after years of formal education, joins the workforce. Or newlyweds who buy a home and start a new life together. We might transition from one job to another, from one career to another, from one spouse to another. We might change doctors, buy a red car, become a vegetarian, or finally, with the birth of a baby, become proud grandparents!

These transitions happen all the time, but it doesn’t mean we get used to them, let alone look forward to all of them.

Some happen because we want them to happen and others because they must or are forced upon us. They can happen suddenly, or over a long period so we hardly notice the change – – until we do. The aging process, for example, or building a career from novice to expert. Transitions can be scary and difficult, like suddenly working from home during the Covid pandemic or watching a parent develop dementia. They can be exciting and memorable, as when a couple has their first child. Some happen fast, without notice, like a cancer diagnosis during a routine mammogram or an injury that lands you in a hospital.

But, there are three things that all transitions have in common:

  • They require change
  • They make us different in some way
  • They have a consequence

One of the biggest transitions of all is working full-time in a prestigious job and then retiring. There may be a retirement party and some overlap with a successor. But then, poof, one day that building pass is taken away and the career is now in the rearview mirror. Consider Patriots’ Coach Bill Belichick who, after 24 years of unmatched dominance in America’s most popular sport, not to mention winning six Super Bowls, left that role behind on January 11th of this year. Franz Welser-Most, the extremely accomplished music director of the Cleveland Orchestra since 2002, plans to retire in 2027.

Retirement comes easily to some. Others do whatever they can to avoid the issue. You may have planned to travel and play a lot of golf but your lower back starts acting up. The home you wanted to move into is flooded by a hurricane. The paid Board position you thought you’d get isn’t coming through. Being home and shopping for food is just not what you had in mind.

Can coaching help? Yes! As it does in any big transition

If you’re contemplating a career change, a promotion into leadership, or retirement, coaching will reduce stress and provide a vision for the next stage by allowing you – without being judged – to:

  • talk openly and confidentially about fears around “what’s next”
  • discuss the likely upcoming changes and challenges
  • develop a plan that suits your goals, talents, and interests
  • pursue some brainstorming and out-of-the-box thinking
  • stay calm and focused

By deliberately thinking through an upcoming transition, including the issues, pitfalls, and your vision for the future, you will feel emotionally and mentally prepared to move forward rather than backing into it and hoping for the best. When done well, the transition can result in renewal and growth, not pain and retreat.

Elevate your Leadership Potential

To learn more about navigating transition and executive coaching, reach out to Margaret for a consultation.