10 years of coaching executives into new roles – Here’s what I’ve learnt

After a career which has embraced clinical psychology, HR consulting and head-hunting, I trained as a coach 10 years ago. Since that time I have helped some 350 executives into new roles across the industrial and public sector landscapes. In this blog I will share 3 pivotal things that I have learnt.

1. Manage your demons

When senior executives lose their jobs for whatever reason, the framework of their lives is ripped away from them in an instant. Life feels shapeless, empty and lonely. As a result, confident, powerful people can experience grave self-doubt, loss of status and unfamiliar feelings of vulnerability. People can often experience fear and imagine the worst, resulting in negative self-talk such as, “What will people think of me?” “How will we pay the mortgage?” “Will people still like and value me?” “What will the kids think of me?”

In my experience, those that come through this experience best and those who settle quickest, are those who recognise and deliberately manage these demons. The executives who set themselves realistic timescales to find their next role and who are able to recognise their self-induced anxieties and push them forcibly to one side, are the ones who land most quickly and whose landings are the smoothest. It is important to learn not to ‘water the weeds.’

2. Less is more

Whether you’re writing a CV, rewriting your LinkedIn profile, interviewing, networking, or telling your story – the crisper, the clearer and the more succinct you are, the better. Recruiters, leaders and senior executives are, by definition, busy people.

For you to be remembered you have to make a quick and memorable impact. The more words you use, the more airtime you take to get your points across. In doing this you are actually less likely you are to be understood and therefore, less likely to be remembered. As Benjamin Franklin once said, in all aspects of communication “take the extra time it takes to write a short note.”

3. Massage your network

It’s true that 8 out of 10 people land their next role through people in their network. Who do you know that has insights into the market and opportunities? Who can introduce you to someone that can connect you to someone you want to talk to? What’s the most powerful hook you can find into the leading executive search partners?

People love to be asked for their opinions and most people are also more than happy to connect you to their contacts. When networking, it’s important to be authentic. Don’t try to be something you’re not, you need to make sure you come across as yourself, warts and all!

Following these simple rules can make such a difference to your journey from the unknown, to a new and fulfilling career. Experience shows that those who can control their demons, communicate simply and put focussed energy into networking, are those who come through the unease of job loss best. These are just some of the essential tools we use when coaching our senior executives as part of our Executive Outplacement service. For more information, visit our web page, or call us on 01491 414010.


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