How a life coach helped me return to the right career
A passionate supporter of flexible working, Jennifer Chapman hoped that setting up her own recruitment business would be the perfect way to champion her fellow career women, whilst getting the flexibility she needed for herself. But when the reality didn’t match the dream, she found herself at a crossroads – with no idea which way to go.
“I had had a varied career, with roles including Advertising Manager at Hearst UK and Head of Client Services at Mumsnet. I subsequently retrained as a recruiter and while working in that role, it became clear that I needed more flexibility, for health and family reasons. So I decided to set up my own recruitment consultancy.
“I loved what I was doing, but I really missed being part of a team with shared goals and values, and found it harder than I’d expected to start a business from scratch. The problem was, I didn’t have a clue about what to do instead.”
One of Jennifer’s friends recognised that she was struggling, and suggested that she speak to a life coach. And although she was sceptical, she thought it was worth a try.
“I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t expect much from the experience. If I didn’t know what I wanted to do, how on earth would anyone else be able to tell me? But I felt I had nothing to lose, so I went along – and it was transformational.”
Jennifer’s coach helped her drill down her values, assess her skills and understand what drives her. She also worked with Jennifer to boost her confidence, and be clear about what she had achieved in her career to date. And she then supported her to channel these insights into a clear job-hunting plan.
“Having helped me understand what direction I should take, my coach then empowered me to get on with it. She worked with me to set daily goals for my job search, and to create a list of the 10 most important things I wanted to get from my next role. This acted as a brilliant benchmark; I actually turned down a role because it didn’t fit my 10 criteria – and looking at where I am now, I’m so glad that I had the confidence to do that.”
While she was browsing the 2018 Timewise Power 50 winners, Jennifer read about Amanda Fone, CEO of F1 Recruitment, a consultancy which specialises in marketing and communications. So when she saw a role at F1 advertised on Timewise Jobs, she knew she had to go for it. And she is clear that the coaching played a huge part in her success.
“I was so impressed by Amanda’s vision and her focus on flexibility; her values seemed a great match to my own and I knew I could learn a great deal from her. So I worked with my coach to assess which of my skills were most relevant and what I could bring to the role, and to perfect my interview pitch – and was absolutely delighted when I got the job.
“Now I’m back in a team, doing a role that I love and developing new skills – and I couldn’t have done it on my own. I’d advise anyone who is struggling with their direction to learn from my experience and give coaching a try. If you had back pain, you wouldn’t think twice about going to see a doctor to get specialist advice. Coaching is the career equivalent, and it works.”