During the pandemic lockdowns, perhaps you were one of the many people who started to look at their life and wonder, “Is this all there is?”

Last year, many people embraced a new reality that life is too short and too unpredictable to continue on a career path that isn’t fulfilling. However, while you might now know you want to make a job change, you might not know where to start.

Hiring an experienced executive coach to help you discover what you really want to do or to help you eliminate roadblocks on your chosen new career path, is a fantastic solution. But if you don’t have the financial resources to pursue this route, you can learn some tricks of the trade to help you, in essence, be your own coach.

If you’re going to coach yourself to a new career and succeed at implementing any changes, the first thing you need to understand and develop is Emotional Intelligence (EQ). In a nutshell, EQ is a set of social and emotional skills that enable you to manage yourself, relationships, and stress while making better decisions to achieve your desired outcomes.  While there are 16 core EQ traits, five of them standout as imperative for coaching yourself through a career transition.

  • Self-Awareness: To get to the root of why you want to shift careers and to find a path that is a better fit, you must know yourself, the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you’re not willing to be honest with yourself about your strengths, weaknesses, and your likes and dislikes, you will struggle to find your true passion and purpose.
  • Self-Regard: Confidence is imperative to weathering the storm that belies any transition. Many high achievers exude external confidence but internally suffer from low self-esteem and imposter syndrome.
  • Self-Actualization: Prior to the pandemic, money was often one of the biggest motivators, but today, meaning and purpose are right up there with compensation. In order to achieve fulfillment in your next job, you need to consider your values and motivators.
  • Reality Testing: In order to make any career change, you need to have the ability to see yourself and any situation as it IS not as you want it to be.
  • Self-Accountability: A major benefit to hiring a coach is that someone is holding you accountable to do the work needed to find your true calling and make it happen. Without a formal coach,  it’s easy to procrastinate or get frustrated and give up. If you struggle with accountability, enlist a friend to be an accountability partner, formally schedule check-ins with yourself, or try journaling as a way to stick to the work.

As you begin the self-coaching process, you have to get very clear about your REAL challenge, not just what things might seem on the surface. When you get to the root of why you aren’t happy in your current career, you can find solutions. If your current job isn’t a good fit, it usually indicates a gap between your personal values and what you are doing. There are plenty of free online tests that can help you better understand your values.

You also need to look at what your personal stressors and motivators are. Assessing what you are doing when you are energized and in-the-zone can help you understand what tasks and experiences bring you joy. Conversely, things that make you feel drained, stressed, and overwhelmed are tasks you’ll want to mitigate or avoid in a new career.

For anyone trying to make a career transition, it’s important to let your inner coach, not your inner critic, steer you. Negative self-talk and limiting beliefs are detrimental to the self-coaching process. Consider talking to yourself the way you would talk to a friend. You’d hardly beat your best buddy up for making a mistake – give yourself the same grace. Anyone going through a career change needs to be prepared to make some missteps along the way. Very often, your first idea, strategy, or solution isn’t where you land. Successful job changers can view everything as a process and any mistake as an important learning lesson along the journey.

While it is possible to coach yourself to a new career, it never hurts to have some additional tools in your toolbox. If you need a little help along the way, my company offers emotional intelligence assessments, and in September, my new book, “Driven to Thrive,” will be released. The book provides a roadmap for anyone looking to navigate their careers and job transitions with purpose, passion, and peace of mind.