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Yes. But, but, but…………

Making a career change can feel as big a decision as choosing a life partner and whether to have a baby. That’s big.

Career Ladder cartoon

To achieve a successful career change, you need to overcome the ‘buts’. A career change can seem like a huge mountain in front of you to climb. Part of my job as a talent liberator is to be your Sherpa.

I was reflecting recently on what ‘Buts’ come up often with my clients:
* Lack of time to think and make a change
* Feel burdened by the weight of responsibility e.g. as the main breadwinner
* How a change will affect future plans and choices e.g. having another baby
* Fear of the unknown
* Finding something that fits you and is fulfilling
* Getting a lucky break and for a potential employer to see the value you bring
* Fear of making a bad decision and regretting a change
* Believing that a change means you have to go to the bottom of the ladder
* Fear of losing financial security and feeling vulnerable

Sound familiar?

7 Tips to overcome career change ‘buts’

1) Design security into your change
2) Set up a savings account to fund a career break, retrain or financial cushion for peace of mind
3) Keep the faith – be persistent
4) Make time to get clear on what you want
5) Create your own luck – be proactive
6) Fill the gap – information, especially for lawyers, provides clarity and reduces fear
7) Block out time every week so you make progress

What tips would you add?

One of my clients has put in a request for ‘compressed hours’; working a 4 day week with longer hours every day, and taking one day off each week for them to nurture themselves, feed their mind and spirit. Fancy that kind of career change?

What next?

The quieter summer months are the perfect time to think about your career and what you really want.
Imagine returning to work in September clear about what change you want to make and how you will achieve it.

A fast track career coaching programme could enable you to achieve it. Act today – get in touch:

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Want to work flexibly?


Today’s the day – 30 June 2014. From today, any employee who has been working for 6 months can request flexible working in the UK, whether they are a parent or carer or not. 20 million people have the right to ask. What impact will this have do you think?

Status re flexible working

Employees want flexible working but presenteism in the office still pervades the work culture in many businesses and an old fashioned 9-5 model of work (often 8-6 in reality!) still exists that creates commuting bottle necks that could be avoided. Companies have become more open to flexible working, but because it jobs to adopt & accommodate flexible working. How to balance clients’ needs and employee demands is the key.

Impact of failure to embrace flexible working
Employee needs and wants are rarely the driver for employers embracing flexible working, when this would enhance motivation, reduce stress and enable firms to operate more 24/7. It is hardly surprising there is a huge drain of talented women from many companies as a refusal to adopt flexible working often gives working mothers no other option but to exit.

Growing desire for better work life balance
The younger generation’s desire for flexibility, enabling technology and a growing employee voice helped by social media will be catalysts for change, as will be lost productivity with peak commuting bottlenecks. Flexible working has become associated with women, but men want it too and wanting a good work life balance is a common and growing desire. In many professions, a request for flexible working is like career suicide.

Transport & commuting challenges
The core problem is that too many people travel to work at the same time on transport infrastructures that are feeling the strain. Data on transport utilization and population growth, especially in London and the South East, indicates that the problem will get worse not better.

What types of flexible working are there?

There are a number of types of flexible working – which one appeals to you?

Self-employment – the ultimate in flexibility – choose your own hours

Part time working – less than full time hours

Flexi time - freedom to choose to work within agreed set hours

Staggered hours – employees have different start and end times enabling employees to avoid commuting and businesses to open longer

Compressed working hours – cover standard hours in fewer days

Job sharing - two workers agree hours and split a full time job between them

Term time working – take paid or unpaid leave during the holidays

Home working/teleworking – spend some/all hours working away from the office

V time working – reduce hours for an agreed period with guarantee of full time work when this period ends

Zero hour contracts – work only hours the employer needs

Sabbatical/career break – employees are allowed to take time off for an agreed time, either paid or unpaid.

5 tips about flexible working

If you are looking to negotiate flexible working with your current or future employer, here are 5 tips:

• Create a business case for your employer to work more flexibly with data about increased productivity working from home.
• Look ahead to tomorrow as well as today. Will you be a carer or parent in future and if so, how can you start the ball rolling today to work more flexibly?
• Get up to speed with your legal rights.
• Find out your employer’s policy on flexible working.
• Think about possible objections and barriers to you working flexibly and brainstorm ideas and responses to overcome them

Self-reflective question
“If I could design my working life to suit my needs, what would I choose?”

Inspiring quote
“We all have two choices. We can make a living or we can design a life.” Jim Rohn.

For more useful insights and tips, follow us on Twitter:

PS I have just written a chapter for a new book being published by Globe Law & Business in the Autumn – ‘the impact of coaching on work life balance’. I am self-employed so I can and do work flexibly. I am naturally an early bird, so my flexible working is waking at 4am ish and having a nap at about 2-3pm!

Coaching at 6am is a good time for me :-)

10 inspiring quotes about change

Growing sunflowers (Better Business)

I love inspiring quotes – selective ones. It is like a well-chosen image, more is not necessary.

Here are 10 inspiring quotes about change and attitude to change.

“Often people live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the opposite. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.“ Margaret Young.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan Kay.

“Control your destiny or someone else will.” Jack Welsh.

“But is a fence over which few leap.” German Proverb.

“If you have to support yourself, you might as well do it in a way that is interesting.“ Katharine Hepburn.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.“ Gandhi.

“Your work is to discover your work and then, with all your heart, give yourself to it.” Buddha

“Do not let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.“ John Wooden.

“If hard work was such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it to themselves.” Lane Kirkland.

“If you think you can, you can, if you think you can’t, you are right.” Henry Ford.

Which one is your favourite? We would love to hear any inspiring quotes that you especially like.

Follow us on Twitter for more inspiring quotes, tips and insights:

Ready for change? Get in touch if you would like to discuss how career coaching support would help you achieve your change faster and with less pain.

Does a portfolio career appeal to you?

Career opportunities next exit

Our last blog looked at what a portfolio career is, the components and why they are growing.

This blog shares the pros and cons of a portfolio career and some examples.

Pros of a portfolio career

• Variety & stimulation
• New experiences
• ‘Weather’ economic storms/market shifts
• Honour your different needs and wants
• Balance financial security & dreams
• Time for hobbies and travel
• Time to invest in new skills

Cons of a portfolio career

• Need to market yourself
• Need to be good at managing priorities
• Multi-tasking ability ‘a must’
• Uncertainty can be uncomfortable for some
• Can be ‘full-on’
• Have to explain to others what it means

Examples of a portfolio career

My portfolio career comprises; career coaching, executive coaching, content creation, content curation, events, writing, facilitation and consultancy.

Below are some other examples of a portfolio career.

• Lesley combines associate freelance work, a part time job and volunteers for a charity
• Ben works long hours earning for 6 months of the year to fund his travelling the world for 6 months
• John is a non-exec director and also does paid project/contract work
• Claire has 2 paid retainers, volunteers and is studying to increase her skills and marketability
• Charles Handy and his wife Elizabeth split their year 50:50. Half the year his career is the priority and the other half she calls the shots

One of the great things about a portfolio career is that you can design it to suit you and the mix of the components changes over time, so you don’t feel stale.

Last week for example, my portfolio career comprised; a 2 hour session on personal branding for women in advertising, executive coaching/business development mentoring, career coaching with current and new clients, editing some content, writing on diversity and inclusion and attending an industry awards on best practice in learning and development.

What next?

Are you at a career crossroads?

Now is a great time to take action. Career coaching helps you focus, create change and achieve more faster. Starting now, 6 weeks on a fast track programme would enable you to move forward before the summer holidays. Get in touch for more details.

What do our clients say?

Follow us on Twitter:

Could a portfolio career make you dance?

Maypole from beneath

More and more people are doing a portfolio career. Could you be one of them?

This blog shares what a portfolio career is, the components and why they are growing.

What is a portfolio career?

• A mixture of different strands
• Doing more than one thing for work
• A shifting blend of work components
• Work that gives you options
• A growing trend

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it
.” Alan Kay

Components of a portfolio career

• Part time job/jobs (employment)
• Freelance/contract work (self-employment)
• Non-Exec director
• Volunteering
• On-line business
• Study
• Travel
• Career break/rest

Why are portfolio careers growing?

• Changing world of work
• Shortage of full time jobs
• Growth in self-employment
• Desire for choice
• Gen Y/Millennials/Gen Edge different values
• Desire for meaning and purpose
• Shift to employees taking responsibility
• Second career post redundancy
• Less middle management jobs with automation

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Maria Robinson.

Next time, we will share the pros and cons and some examples.

Are you at a career crossroads?

Now is a great time to take action. Career coaching helps you focus, create change and achieve more faster. Starting now, 6 weeks on a fast track programme would enable you to move forward before the summer holidays. Get in touch for more details.

Follow us on Twitter: @talentliberator

Want career change, but juggling priorities?

Woman juggling clocks

Many people want to make a career change, but don’t start. Lacking time, they are always juggling priorities but investing time in marketing themselves, essential to create a career change isn’t one of them. Here are some tips:

10 tips to make time for marketing yourself

1. Language – use words that feel motivating when diarising marketing yourself activities, e.g. ‘career development project’;

2. Diarise – block out time regularly – 10 minutes a day adds up over time. So does 0 minutes a day;

3. Goal – have a S.M.A.R.T goal for your career (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timed), and a clear step-by-step plan to achieve it;

4. Environment – Do tasks away from the office where client’s needs beckon e.g. in a coffee shop near work;

5. Enjoyable - focus on the aspects of marketing yourself that you enjoy, e.g. some people enjoy writing articles, other people prefer chatting 121;

6. Appealing – focusing your marketing efforts on attractive employers who you feel excited about working with because you relish their culture or because there are opportunities for progression and involvement in decision making;

7. Bite sized – creating timed small tasks e.g. tag LinkedIn connections or e mail an influencer an update reduces overwhelm;

8. Expert help – select an experienced career coach to keep you focused.

What tips would you add?

Making a career change takes time and investment in your own marketing, but if you action at least one of these tips, you will move forwards.

For more insights and tips, follow us on Twitter @talentliberator

18 reasons why people stay doing a job they hate

Dreams and obligations

Spring is a time of growth and change. Many people move jobs in the Spring, but many don’t. Here are 18 reasons why people stay doing a job they hate:

1. Inertia
2. Fear of change
3. Like staying in comfort zone
4. It is easier NOT to make a decision
5. Lack time
6. Laziness
7. Want to get redundancy pay off
8. Financial commitments e.g. large mortgage
9. Dependents e.g. children going through University
10. Anxious about career change
11. Planning to have a child and want to take maternity leave
12. Worried about losing employment law rights if they move companies
13. Don’t know what else they want to do
14. Lack time to think/plan
15. Not sure what their transferable skills are and what they would be useful for
16. Find it hard to get a job elsewhere – common for over 50’s
17. Want to build pension for retirement
18. Self-employment feels too scary

What would you add?

For more insights and tips, follow us on Twitter:

If no 15 resonated with you, why not download our free PDF to identify what your transferable skills are? Click on this link:

Big data or big questions?

Set goals

Big questions are a useful tool to mine insights and utilize the capacities of our minds to analyse big data, solve problems and think better.

Open self-reflective questions or ‘self-coaching’ costs nothing, can be done anywhere and usefully, your mind works on them while you are doing something else. Here are some big questions for you:

What do I really want?

Who do I want to become?

How do I lose time?

What would make my life/work more fulfilling?

How can I minimise stress?

Where do I waste money?

What does happiness mean to me?

What does success mean to me?

What needs to change?

What is my career strategy?

What am I avoiding that needs resolution?

What fears hold me back?

What goals am I committed to?

What is my role in helping the world?

Self-reflective questions are very powerful, but it is action that creates the change, which is why having a coach is beneficial to achieve more faster; time and space to think, accountability and a supportive yet challenging sounding board.

For more insights and tips, follow us on Twitter @talentliberator. If you are ready for change, get in touch about how our coaching can support you.

Happy 2014 to you!

Career cul de sac?

Career opportunities next exit

This is a guest blog from one of our clients, Rick Cotgreave. We helped Rick discover his second career at 40.

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Maria Robinson.

These are Rick’s words below:

“What can I do? I’m 40 years old, I’ve lost the enthusiasm I once had for my work, there must be more to life. How can I use my skills more productively? What opportunities are out there? These are just some of the questions I had when I met Rachel in 2010. I was taking a sabbatical from work and was feeling lost. The future looked uncertain, staying in the same job and ticking down the time until retirement was terrifying. Surely there was a more productive, a more exciting, and a more rewarding way to make a living.

I had been given a gift voucher to see Rachel as a Christmas present. We arranged to meet and spend some time exploring how to combine my skills, experience, and passions to create a meaningful career. At the time I had no idea that just a two hour meeting would create such a significant shift in direction for me. With skill Rachel coached and advised me to examine the things that really mattered to me to take a fresh perspective on my experiences and to bring them together in a way that was both relevant and of real value in the wider market place.

My background was predominantly in sport, I’d played lacrosse internationally and used that build my first career doing sports coaching and teaching Physical Education. Sport provided a great foundation for a mind-set keen to constantly look for ‘better’ and ways to develop and improve. I’d also studied yoga and meditation for many years which gave a balance to the competition of sport and helped provide an insight into the mind-set of contentment and fulfilment. Teaching had been a great way of sharing my passions with other people, but I sensed that there were more opportunities beyond the world of education.
Rachel broadened my perspective and allowed me to see how my skills could be applied in the corporate world.

I began to see that a keen understanding of performance excellence learned in sport was a transferable skills that could help businesses improve individual and team effectiveness. An understanding of mindfulness could help raise awareness, manage stress and improve performance under pressure. It was this knowledge combined with the passion for sharing, teaching and coaching that would provide the building blocks for my second career.

In just two hours with Rachel, my eyes were opened to new possibilities. I subsequently resigned from my role, gained extra training and qualifications in coaching and began to build my business, Mobius Performance. I chose the name Mobius to represent the fusing of the inner and outer worlds – bringing together the performance excellence seen in sport and the personal excellence discovered in meditation.

Since meeting with Rachel I have been able to create a career that is much more rewarding. I learn something new every day and develop my skills further than I ever had the opportunity to do before. I have had the privilege to work with some brilliant people and share my passion for human development in businesses all over the world.

It might have only been two hours, but the meeting with Rachel was the start of something that continues to grow. It’s a constant reminder to me of the power of coaching – the right person, at the right time can make a massive difference to someone’s life. We all have something inside of us, it sometimes takes someone else to give us a gentle nudge so that we can grow and blossom.“

For more information about Rick, click on this link:

Imagine what an Energise gift voucher could do for you or someone you care about? Click on this link to find out more about our services/enquire about Energise gift vouchers:

For more insights, tips and inspiring client examples, follow Rachel on Twitter:

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan Kay.

What could your second career be? Download our free Skills report as a first step:

How to conduct a pre-termination negotiation

Sign pointing easy way or  hard way (Changing Work) (2)

This is a guest blog about pre-termination negotiations or PTNs by Blair Adams, an employment lawyer at law firm DMH Stallard.

In July 2013, new legislation introduced the concept of pre-termination negotiations (PTNs). PTNs are confidential and will not be admissible in certain tribunal proceedings, the intention being to make it easier for employers to have off-the-record conversations with employees about agreed terminations. In addition, conducting a PTN and concluding a settlement agreement are now the subject of a new ACAS Code on Settlement Agreements. The Code is not legally binding, but it will be taken into account by tribunals.

What is a PTN?

It is simply a discussion about terminating employment on agreed terms. There are no particular formalities required under the legislation, but it would be prudent to establish with the employee at the beginning that you are starting a discussion or sending them a letter on the basis that it falls with the scope of a PTN.

What is the benefit?

It is an opportunity to try to agree terms with an employee before taking any formal steps, such as a performance management review or a disciplinary procedure. In contrast to the existing “without prejudice” rule, a PTN does not require there to be a pre-existing dispute.

What are the risks?

• loss of confidentiality;
• constructive dismissal claims – nothing in the legislation prevents an employee claiming constructive dismissal if you suggest that they should leave. In some cases, employees could use this to “manufacture” a wrongful dismissal that allows them to escape contractual restrictions.

How far does the confidentiality go?

• the confidentiality only applies in claims of ordinary unfair dismissal. Evidence of what happened in a PTN could still be admissible in other claims, such as discrimination or automatic unfair dismissal;
• all confidentiality is lost if one party is found to have behaved improperly in the course of a PTN;
• the confidentiality relates to employment tribunal proceedings – nothing in the legislation prevents an employee telling a third party about a PTN; and
• it can be removed in relation to costs applications in the tribunal – but a party needs to reserve its position on this at the time of the PTN.

Improper behaviour

This is defined in the Code. It is ultimately for a tribunal to decide what amounts to improper behaviour, but the Code provides examples. These include the obvious (physical assault, harassment, victimisation and discrimination, bullying and intimidation) and the concept of “undue pressure”.

Undue pressure

According to the Code, undue pressure includes:
• failing to allow a reasonable time for consideration of a settlement agreement (the Code suggests 10 calendar days is the minimum period);
• saying that if a settlement is not reached the employee will be dismissed (although the Code says it will not be improper to set out in neutral terms the “likely alternatives” to settlement); and
• an employee threatening to damage an employer’s public reputation if a settlement is not reached.

Concepts such as intimidation and undue pressure are ill-defined – expect disputes about them in the near future. For example:

• would a statement by the employer that the employee will get a less favourable reference unless terms are agreed amount to improper behaviour?
• could an employee claim to have been unduly pressured if you ask them to respond to a settlement agreement within fewer than 10 days?


The Code suggests that the right to be accompanied should apply during a PTN, although this is not a legal requirement and so the employee cannot insist on it. Many employers will want to ignore the suggestion, the risk being that they will be found to have behaved improperly.

Without prejudice confidentiality

PTNs may also fall within the scope of the existing without prejudice rule. In most cases, employers will want to use both labels if they can.


On 29 July, compromise agreements were officially renamed “settlement agreements”.

To contact Blair Adams, click on this link:

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