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Changing jobs: advice from a professional career coach

Career Coach Linda Bridge

Changing your job can be an exciting, if scary time. There are many decisions to be made and sometimes it’s a good idea to get some help or support in making them. Former retail HR professional and business owner Linda  Bridge has made a career out of coaching people. Now the founder/owner of her own personal coaching practice, she shares with us her story and some tips she often gives her clients when it comes to changing jobs.

Can you briefly explain your job and how you got to where you are now?

Originally from Northern Ireland, I decided to make the journey across the Irish Sea some years ago to pursue a career in Resourcing/HR, a career which has now spanned over 15 years in the industry. I’ve worked at a senior level across many different retail environments, supporting thousands of individuals to transition into new roles. Heading up resourcing functions for brands such as Amazon, House of Fraser and The Arcadia Group has been exciting, challenging and fun, but I came to realise that I needed something more.

So, earlier this year, I pursued my own dream of becoming a professional career and life coach, establishing my own coaching practice, Accelerista Coaching Ltd. Through combining professional training and a lifetime of coaching experience, my mission is now to support individuals in finding ultimate career satisfaction, alongside overall life balance and happiness. For me it's about supporting people to experience life as they want to experience it. The best job in the world in my view, although clearly I’m a little biased!

When would someone engage a career coach? Describe a typical working day for you.

There are many different situations when you may need to use a career coach - you may be thinking about a career change, or to return to work after a period of absence. Maybe you're experiencing a very frustrating job search or perhaps you want to land that next big promotion. Everyone is on a unique journey with their own goals and dreams. My typical working day consists of working with my clients collaboratively on a one to one basis, and through focused discussion and practical exercises, I enable my clients to gain clarity on what they want to achieve, identify any obstructions which may be hindering them from moving forward and support them to positively accelerate towards meeting their goals. It's all about getting results fast. I do most of my coaching over the phone or via Skype.

Unlike many other career coaches, I don’t just focus purely on your career. I firmly believe that it's not just about changing a job, it's about changing a lifestyle. If you're not happy at work, that's likely to show up somewhere else too. Balanced career decisions are made in line with balanced life decisions. I therefore take a holistic approach, working with my clients on all areas of their life such as health, wealth, relationships or family.

What are the most exciting and most challenging parts of your job?

The most exciting part of my job is the power of coaching. It is often a profound experience that can literally change your life. My clients see results immediately and the ongoing positive feedback I receive provides me with a huge sense of job satisfaction every single day. There is nothing more fulfilling for me than feeling that I am supporting others to achieve happiness in their lives. If I can feel I have played a part in that, it is hugely motivating.

One of the biggest challenges for me is when I feel a lack of commitment from a client. To drive positive career and life changes, you need to be 100% committed to making that happen, and sometimes individuals don’t see their goals as a priority or make adequate time, and in turn, see slower progress. Before I initiate a coaching journey, I always discuss the importance of commitment to the journey as this really is critical to success.

As someone who has made a successful career change, what’s the most important piece of advice you would give to others?

Whatever the reason for this desire for a change, the reality can often be a profound and hard-hitting one. It’s likely that you have spent a lot of time, money and effort investing in your career to date and it can be a hugely daunting task to effectively ‘start again’ in a brand new field.

My biggest piece of advice is to take action and experiment! Don’t turn your life upside down at once. Start small with some simple ideas and build from there. Branching projects can be a great way to start to experiment and test a new skill or interest.

Whether it is embarking on a part time course, doing some volunteer work or starting with some online research, the most important thing is to take action.

Take small steps, defuse the fear that you may have of a new area and be prepared for those amazing lightbulb moments which can strike at any time, offering you a clear perspective on the potential for your true path.

For more information on Linda, visit her website: