What’s it like receiving coaching to help you find a new career direction?
Nick Jehan came to The Career Coach in January 2019 unhappy about his legal career in private practice. Eighteen months later he has embarked on a new career in town planning for a local authority as a graduate planning officer.
This is his story. Ros was his coach.
Ros: What brought you to coaching?
Nick: When we met, I felt trapped in the job I was in because of the way I qualified as a lawyer. I was stressed, down and didn’t know what I could do to get out of it. I came to explore other options and open up my horizons.
Ros: Of all the things we did together during Find Your New Direction, what made the biggest difference to your self-awareness?
Nick: Understanding my strengths and transferable skills. Knowing this helped open up ideas and think of other things. I thought I could only do this one thing – law – and realised I could apply it to other things.
Ros: You researched a number of career options at the time. What helped you choose town planning?
Nick: At the stage I was talking to people (note: there is a “informational interview” stage in which clients who do the jobs they are thinking about talk to people about their job, the highs and lows, how someone with the client’s background can get into and future prospects) I was exploring working in sports in some way but I wasn’t feeling it. It was when I talked to a town planner, it just felt right. I felt excited about doing it.
Ros: What did you do after the programme? (note: the programme ends with an action plan to transition into the new area)
Nick: I left it a bit and when I had more time, I started to take action. I attended an event about an apprenticeship scheme in town planning and could see a clear entry point. I realised I wouldn’t get anywhere holding onto my job so I handed in my notice and applied for the job. I wrote to planning agencies to see if there were work experience opportunities. I realised I had applied my action plan from the programme without realising it.
Ros: Lawyers contemplating a career change often worry about losing money or starting at the bottom. What is your advice?
Nick: I realised money wasn’t everything. The legal training I had would help me in anything I’d go into. It stood me in good stead. What surprised me was how excited everyone in the council was to have me, a lawyer, joining. I still use all my legal skills and knowledge every day and these skills will only help me move upwards. I realised all of my experience was helpful. I could do it.
Ros: You’re about to start a Masters in Town Planning.
Nick: I haven’t started the Maters yet but will be soon. I will be working at the council four days a week and on day release for my Masters one day a week. At the end of it I am a fully accredited town planner. It works in the same way as a training contract with seats in the different teams. It’s exciting to be studying again!
Ros: What will be next for your career?
Nick: I’m taking it one step at a time. Once fully accredited I can get a seat as one of the Planners. Then I can move up, go sideways, or work for another council, if I want to of course! I could move to private practice. It opens a lot of doors.
Ros: What advice would you give to people thinking about career coaching but not sure?
Nick: Go for it! I was in a hole and saw no way out. The coaching helped me find information and see what else was around/ Without your structure and guidance I would still be in that hole. It’s worth every penny.
Ros: Anything else you want to say?
Nick: I want to thank you for your help. I wouldn’t be where I am without it. I keep telling people how relaxed I am. I am excited to go back to work which I never had before. Also my wife says I am a new man!