How a career coach helps take the next step

Marieke, a woman in her 40s. Working within the same company for 15 years. An evolving company. After 15 years, this means a new setting has emerged that places new demands on Marieke’s job. What if that no longer fits? In such a situation, Marieke might turn to Martin Kuivenhoven, one of Panthion’s career coaches. We ask him what he can do for an employee like Marieke.

What is the first thing you do in an outplacement process?
“Setting the starting point. In the intake interview and the few initial coaching sessions, I discuss the situation with the employee. How did someone get into the outplacement process? Does he or she oversee what it means to find a new job outside? How does he or she feel about the situation? How we approach the process depends very much on the person. Some people are happy and want practical help. The other, for example, feels discarded. And sometimes I find that there is a combination of work and private life. Then not only is someone’s job at risk, but that person also turns out to be a caregiver for a sick family member, for example. Of course, that’s quite a lot and can also affect the approach and outcome of an outplacement program.”

As a career coach, how do you deal with the feeling of being discarded, for example?
“Together with my clients, I answer a series of questions with attention to the situation: how did it happen? What do you need to make a turnaround? What is presenting itself now? And what can you influence? I see it as my job to get clients moving. Sometimes that happens naturally. But even with a more unpleasant starting point, we can give it the best turn according to circumstances. I challenge them to work on an optimal perspective.”

What do you mean by optimal perspective?
“A new perspective goes beyond positions. If someone says she wants to work as a secretary, I won’t settle for that. There are so many facets to such a job. It is important that the employee understands what he or she wants. What competencies in the position appeal to you? Do you like to work for a large company or a small one? Do you like to work together or would you rather work independently? What industry suits your motivations? How do you do your best work? If the employee dares to paint his or her ideal picture, then we can also get the most out of it. I also notice that this motivates them. It’s an opportunity to discover what you want to do in the long term.”

When are you satisfied in an outplacement process?
“If they have that new perspective mapped out, so a job searcher can work with that. But also that they are enthusiastic about their contribution in work and explore opportunities. After all, that enthusiasm makes them an attractive interlocutor right away. Attitude, behavior and communication are always explicitly or implicitly addressed in the coaching conversations. I find it important that my clients see that they can make something of it themselves, that their self-management improves. Focus on the possibilities, then a suitable job will come within your reach. Regardless of the situation, the client always has a choice in attitude and behavior. If I can achieve that together with a client, then I look back on a trajectory with satisfaction. Then I also know that he or she does not have to start from scratch if he or she were to go through another outplacement in the future.”

Oh yes, to avoid misunderstanding: of course, the Marieke from this article does not really exist. It is a fictional example. We handle our clients’ personal data confidentially.

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