How can a coach help you do a successful career change?

For more than 2 years I’ve seen how Career Coaches have helped Careershifters customers do successful career changes, and the work they do fascinates me.

I’ve seen first hand how Careershifters customers can transform their point of view around what is possible for their career.

Thanks to this new perspective people that felt totally blocked start to take actions they and move forward in their career, and first the first time in years, and sometimes for the first time in their life, they start to see how their values and skills start to get realigned with what they do for a living.

Having the possibility to hear the conversations with Careershifters customers has been fascinating, but now the time has come to step up my game and support in a more active manner, which is why I’m doing Careershifters Advanced Coaching Certification.

This article is an attempt to share what I’m learning, which includes explaining what coaching is, and what makes career coaching different from general coaching.

So, let’s start with the foundations of coaching.    The  tools of the trade in coaching are called distinctions, and coaches do their work around those distinctions. But what is a distinction?

The concept of distinction

Language enables us to distinguish the things that we name.  And it’s through that distinguishing things in our life that we can understand the world.

Distinctions can be found all around you.  Just to put an example in the realm of mathematics.  If you did not know algebra and you saw a paper with numbers and equations, those symbols would make no sense.  If we then studied algebra, we would start to distinguish the symbols and numbers and what was incomprehensible before would start to make sense. Of course, people that learn algebra don’t say “Wow, I can now distinguish algebra”. But the fact that this is not explicitly said, this is what is going on behind the scenes.

In the same way, when a coach woks with a client, the client starts to distinguish the real meaning of words, and starts to operate in different ways based on that knowledge.

Distinctions don’t only apply to the world of coaching or algebra. In biology, when we distinguish species, we can distinguish some animals from others. And going deeper, we can also distinguish species through the DNA sequences of those species.

Another example can be found in the aviation sector.  If we heard a conversation between an air controller and a pilot, we would not understand a thing.  But for those professionals that conversation makes total sense and it helps both make sure an airplane can land successfully at destination.

This means that if you don’t distinguish the distinction, you don’t have access to that element of reality.  And if we don’t have access to that part of reality, we will not be able to make sense of it.

Said in a simple manner, we cannot distinguish that which we don’t understand.

Coaches help you find new ways to observe reality, and suddenly new possibilities emerge that might have not existed beforehand.   As Anais Nin beautiful quote says, “You don’t see the world as it is.  You see the world as you are”


The distinctions to navigate a successful career change

Career change demands of going through an exploration to discover what really motivates you, after which you need to validate and consolidate the what we have discovered.

The steps to be followed in order to do a successful career change are:

    • Exploration: Many people don’t even think about this step when considering a career change, and this is a big mistake.  Opening perspective and looking for new possibilities for your career is extremely important. Many professionals have been working in jobs they hate, which convinces them that doing work you enjoy is not possible. Exploring what motivates you and makes you feel alive is a fundamental step towards work you love,
    • Validate:   After exploring possible new careers, you then start to focus and validate some of the considered alternatives.  You start to close career options and focus efforts on specific sectors and jobs that might work for you.


  • Consolidate:  Once you have validated the alternative career that works for you, the last step is to strengthen your ability to generate opportunities to make the change.


In each step of the process your coach will help you navigate uncertainty and will support you take actions inside the context of powerful career distinctions that operate inside each career change phase.

Through this process you will open your mind to new possibilities for your career change. You will start to communicate more powerfully your value and skills, and use more effectively your professional network.  

Why obtain a career certification?

The certification is really helping have a deeper understanding of what career coaches do. It also helps understand what coaches need and what do they need to support customers more powerfully.

Getting a coaching certification and walking the same path as career coaches follow helps me understand their work, rituals and how they apply distinctions.  

In this sense, getting a career certification enables me to distinguish this job from other jobs, and as in the example of the pilot and the air controller, I can be more clear on how coaching conversations work.

Another great benefit of doing a coaching certification is understanding how our products and services serve our customers, and opening the possibility of re-designing some of those services based on my new understanding of career coaching.

On top of this, the certification enables me to be in the court of coaching, seating in the  driving seat and actively coaching and supporting people navigate a successful career change.  In this way I can actively give back all the benefits I’ve personally obtained from coaching.