CAREER CHANGE FROM HR TO COACH
From HR to COACH
This is the story of Prakash Nairr who went from Head of Learning and Development of a retail chain to starting his own practice as a leadership coach and trainer. He shares with us how he prepared for this mid career change, what he struggled with the most and offers great pieces of advice for anyone who'd like to pursue a career in coaching.
What inspired you to change your career?
I did some coaching for my colleagues as part of my earlier roles. I really enjoyed the experience and very soon realised that I had a positive impact on their lives. At work, I grabbed every opportunity to train or coach and sometimes, even lost track of time doing it! I disliked my time spent in meetings, talking about strategy and business plans!
If you don't how where to start your career change journey, ask yourself - "What are my values, strengths and skills?" Self assessments are a great way to find inspiration.
How did you know that this was the career choice for you?
I had 90% of the skills required to build a successful coaching practice as I was doing it earlier too. I received a lot of positive feedback about my coaching skills. My mentors too recommended that I take up coaching.
Making a career decision is a process; understanding one's skills, having a series of conversations with people, getting mentored and so much more.
Changing careers can be long and daunting. How did you prepare yourself for this change?
Financially - I ensured that I had a nest built up, a sum of money that would help me and my family for at least one year. Also, I was fortunate to get support from my wife who helped me immensely through this phase.
Emotionally - I spoke to a few coaches who had gone through a career transition and gained a thorough understanding of the challenges they faced. Whenever I felt stressed, I started mindfulness and daily routines. I also built a network of support with people going through the same journey.
Physically - I started exercising regularly. The best part about my day is spending at least 30 minutes daily unwinding, reflecting on all that is happening around me.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. For a smooth career transition, spend some time planning your career change.
What did you struggle with the most while switching?
I think the biggest struggle after setting up my coaching business was finding clients consistently, doing sales and marketing and asking for a fair price.
This is the biggest challenge for a coaching business. To overcome it, you have to become an entrepreneur and a coach. As a coach, know how to work with your clients and as an entrepreneur learn how to reach clients and attract them to you.
Could you name some transferable skills that helped in your career transition?
Goal setting, planning and prioritization, communication, project management, stakeholder management, and client centricity.
A great way to know your transferable skills is to check if your experience (this could be academic, personal or professional) aligns with the skills needed for the job.
Could you break down your career transition journey into a few steps that others could maybe follow?
I started with identifying my niche and understanding my ideal clients. I ensured I developed expertise in my domain and clearly defined my product and services. Next I worked on my brand and networked with people to generate leads. Last but by no means the least, I fine tuned my marketing skills and client relationship management.
When you're feeling uncertain about what your next career move should be, make sure you talk to someone about it. A career transition can be an overwhelming experience and it's helpful to have someone guide and mentor you.
What help did you get while transitioning to your current job?
I connected with my ex colleagues and bosses and that helped me start off well. I slowly grew my network and over a period of time, I got a lot of new opportunities. Every single training or coaching program I conducted enabled me to build a great network which got me many new opportunities!
If you're feeling stuck, get in touch with people you think can help you. You don’t have to do all of this alone. Get unstuck, clear your head and keep moving forward.
What’s the best piece of advice you received when you decided to switch careers?
Focus on the process and not the outcome! Build a great process and results will follow. If you run after results, you will probably end up in a bad place soon.
Tony Gaskins said - “Trust the process, one day at a time! What’s for you is for you and no one can stop that!” Do you agree?
Thank You Prakash!
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your career journey so far! We hope that this career transition story helps people who are feeling stuck and looking for inspiration to make a change.
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