In a recent session, a new client revealed a surprising fact: She had already hired, paid and worked with a career coach – just one year earlier.

“It didn’t work,” she said, “I just ended up in the same place I always do: Taking a job I don’t like, in a field that I have come to hate, because it felt safe.”

I immediately identified with my clients’ experience. I flashed back to the countless times I have spent good money on coaching, training courses or a new app to help me through a change, but somehow found a way to make little to no progress.

After reflecting on my own patterns, I got curious about why she was hiring me now. “Okay, well what’s different now?”

“To be honest, a year ago I wasn’t ready. I had the desire, but I didn’t have a lot of other things I needed to really make the shift.”

And then she looked me dead in the eye and told me in no uncertain terms: “Now, I am ready.”

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In my coaching practice, my mission is to help professionals and leaders, who care bout making a difference, to design careers where they can thrive.

But the truth is in order for me to support clients in their goals – they have to be ready for change.

Being ready refers to the state of emotional, mental, and even physical willingness to embrace a change. It’s about your mindset, your motivation, and your internal sense that you’re willing to step into the unknown. Readiness is closely tied to your feelings and attitude toward the change ahead.

Being ready is related to but not the same as being prepared. Preparation involves planning, research, acquiring necessary skills, and creating a strategy to navigate potential challenges. Preparation and practice are actually the nuts and bolts of my Design a Career You Love Program.

While readiness and preparedness are distinct concepts, they are intricately connected. Being ready without being prepared can lead to impulsive decisions and unnecessary setbacks. Likewise, being prepared without being truly ready might result in anxiety, resistance, or lack of enthusiasm during the change process. The most successful and fulfilling experiences of change often occur when readiness and preparedness work hand in hand.

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But just as important as my own skill as a guide – is their own readiness for making a change.

Over time, I have identified seven valuable indicators of readiness that predict success for my clients: persistence, courage, self-reflection, self-awareness, diverse support system, prioritization and openness.

Want to know if you are ready for change yourself? Here are some questions to reflect on:

  1. Persistence: Do you believe that the outcome is worth the challenge? Are you willing to go several rounds with your goal?
  2. Courage: Do you feel that pursuing your goal is scary and that you don’t have all the answers? Are you willing to do it anyway?
  3. Self-Reflection: Are you willing to reflect on your emotions, reactions and past behaviors in order to find opportunities for growth and personal development?
  4. Self-Awareness: Are you capable of observing your feelings as they change over time? Can you recognize how your attitudes and behavior impact your own life and the lives of people you interact with?
  5. Support: Are you willing to build a diverse support system for the journey ahead? Ideally including 1) People who will love you no matter what 2) People who are going through a similar process and 3) People who can mentor, guide you and challenge you to reach your full potential.
  6. Prioritization: Is your goal one of your top three priorities in life right now?
  7. OpennessAre you curious about the experiences and perspectives of others? Are you flexible and willing to adjust your approach as you gather more insights and experiences?

If you are finding yourself nodding your head – you are probably ready for the change ahead. Reach out if you want to explore 1:1 support!

If you have crossed your arms in front of your chest and are shaking your head from side-to-side – you may want to pause before investing any precious financial resources into coaching, courses or apps. But fear not, the process of becoming ready is a part of the change journey as well.  Consider the questions above – journal on them or talk about them with friends or loved ones. With a bit more reflection – readiness might be right around the corner.

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About the Author: Kate Cockrill

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A little about me... I am a social scientist, facilitator, and professional coach. Through my business: Kate Cockrill Coaching, I support mission driven managers and directors with 1:1 career coaching, leadership coaching, team workshops, and retreat design. My clients include leaders in healthcare, education, research and social innovation.

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