Coaching at a Crossroads with Liz Gooster

Meyler Campbell & Peppermint Fish
27th June 2019

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Coaching at a Crossroads with Liz Gooster

In this episode, we speak with Meyler Campbell Faculty Member Liz Gooster. Liz is particularly interested in working with people who are at a crossroads in their career and those dealing with major life decisions. 


Coaching at a Crossroads with Liz Gooster


About Liz

Having gained a first from Cambridge & a PhD, Liz spent over 15 years in publishing, including working on the Financial Times list for Pearson and as Editor-at-Large for Kogan Page. She is now a Partner in The Alliance coaching partnership and a Meyler Campbell Faculty member.

Thriving on change herself, Liz’s aim is to help others change for the better. She brings a
refreshing positive energy to her work, along with an unusual combination of empathetic support and action focused drive.

Liz loves to help clients step up and grow through boosting their self-awareness, confidence, impact and presence. She is energised by working with people to find greater productivity and balance and by coaching people at a crossroads, which she finds can be transformational and extremely fulfilling work.

The mother of a 20 month-old daughter herself, she is also passionate about maternity coaching to support professional women.


Liz’s passion for coaching at a crossroads

02:00 For Liz, coaching at a crossroads feels like a real and important thing to do; it can have a profound impact on people’s lives. She finds the process of transition energising and that the catalyst of a career transition leads to a deeper investigation of personal change.

03:22 Liz learned about career coaching is covered at the end of the Mastered programme, but it wasn’t until she was a practicing coach that she noticed it was an area she felt drawn to. She reviewed the work she’d done during her studies and realised it matched with the type of work she found particularly aligned with.


Defining the niche area of career coaching

05:40 It was a breakthrough insight for Liz to find that being a career coach didn’t require specialist careers advice skills or tools. Good coaching skills and a genuine interest are the key requirements. Helping clients to reflect on their own strengths and values is vital, as is encouraging them to identify what energises them.

08:20 The core skills covered on the Mastered programme give you the tools you need to take on any type of more ‘niche’ coaching area.


Liz’s Own Career Path

09:20 Liz has taken an unconventional career path, including taking time out to travel. She finds this attracts clients who are also considering more unusual career choices and has helped her take a more fluid view on what constitutes a successful career.

11:25 The things that spark energy are pivotal in considering career choices. It’s not necessarily competence that should inform your choices, choosing the things that fire your enthusiasm is better for your career satisfaction.


Collaborating with corporate clients

13:43 More progressive organisations are willing to collaborate in career development, even where that risks an employee choosing to leave. This isn’t always the case, but increasingly, organisations that are concerned with wellbeing recognise that they need to take a more individualised view of career development.


Helpful tools for coaching at a crossroads

15:45 The models Liz tends to use includes Schein’s Career Anchors – she likes the fact it gets into the underlying values and motivation a client holds.

17:15 Nancy Klein’s Thinking Environment approach is helpful for the whole arena of coaching at a crossroads.

18:00 The Big Five are also highly relevant; for example, contracting is particularly important when talking with clients at the point of impactful personal change.

19:25 The Strengths Profiler gives a helpful view on what clients really enjoy, as well as what they are good at. It can help to open people’s awareness of why roles that appear to fit their capabilities are draining or unsatisfying.


Simple approaches are often the best

21:20 From her coaching experience, Liz found a simple tool like the Lifeline exercise (from Jenny Rogers’ text) can be a highly informative way to start a rich coaching session. She also uses the Simon Sinek model for Finding Your Why to help clients examine their personal brand or what makes them unique.

25:00 A balance wheel model can often be helpful for professionals to take a perspective on the relevance of different aspects of their lives, putting the career aspect into the context of more broad considerations. It can also help unlock creativity and help clients to find a new perspective on their career from skills they’ve developed in their personal lives.


Pushing the boundaries of career coaching

27:45 Liz took some recent advice from Bill Critchley to consider the divergence and convergence aspects of her coaching practice. This has helped her to think about the coaching process afresh, through those two lenses.

29:15 Continuing to push the boundaries of her coaching expertise, Liz is planning to train in a new approach to immersive coaching experiences.


Changing attitudes to career development

32:00 Most people entering the job market now will likely progress through five different careers. People are also moving more fluidly through career phases, from employment to self-employment and back, for example. Professionals are also more likely to take time out for travel or to attend to caring responsibilities. This provides people with more opportunities and choices to consider.

35:40 The prospect of needing to work for longer can also be more enjoyable if it provides opportunity to change and new challenges.


Coaching for women returning to work after maternity leave

36:20 This is another of Liz’s specialisms and a crossroads area she’s passionate about. She wants to change the perception that returning to work is a tough time to be ‘got through’ – it’s a time of transition that offers an opportunity to review and assess priorities and expectations, for each individual.

37:40 Unpacking assumptions is critical at these transitional times. Encouraging open dialogue between the individual returning to work and their organisation, before, during and after their maternity leave, can be highly revealing and productive.

42:30 Making a big career choice has an impact on someone’s sense of identity. This is particularly the case for new mums, who have to reassess their identity as a mother, in addition to the change that can spark in their careers.

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