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How to Help Clients Navigate a Mid-Life Career Changes as a Life Coach

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While it has been noted that young people often switch jobs and even careers (Alton, 2018), what isn’t often discussed is that a number of people also do so later in life. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 29% of pre-retirees aged 40-59 plan to change their careers (Hellmich, 2014). In their study on mid-life voluntary career change, Phanse and Kaur (2015) found that thoughts about a mid-life career change may begin as early as at 31 years of age.

This shift may occur for various reasons. Strenger and Ruttenberg (2008) attribute it to what psychologist Abraham Maslow called a move from motivations based on deficiency to motivations based on growth. These motivations are fed by a need for the fulfillment of potential. In addition, many people shift from investing inward to investing outward in order to create a legacy (Hagerty, 2016).

No matter the reason, a mid-life career change presents a complex step that may be difficult to navigate. Life coaches are equipped with precisely the training to assist in this area. If you are interested in finding out how you can help your clients with this major life shift, keep reading.

Talk Your Clients Through What They May See as Obstacles to a Career Change

Many people wanting to make a mid-life career change may have several fears. At times your clients even feel stuck in an “analysis paralysis” (Alderson,n.d.). Analysis paralysis, which occurs when a client is trapped in a cycle of over thinking, and can prevent them from taking action steps.

The most common fears clients experience include the possibility of taking a salary cut, doubt in their ability to learn a new technology, and potential age discrimination in the job market (Bryant, n.d.). With effective life coaching, these obstacles may not be as impeding as they may initially seem. For example, where the learning of new skills and technologies is concerned, studies have shown that this may actually preserve new brain cells, hence contributing to healthy aging (Hagerty, 2016). Such a change of outlook can easily help your client reframe this obstacle into a motivating factor.

After attending a quality life coaching school such as Rhodes Wellness College—which supplements its life coaching diploma program with counselling classes—you will be equipped with the skills needed to talk your clients through any worries and fears they may have. As a result, you can help them address these concerns and move forward.

Graduates of Life Coaching School Can Help Their Clients Identify Opportunities

According to a study conducted by AIER (2015), “transferable skills are among the most important factors in successfully changing careers.” Fortunately, professionals with life coach training are equipped with the ability to help their clients identify their skills, strengths, and passions, and how they are able to transfer these to a whole new career.

97% of mid-life career changes occur when individuals have 18-25 years or work experience (Phanse and Kaur, 2015), so it is likely that your clients will have a good arsenal of transferable skills upon which to draw from. Helping your clients identify these as well as identifying natural strengths is a rewarding part of your job as a life coach.

Helping your clients identify their skills and passions will help them begin their career change

Helping your clients identify their skills and passions will help them begin their career change

Helping Your Clients Develop and Follow a Career Change Action Plan

When your clients are ready to begin their career change, you can help them develop an action plan. Action plans are important because they have been shown to increase rates of success.

When studying mid-life voluntary career changers, Phanse and Kaur (2015) found data to support that “having a firm action plan for mid-life career change has better chances of success as compared to no planning at all.” The data from their study shows that mid-life career changers with no action plan experience a failure rate of 33%, whereas the rate decreases to 7.4% among those who adhere to a basic action plan and 0% among those who follow a detailed action plan.

Indeed, delving into a career shift in mid-life is a big change that may involve learning new skills, taking into account how the change may affect one’s family and personal life, possible schedule changes, financial adjustments, and other factors. With a detailed action plan, your clients will be ready to begin their career change with the knowledge that they are likely to succeed!

How about you? Are you ready jump into your career and become a life coach?

Contact Rhodes Wellness College to learn about our programs!


Alderson, R. (n.d.). How To Change Career When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing. Retrieved March 13, 2018, from https://www.careershifters.org/expert-advice/how-to-change-career-when-you-have-no-idea-what-youre-doing.

Alton, L. (2018). Millennials Aren’t Job Hopping, Young People Are: 5 Things To Keep In Mind. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/larryalton/2018/01/22/millennials-arent-job-hopping-young-people-are-5-things-to-keep-in-mind/#239a937010d8.

AIER (2015). New Careers for Older Workers. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from https://www.aier.org/sites/default/files/Files/Documents/Webform/AIER_OWS.pdf.

Bryant, S. (n.d.). Career Change and the Seasoned Worker. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/career-change-and-the-seasoned-worker.

Hagerty, B. B. (2016). Quit Your Job. Retrieved March 13, 2018, from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/04/quit-your-job/471501/.

Hellmich, N. (2014). Many in 40s, 50s are planning career moves. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/06/29/retirement-life-reimagined-usa-today-survey/11135523/.

Phanse, R. and Kaur, R. (2015). “An Exploratory Study on “Self-Renewal” in Mid-Life Voluntary Career Changes for Managers.” Journal of Management Research and Analysis, Volume 2 (3), pp. 204-2013. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from https://www.innovativepublication.com/admin/uploaded_files/JMRA_2(3)_204-213.pdf

Strenger, C. and Ruttenberg, R. (2008). The Existential Necessity of Midlife Change. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from https://hbr.org/2008/02/the-existential-necessity-of-midlife-change. Williams, L. (n.d.). Midlife Career Change. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from https://jobs.lovetoknow.com/Midlife_Career_Change.

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