What if you’ve landed that great new job, but are experiencing big waves of change, feeling disoriented or wondering if you’ve made the right move? Here are my coaching questions and tips for the Letting Come phase of change, where you are starting out something new.
Several of my clients have recently started exciting new jobs. They are exactly where they wanted to be in life. One is a tech professional who has taken a lateral move that gives her more general business experience and positions her well for executive roles. Another client with experience in large capital projects has transitioned from a boutique firm to one of the big four consulting firms—a difficult feat in mid-career. Another is an investment professional, back from mat leave with her 2ndchild, and about to launch innovative new services. So why do they still want Executive Coaching? Because starting a new job— in fact anything new—is not as easy as you’d think!
First Days are Confusing
You’ve probably been there yourself. Think back to your first days in a new school, town or job. You didn’t know the people, your way around, or what was really expected of you. You had developed ways of behaving and orienting yourself which had worked well. But now? Maybe not so much.
I remember my first days living in London, England. My inner traveller was thrilled with the novelty. But I didn’t know when I would land a job, how to work the laundromat machines, or even which way to look to cross the road! Being both happy and confused at the same time is a weird feeling.
Like this stormy wave picture, [click_to_tweet tweet=”first days on a new job are full of energy and passion, but may lack direction, a clear line of sight, or a sense of how to get your bearings” quote=”first days on a new job are full of energy and passion, but may lack direction, a clear line of sight, or a sense of how to get your bearings”].
Letting Come Phase of Change
To get your bearings in that dream new job, it helps to have a good map. The process of how any personal change occurs follows a universal pattern. In my coaching work, I use the three phases of change model, based on Otto Scharmer’s work; Letting Go, Gap of Transition, Letting Come. A new job typically represents the early phase of the Letting Come phase; just to the right of the little blue dot, at the start of the upward right-hand slope of the U curve here.
What is going on in the Letting Come phase of your dream new job?
- You have already Let Go of some of your typical comfort zones, decided you were ready to stretch yourself, and taken some time to sense deeply into what is calling you forward.
- You have already moved through (much of) that awkward Gap of Transition, where you may know what you don’t want but you haven’t figured out yet exactly what you do want.
- Now you are starting the Letting Come something new phase. If there is a motto here, it is “Be prepared to be Surprised”. The characteristics of this early letting come phase include;
- at first, your actions will be wobbly, your performance perhaps not at the level you are used to
- what you actually find is going to be different than what you anticipated
- you will connect with colleagues and allies, but often in unexpected ways and places
- it will take some time to ‘read between the lines’ and sense more deeply into people and situations
Coaching Questions for Starting a New Job
When I work with clients in the Letting Come phase of a new job, here are some of the probing questions we may explore early in the coaching program:
- How is the context for this role different than before?
- What is the timeframe for expectations and deliverables? 1 year? 2 years? More?
- Has anything changed in the nature of the people you are working with, or how you relate with them?
- Are there any actions—ways of communicating or behaving—that used to be normal and functional but no longer serve as well? Where are you getting surprised?
- Are there any assumptions or blind spots that you suspect are tripping you up?
- Are there certain satisfactions you used to have in the old role that you no longer get?
9 Tips to Try in Your New Job
- Get connected with people you trust; both people in the new job who can give you honest useful feedback and friends & family who can remind you why you did this in the first place.
- Create a north star vision statement for yourself; one phrase or sentence that reminds you of your original intent—both why you left the old role and your deepest motivation in this new job.
- At first, keep your time horizons short, e.g. 90-day chunks.
- Learn by doing, proto-typing and trying out new moves in low-risk ways.
- If you’re not yet sure if this new job is a good fit for you, or what you want for the longer term, at least be clear about what you don’t want. What are your non-negotiables?
- Find ways to stay grounded and connected with your deepest self, whether through physical workouts, mindfulness, or family time.
- If you are an agent of change in your new job, extend your antenna for what is seeking to emerge in this new environment, and who else is intrigued by new possibilities.
- Pay attention to your communication style, watching how others respond to you. What worked for you in your old environment may not work now.
- Develop your equanimity skills, allowing yourself to feel both the sweet and sour of your new job. (equanimity is one of the core skills developed by mindfulness- see my book Mind Your Life.)