How to change your job with 5 easy questions

Many of my clients want to explore career coaching as they are looking for a way in which they can:

understand what they would really like to do
Find a way to do it
Have the confidence to do it
Take action and make it a reality
And these are the sort of issues that regularly get in the way :

I’d like to move jobs but I don’t know how

I don’t know what I’d really like to do with my life

I’d like to work for myself but how will I pay the bills

If I leave my career I’ll have to start all over again

What if I’m no good at something new

I feel stuck – I want freedom, but I also want security

I’m too old to change now

So we can at least take some comfort in knowing we’re not alone!

In fact this was me 10 years ago. I was commuting to London every day from Brighton, getting the 7.11am train to work for a bank.

There didn’t seem to be any balance in my life, especially as I wasn’t getting much sleep having recently become a Dad.

I wanted to change jobs and get some balance in my life, but didn’t know where to start.

Fortunately, what I did have was roughly 3 hours each day on the train to think about it.

And eventually I started with a process of questions. (informed from some NLP reading I was doing at the time).

So what were these questions?

The 5 Career Coaching Questions

1. What do I most value now? What are the things that are important to me now?

2. What do I believe – about myself, about what I should be doing, and how much of it is actually true?

3. What skills do I have that I enjoy using and that are marketable/portable.

4. How would I like to work – where, how much, who with?

5. What could I do that would fit with these answers.

This process of enquiry helped steer my thinking towards exploring options in an informed and structured way rather than feeling stuck and desperately searching for job alternatives aimlessly.

This is because the WHAT question came last.

Most of the time we search for answers randomly and within known boundaries based upon our experience.

Something like this :

I don’t want to do this, but WHAT else can I do? WHAT have I done before? WHAT could I apply for now? WHAT else could I do?

But the 5 questions above actually help find out the WHY (is this important), the WHERE, WHEN, HOW, and WHO with first.

This then gives us a lot more information to start narrowing down the WHAT that meets these criteria.


By first determining the things that matter to us now, we’re on our way to understanding our values and the qualities that are important in our life in this moment. This is where our passion lies and what give us meaning and purpose.

These values change over time so what may have been important for us 5 or 10 years ago may no longer apply. For me Balance and Freedom were important values once I became a dad. Previously Experience and Excitement were important and so a job in London had worked just fine.


By exploring our beliefs, we can also test whether some of them were never really ours in the first place. They may be ones we took on from our parents, teachers and society as a whole :

You have to work hard and work up the ladder
NLP logical Levels
Status and job title are important
You’re judged by how much you earn
It doesn’t matter what you do now as long as you’re saving for the future…..
and so on.

Working with someone else like a coach/counsellor is useful for this stage of the process.

Now you may still believe these statements. And that is absolutely ok. But beliefs are not truths. In response to the belief that status and job title are important I might ask “Who says so?”  – It may be important to you but not to everyone. So is it a truth or simply a belief you are holding.

By exploring our beliefs in this way we can ensure that any we hold have been consciously chosen, and are enabling rather than limiting. This opens us up to explore a much wider range of possibilities. For example, maybe working part time is actually ok, working from home, developing a portfolio approach with a number of ways to earn income, going back to study….


Next, by listing all of the skills and experience we have under our belt that are portable and marketable, we usually surprise ourselves and instantly get a confidence boost.


By asking ourselves When (would I like to work, how often, full/part time, Winter only etc), Where (e.g. locally, abroad, in town, outside..) and Who with (on my own, in a team, with my partner…) you’re getting detailed and specific information that can help with the last question.

and then finally What….

…would satisfy most of what I have identified. What combination of skills will I be using and what do I need to do next to start taking action to make it a reality.

And then we’re off! Off exploring real alternatives, researching and building a plan with a timeline. Speaking to people, targeting opportunities and getting excited! We’re able to direct our energy towards tangible goals and know that we’re moving towards a way of being and doing that ultimately fits with who we are now.

By following this process and with some assistance from a counsellor I enrolled on a coaching and psychotherapy diploma, set up a counselling practice in Worthing as well as an e-commerce business with a partner, and have been lucky enough to work from home and enjoy being with my family rather than on the commuter train.

For more information on this process and NLP logical levels see my article that was printed in the quarterly publication for The Career Development Association of Australia.

For help in identifying what’s right for you and taking action to change your job, and a free phone consultation, contact me here.

Coaching is available here in Worthing, or by Skype or telephone. See some of my testimonials here.