Center for Coaching Certification

Transition Coaching

Meg Hanrahanby Meg Hanrahan

Everything that lives and moves and breathes goes through stages of change. When there’s growth and development through change, we call it transition. Transition is a deeper form of change with the power to transform us.

Change of one sort or another is often what motivates a person to seek the support of a coach, so understanding the common stages of transition is important as we support clients through these meaningful times.

It helps to view transition as a pilgrimage or journey. Coaches, acting as guides, know that a map of transition is a handy tool for pointing the way forward. The map of transition shows three stages: letting go, waiting, and transforming to something new.

As the journey begins, a person often moves through a time of release. It’s a time for letting go. There’s benefit in going with the flow to allow the tide of what is old or past to move out. By encouraging attitudes of willingness and compassion, especially compassion for self, coaches provide critical support during this early phase of growth.

Journeys have starts and stops and twists and turns. Opportunities for re-routing are common, sometimes resulting in confusion. Eventually comes a time when it’s appropriate to pause, to wait. The second stage is a time to re-fuel. Encourage clients to trust in the process, and help them discover tools that address the uncertainty that is common at this time.

Through pilgrimage, clients learn to trust their own inner resources. They learn to lead with the heart. The third stage begins as they find direction for moving forward, and is complete when they emerge into something new.

Read the Transition Coaching chapter in Coaching Perspectives V for more.

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