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The Impact of COVID-19 on Jobs in Manchester: My Home City. A Career Coach’s Perspective

What should I do next with my career? This is a question I hear all the time as a career coach. Especially due to the volatility of the employment market since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. As an online career coach, I work with people across the UK and further afield. However the outlook for jobs in Manchester is crucial for my clients in Greater Manchester and the North West.

Manchester holds a special place in my heart, both as my home for the last 12 years and due to some pivotal moments in my own career. I first came to live in Manchester as a 19 year old when I began my first degree and subsequently completed my studies in Management Science at the University of Manchester. I also have fond memories of one of my university-era jobs in Manchester, when I exercised my number one hobby by managing the music department at WH Smith in the Arndale Centre. Happy times!

However, what interests me most right now is how the employment market in Manchester will respond to and survive through COVID-19. Manchester has been a high growth city and a great place to develop your career for many years. So where we are now in terms of careers and jobs in the North West’s number 1 city? What does the future could look like as Manchester, and Greater Manchester more widely copes with the dramatic and unpredictable economic circumstances we are dealing with. How will the clients who come to me for career coaching in Manchester find things in the coming months and years?

What is the Likely Impact of Coronavirus on Careers and Jobs in Manchester?

According to the respected think-tank Social Market Foundation (SMF) in a July 2020 report, Manchester is one of 11 local authority areas that will experience both the most significant economic hits from coronavirus and the slowest recoveries, over the period 2020-2023. The report includes a prediction of the impact on broad industry areas of coronavirus on UK jobs. This suggests the worst hit sectors will finance and insurance, and construction. Both of these are significant employment sectors affecting many careers in Manchester. 69% of jobs in Manchester are in moderate or severely impacted areas, according to SMF.

This is a prediction for what might happen next, but what was the employment sector in Manchester like before COVID-19 hit?

Jobs in Manchester: City Centre Office Jobs and Apartments

Manchester has one of the most dynamic employment markets in the UK. It has continued to grow and diversify in the first two decades of this millennium. The city centre is almost unrecognisable now from when I first moved to Manchester just over 20 years ago. The growth in the office market has been phenomenal. Across all sectors of the market, from plush, modern grade A accommodation to smaller, quirkier conversions aimed at start-ups and entrepreneurs. Perhaps the most significant development was the creation of Spinningfields off Deansgate, next to the old Granada studios. Once described as the ‘Canary Wharf of the north’ it accommodates a number of large international banks, plus media, property and other large companies. This is in addition to new law courts, upmarket shops and restaurants and river view apartments.Manchester city centre was a place few people wanted to live in at the start of the 1990s. Now, modern apartment blocks and conversions of buildings from the city’s industrial heritage are evident across all central areas. Over 65,000 people now live in Manchester city centre. In Deansgate and Piccadilly, the two most central wards, the population has increased by 185% from just 10,315 in 2004. 550,000 people now live across Manchester as a whole, compared to 432k in 1991. This demonstrates the growth on popularity of Manchester as a place to work and live.

Image of Manchester city centre apartments and offices

Other Growth Employment Sectors

Added to the massive growth in office and residential accommodation, there has been significant growth and refinement of shops and restaurants. The streets are lined with high end retailers, plus the presence of all major restaurant chains and quirky independents. Hotels and other tourism businesses have boomed, centred around conferences and events. Added to this are heritage attractions celebrating the city’s rich history. The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, plus nearby University of Salford have all grown their student populations. in 2018, Manchester was the 3rd ranked student city in the UK.

In addition, the creation of Media City in neighbouring Salford and Trafford have made Greater Manchester the largest media hub in the UK outside London. This major new employment area provides major national bases for the BBC and ITV, plus numerous smaller businesses.

The urban development of the centre illustrates how volume and breadth of jobs in Manchester and Greater Manchester have boomed.

What do the Statistics Say About Jobs in Manchester?

What you can see for yourself in Manchester city centre is borne out in official figures from the Office for National Statistics.

In 2019, people in Manchester employed in the top three SOC occupation groups comprised 49.5% of all people in the city in employment. This compares to 43.9% in the North West and 47.5% across Great Britain. These categories cover highly paid careers including managers, directors, senior officials, professional occupations, associate and technical professions. Most notable is the density of people working in ‘professional occupations’ at 28.5%. This is significantly higher than 21.4% across Britain as a whole. These careers include well paid roles in science, IT, health, teaching and education, legal, finance, property and media. This trend has been driven by the relocation to and expansion of businesses in these sectors in Manchester.

Manchester, according to ONS, has more jobs than national average in accommodation and food, IT, finance and insurance, real estate, professional activities, admin and support services, education and logistics. There is also a higher than average number of small and medium sized businesses located in Manchester.

Image of man working at a laptop in an office

Salaries and Education in Manchester

Salaries in Manchester compare favourably to the UK. Average full time weekly gross pay in Manchester is £600, compared to £586 across Britain.

In terms of education, the population of Manchester is more highly qualified than average with 43.7% educated to HND or degree level. This compares to 40.3% across Great Britain.

These figures paint a rosy picture for living and working in Manchester. However, it’s also notable that the city has above national average representation in the lowest paid occupation categories too. This demonstrates the polarity of the Manchester’s jobs market. Economic inactivity is significantly lower and unemployment higher than the figures for Britain and the North West. Also, Manchester is the 5th most deprived local authority area in England. This is based on the highest percentages of of top 10% most deprived neighbourhoods within a local authority’s boundaries. While Manchester city centre and other neighbourhoods, especially in South Manchester are very prosperous, there are significant inequalities elsewhere.

What does this mean for Careers and Jobs in Manchester moving forwards?

Career management in Manchester will be challenging. This is based on the city’s pre-COVID employment market and SMF’s predictions.

The two most severely affected industries, according to SMF, banking finance and insurance and construction are both significant contributors to jobs in Manchester. This can be seen by the high representation of banks and property businesses in the city centre. Plus the vast amount of construction constantly reshaping Manchester’s skyline.

Manchester also has a higher than national average proportion of jobs in three of the four broad industry areas SMF predict to be moderately impacted by Coronavirus. These are defined as distribution, hotels and restaurants; transport and communication; and other services, which includes retail.

Clearly, this is likely to mean significant job losses are likely in these areas. Many businesses are already downscaling, while others will be forced too close. For example, Manchester has a thriving live music and visual arts sector. Many workers who were freelance or on fixed term contracts have seen their jobs go. There has also been a raft of casual dining restaurants closing across the city, such as Frankie and Benny’s and Bella Italia.

Sadly we will see more companies across a range of sectors go out of business. Especially affected will be retailers and hospitality businesses, many of which were already struggling before coronavirus happened. The process of society and lifestyles changing has speeded up changes in consumer behaviour. For every company that goes out of the business, their supply chain and services like banking, accountancy and insurance will be affected.

Changing Habits

People will be more cautious about how they spend money for quite some time and many will find themselves relying on reduced incomes. This will be compounded by the conclusion of the Brexit transition period at the end of 2020. Policy and interventions from the UK Government will be crucial to safeguard and bolster the economy, including job markets.

A number of interventions were announced on 8th July in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s summer mini-budget, including the Job Retention Bonus, Kickstart Jobs Scheme and Green Homes Grant. Reaction to these schemes has been mixed and it will be some time before we see how effective they are. However, they could contribute to stability for some existing jobs and the creation of new ones.

Image of man working from home

Changes to Jobs and Working Practices

For office workers, it may be some time before people return to their normal workplace. Many organisations will choose to keep their staff working at home, due to the challenges of effective social distancing in offices. It is likely to be at least October before people return in volume to working in offices. This situation will very much be up in the air and be dependent on how well Manchester and the UK keep infection rates relatively low.

Also, throw into the mix that organisations that never previously permitted homeworking have have now seen for themselves how well it can work. This means demands for greater flexibility of working will be increasingly demand driven, both by employers and employees. This will impact on the nature of how future job roles are designed.

Recruitment has picked up in the weeks following the easing of lockdown. However, many businesses will remain cautious and wait to learn more about how the economy adapts. The summer is also traditionally a quieter time for hiring. This means it may not be until the autumn before recruitment activity picks up significantly.

What can you do to navigate this career challenge?

Job markets in many sectors not only in Manchester and across the UK are already difficult. Unfortunately, in the short term at least, things will continue to get tougher. If you are affected, this will require being smarter and more flexible in terms of what you do in finding your next job.

With greater competition for jobs, getting the basics right is crucial. This includes your formulating a strong strategy for your job search. Fundamentals include nailing your LinkedIn profile and using it to pro-actively find opportunities. Also, analysing your network and utilising your existing contacts. In addition, being plugged in to where jobs in your industry are advertised and making sure your touch points with recruiters, including CVs, applications and interview skills are up to scratch.

Looking for jobs in a different industry is also something to consider. Especially for people working in a severely affected sector.

If you have felt stuck in a job you hate, this is a great opportunity to transfer your skills to do something new. For example, over the past two months I have been working with a client who was made redundant from a career in retail which had led him to the brink of burnout. He spent time working with me to uncover careers that would be a better fit for him. The outcome is that he has re-positioned himself to work in the third sector, with a focus on health.

Get Help from a Career Coach

If all this sounds daunting, working with a career coach can help you work out what to do next. It will give your search greater momentum, build your confidence and skills and enable you to formulate a coherent strategy. From personal experience, working with a career coach a few years ago led me to the work that I do now!

Bottom line – we are all facing a lot of uncertainty due to the impacts of coronavirus, not to mention Brexit. The important thing though is not to panic. Stay in control by being pro-active in the way you manage your career. Be the person who flourishes in times of challenge.

If you find that you want further advice to develop or re-shape your career, then consider working with a life coach with expertise in career coaching.

Chris Cooper is a life coach and career coach in Manchester, England. He works with clients from across the UK and internationally online using video call or by telephone.

Image of executive coach and career coach Chris Cooper working in a Manchester city centre cafe
Chris Cooper taking some time out to work in a Manchester city centre cafe

Do you want to make changes to your career? Speak to Chris more about how career coaching can help you.

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8 Top LinkedIn Profile Tips I Give My Career Coaching Clients

When plotting your next career move, making sure your LinkedIn profile is in good shape is vital. It’s an area I commonly cover with my career coaching clients, including those plotting a career change.

LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal in looking for your next job role. Despite this, a substantial number of people still don’t have LinkedIn profiles, or if they do their profile is not optimised to show themselves off well to potential future employers.

Like it or not, LinkedIn is now central to recruitment. This could be for employers or recruitment agencies to find potential talent, or it could be for doing further research on candidates who have submitted CVs or application forms. Put simply, there is no getting away from it! If you want to pro-actively manage your career well, you need to invest some time in getting your profile right!

Make LinkedIn can work for you

So many people don’t make the best use of LinkedIn. Therefore putting in some effort can really help you to stand out in a crowded job market. Consider also that most positions nowadays are not even advertised. They are now often filled through searches by employers and agencies finding candidates on LinkedIn or by people speculatively approaching organisations they would like to work for. This added complication means you need a robust and creative strategy for finding your next role.

Part of my work as a career coach is to help clients get things right with their LinkedIn profile. It forms a vital part of a strategy for using LinkedIn that will help them find – and land – a role that is right for them. In this article, I’m going to share with you eight essentials for creating impact with your LinkedIn profile.

1. Photo

Your photo is the first thing most people will zoom in on when they view your profile. Therefore, it’s vital you make the right first impression. A good profile photo is one where your face can be seen clearly and you project qualities recruiters will be looking for. This may include looking confident approachable and likeable, and appearing professional and well-groomed. What this means will vary between industries. For some, it will mean dressing formally, for others a more dressed-down approach will work best.

Consider what people in the roles you are looking for are likely to wear, and ratchet up the smartness by a notch. Make sure you smile and look authentically like you. Avoid things like filters and pouting at the camera. Save that for Instagram!

2. Title

This is a highly prominent section of your profile, so use it wisely. Simply putting in your current job title may not be the best use of this space. Unless it is really impressive, like CEO of an FTSE 100 company! Remember, your job title appears further down in your profile and LinkedIn will insert the logo of your current employer if they have a corporate profile. Therefore, another way to approach the title section is to write something descriptive about what you do. This should include attributes that will be valued in roles you want to apply for. A well crafted short description can convey not only what you do, but also how you do it. Taking this approach is especially valuable if you are looking for a future role that is quite different from what you do now.

3. Summary

So many people don’t even bother to fill this section in, which is a massive wasted opportunity. This 2,000-character section is your chance to sell who you are and why you would be a great asset to a future employer. Think of it like your ‘elevator pitch’ online. Although the content in this section is about you, the purpose of it is to make a connection with people who will hire you for what you want to do next. It’s a showcase for your talents, skills, values and other characteristics. Therefore, you can use it to paint a picture of who you are and why an employer should hire you. Use powerful words without sounding pretentious. Keep your target audience in mind as you write it.

4. Experience

This section is basically your employment history. It’s ok to copy what’s on your CV into this section, however do some work on the content to make it more impactful. Many people make the mistake of just listing their roles and responsibilities for each job. The problem is that this doesn’t tell the story about how well you performed in this role. Instead, focus on your achievements, such as ‘created and inputted an online marketing strategy that increased sales by 18% over 2 years’ or ‘inaugurated and led a multidisciplinary team of 10 people to launch a new product line that exceeded projected sales by 14%.’ Also, reference any awards or accolades you received. These details could also go in the awards section further down your profile.

If you’ve had a long working life, say over 20 years, leave out less relevant roles early in your career. Recruiters don’t need to know about your teenage Saturday job if you’re 45 and looking for a senior management role!

5. Education

Use this section to focus on your most relevant achievements, such as degrees and professional qualifications. Explain anything that is unclear from the title of the qualification. Also, add a short description about what you learned through studying for it. Again, if you’re in your late 30s onwards, consider whether listing your GCSE results adds any value for what you are looking to do next. Especially if you have several further and higher education qualifications.

6. Skills and Recommendations

This is another section that is often very under-utilised. In the Skills section, you can list up to 50 skills and get them ‘endorsed’ by others on LinkedIn. List the skills most relevant to what you want to do next. For example, if one of your top skills is ‘web design’, get people you know to endorse it. This could include clients, colleagues or even friends. People who are experts in this area are especially useful. This is because LinkedIn shows your skill has been endorsed by people who are ‘highly skilled’, adding more value.

The recommendations sections requires slightly more effort. However, it’s really worthwhile. Here, people you have worked with can write what is effectively a short a reference for you. This means recruiters will see complements by a third party about work you have done. Make a list of people on LinkedIn who could write a recommendation for you. Consider managers, colleagues, clients, and send them a polite written request using the form in this section. People are normally really pleased to help and it’s hard to overestimate the value of personal recommendations. doing something kind for another person feels good. It’s worth the time investment.

7. Volunteer Experience

This section allows you to add colour and bring to life who you are as a person. The attributes of compassion though giving your time for a worthy cause will be looked on favourably by recruiters. So too will volunteer work that demonstrates skills that are of value to employers. If you are a secretary or treasurer of a charity or community group, there will be skills that are applicable also in work, such as organising meetings or financial reporting. This section could also include things like fundraising by taking part in challenges or sporting events. Take some time to consider all the things you have done. There are likely to be more than you first realised.

8. Interests

The interests section lists the thought leaders and organisations you follow on LinkedIn. Follow those people who are universally admired and respected and organisations from the industry you want to work in next. Take care with this section if you want a career change to a new industry. Instead of following companies who do what you do now, follow those related to what you want to do next.

Also – avoid following anyone who may be controversial. For example, few people who work in the charity sector are likely to follow a right leaning politician or party. The fact that you follow someone against the values of an organisation you want to work for may count as a red flag. Regardless of how well you could do the job.

Implement these seven steps effectively as part of your LinkedIn strategy to position you well for what you want to do next. This should also include regular posting, commenting and connecting with relevant people to build your network.

If you find that you want further advice to develop or re-shape your career, then consider working with a life coach with expertise in career coaching.

Chris Cooper is a life coach and career coach in Manchester, England. He works with clients from across the UK and internationally online using video call or by telephone.

Do you want to make changes to your career? Speak to Chris about how career coaching can help you.

Check out my LinkedIn Profile.

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NLP Coaching: 5 Ways NLP Can Help You Achieve Your Career Goals

An increasing number of people are recognising the benefits of NLP in helping them achieve their career goals.

More and more are people are seeking out and applying to work with NLP Practitioners. Often this is because friends tell them that NLP will help to ‘fix’ the situation they are in. They don’t necessarily know too much about NLP to begin with, but after a few sessions, it’s like the shades come off. They see things more clearly, gaining vital insights to help them make better decisions about their career.

This article will give you a short overview of how NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) can help you if you feel stuck with your career and aren’t sure what to do next.

It could be that you want to change career, but you’re not sure what to do next. Perhaps you’re in the right career, but you need some help with confidence or mindset to move forward. Or maybe there are other issues elsewhere in your life that you need to attend to if you’re to achieve the life you want for yourself and your family.

So, here are five great ways career coaching using NLP can help you make the breakthrough you’re looking for to achieve your life and career goals.

How NLP can help you…

1. Gain a fresh perspective on your life and career

NLP is great for helping you work on beliefs about yourself, others and the world around you, which you’ve noticed are holding you back; limiting beliefs that stop you achieving your career potential or attaining the vision you have for your life.

In NLP, beliefs are treated as what we call pre-suppositions – not as facts or truths. Essentially, you have a conscious choice about what you believe. If you don’t like the outcomes you get from a belief, you have the flexibility to change it.

This is really powerful if you’ve held long term beliefs like ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘everyone else is smarter’ or ‘I’ll never be happy’. Through working on why you hold these beliefs and exploring what belief would serve you better, we can re-programme how you view yourself and the world around you.

2. Understand your values better

Have you ever taken time to really get to the heart of what your values are? If you’re like the vast majority of people, this is not something you’ll ever have taken the time to do. Yet understanding your values is so important – because once you do, you are able to make better decisions in all areas of your life.

Values are essentially the things that are most important to you. They are principles or standards of behaviour which are formed from a very young age or through your experience of the world around you.

For example, the values that are most important to me include freedom, integrity, authenticity, fairness, fearlessness, and happiness. They are part of who I am and guide how I approach life.

Image of woman in front of shop smiling looking ahead NLP

If you do something that contradicts one of your core values, you experience a physical sensation that something is wrong. It could be a sinking feeling in your stomach, heart palpitations, or pain.

Once you’re properly in touch with your values, you feel like you know yourself better. You can use your values to help you make decisions. Essentially, running the options past your values to work out what to do.

This includes your career, so is the career path you’ve chosen in line with your values? If not, this is more than likely the reason why you feel you need to make a change.

NLP is really effective in helping you to get clear on your values, which really helps clients who are looking to make a career transition.

3. Develop the resources to succeed

Sometimes it feels like you are on the right career path but you don’t have all the tools to achieve the success you are looking for.

This can manifest itself in a number of ways, such as shying away from promotions or getting struck by imposter syndrome. This is when you doubt your achievements and have an underlying fear of being found out to be a fraud. Even though, deep down, you know you are good enough.

In NLP, we assume that everyone has the resources they need in order to succeed – or that they know how to develop them.

This could be by becoming more confident to deliver presentations, developing greater resilience to deal with setbacks, or improving your interpersonal skills to communicate better with clients and colleagues.

Image of young woman confidently delivering a presentation NLP

Don’t let things like this hold you back from what you want to achieve when NLP can help you move forward.

4. Change unwanted behaviour patterns

Do you repeat patterns of behaviour over and over again? If these behaviours get you the results you want, then great! However, it is time to change them if they stop you from accomplishing the things you want from life.

A fundamental principle of NLP is if what you are doing isn’t working, you should do something different.

Negative repetitive patterns of behaviour come up in all areas of life, such as work, relationships, eating, exercise or financial management. It can easily get to a point where they can feel crippling.

The good news is that using NLP, you can break these patterns and re-programme your brain to get the outcome you’re looking for.

5. Develop a more flexible mindset

Sometimes people don’t accomplish what they want because they develop tunnel vision. They see one path only, rather than the wider spectrum of options available to achieve their chosen outcome. Perhaps you recognise this in yourself.

At its foundation, NLP is all about developing greater flexibility in how you approach life. Right now, it might feel like you can’t see the wood for the trees. By developing more flexible thinking, you will see the whole forest – every single tree.

There is always more than one way to achieve an outcome. The best way to make it a reality is not to stick rigidly with your plan if it’s not working. Instead, keep the end goal in mind while being open to all the options available to reach it.

Changing your mindset using NLP encourages greater curiosity, which leads to flexibility, success, and fulfillment.

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I hope this short article has helped you understand a little bit more about NLP and why it is so effective in helping you achieve your career goals. NLP is developed from modeling excellence, using these learnings to develop techniques that enable people to re-programme their brains to improve their performance, along the way understanding themselves better.

The human mind is an amazing and complex organ, which neuroscientists continue to learn more about all the time. The great thing is that the brain continues to evolve all throughout your adult life – a process known as neuroplasticity.

You don’t need to accept that you can’t do something just because you haven’t been able to up until now. You may just need some help and to try a different approach in order to get there.

Take this forward: NLP to achieve your career potential

Chris Cooper is a mindset and career coach based in Manchester, UK. He works with businesses to develop their teams for success. He also coaches clients worldwide by phone or video call to help them achieve their career potential.

Click to learn more about career coaching.

Do you want to make changes to your career? Speak to Chris more about how career coaching can help you.

Check out my LinkedIn Profile.

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Change Your Perspective: 5 Belief Shifts to Amplify Your Career Potential

Is your view of the world limiting your happiness and career potential? Here’s 5 hacks to see things more clearly (and kindly).

This may not be something you’ve ever thought about before. How your sub-conscious beliefs about the world govern each moment of every single day. Whether or not you believe it right now, just pre-suppose it’s the case for a few minutes while I show you why this is true; and how some simple shifts in thinking can have a profound effect on your life and career potential.

As a coach and NLP Practitioner, I work with my clients to challenge their beliefs about themselves and the world around them. This is because what you believe impacts how you experience the world and therefore the decisions you make.

If your beliefs about the world limit your choices, it’s important to consider that there is always a different perspective. Another lens through which to view life.

How You Experience the World

We all experience the world through our senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell and taste). Your brain constantly has to deal with millions of pieces of sensory information. Yet it is only possible for your conscious mind to process a handful of individual pieces at any one time.

Therefore, your brain filters through everything, sifting out the information it chooses to pay attention to. This is based on your values and beliefs, memories (and the emotions attached to them) and your cultural and social background. Taken together, this is our map of the world.

Every individual has their own unique map of the world based on their past experiences. Imagine two identical twins raised by different families in different parts of the world. They may be the same biologically, but their experiences are unique and so they will view the world differently.

The Map is Not the Territory

Consider that our sensory experience of the world is the territory and the way our brains process this information is our map. The sensory information is the truth and the map is our interpretation of the truth – not facts, just our own unique version of how we perceive them.

If your map doesn’t enable you to navigate the territory, you can upgrade it. Just like you might update your sat-nav, or in the old days when you would buy a new atlas each year to stay on top of how the roads change.

Image of atlas open to show the USA with a compass on top of the page. NLP pre-suppositions help you change your map of the world - and achieve your career potential

This is how NLP pre-suppositions work. They enables you to change your mental map of the world so you can understand and interpret what is going on more clearly.

In NLP, we treat beliefs as pre-suppositions – not as facts or truths. If you act as though a belief is true, it will change how you experience the world. And if you don’t like the outcomes you get from a belief, you have the flexibility to change it. Essentially, you have a conscious choice about what you believe.

You may have long term, deeply held beliefs which don’t serve you well, like ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘everyone else is smarter’, ‘I’ll never be happy’. For beliefs like this, working with someone else, like a coach is the best way to help you to change. However, applying the lens of an NLP pre-supposition can also profoundly change how you see and experience the world.

5 NLP Pre-Suppositions to Change Your Life (and Achieve Your Career Potential)

I commonly use NLP Pre-suppositions to help my coaching clients gain a fresh perspective and make better decisions based on greater flexibility of thought. This means when it comes to areas like career change, altering mindset and improving relationships, they have greater freedom in how they view the world.

There are many more than this, but here are my top 5 NLP Pre-Suppositions to change your life and maximise your own career potential.

1. There is no failure, only feedback

It can be too easy to get caught up in negative feelings when something doesn’t go according to plan. This can lead to a cycle of questioning whether you are good enough, which may deter you from challenging yourself in future.

Taking on the belief of this pre-supposition is really powerful as it means you always look for the positive in a situation where things didn’t go according to plan. It encourages a learning and growth mindset. You seek out feedback opportunities to enable you to do better next time. This may be through self-reflection, evaluation of data or from speaking to other people.

For example, if you don’t get a new job or promotion, you can ask for feedback from the interviewer. This enables you to attain a greater understanding of why you weren’t successful. You can use this information can help with future job applications and interviews. This is a much more positive and pro-active approach to your career than just lamenting on things and feeling discouraged from applying for other roles.

It’s also a great approach to project management, enabling you to be pro-active and remain solutions focused when things go wrong.

2. If what you are doing isn’t working, do something different

How many times have you repeated something that didn’t work, hoping for a different result the next time? And how many times did the same thing happen again?!

Accepting this pre-supposition doesn’t mean you just abandon what you are doing. It instead encourages greater flexibility in working out how to achieve your outcome.

This doesn’t only apply to tasks, it also impacts on your interactions with other people. Have you ever tried to get somebody else to alter something you don’t like about them? Instead of trying to change another person, ask yourself what you can you change in your own behaviour to achieve the outcome you are looking for.

3. Every Behaviour has a positive intention

Sometimes we take it personally when other people do things that have a negative impact on us. It’s as though what they did was specifically designed to make you angry or feel bad. What if you accepted that their motivation is to accomplish something that is important to them, however frustrating their actions may be?

By accepting that every behaviour has a positive intention, we operate with a deeper understanding of the other person. We are less likely to react adversely to what another person does. We have greater compassion and don’t allow other peoples’ actions to negatively influence our own state of mind.

Not only this, we can try to work out the positive intention and may even be able to help the other person to find a better way of achieving it.

This may apply to your boss, your team, your clients and also your personal relationships. In addition to other small interactions you have with people every day.

Every behaviour has a positive intention also links to…

4. People make the best choice they can at the time

Do you ever look at another person’s behaviour and question why they chose a particular course of action? Especially when you know there was a better way of achieving what they were trying to do.

How would it feel if you just accepted that based on their life experiences and the information they had available, they made what they believed to be the right decision?

It’s especially powerful in situations in which you were negatively impacted by that decision. It removes some heat from and allows you to see there are other factors that influenced what happened. It’s less likely to feel like the world is against you.

This pre-supposition also enables you to feel more self-compassion for bad decisions you’ve made in the past (something we’ve all done.)

The way to make better decisions is to have greater insight and a greater range of options available.

With deeper understanding and more choices, people will always make better decisions. Including you.

5. Individuals have all the resources they need to achieve their desired outcomes

This is a fundamental assumption of coaching. Everyone has, or is able to access, all the resources required to achieve the outcome they are working towards. They just need to ask right questions, either of themselves or by a coach.

They also need to feel sufficiently motivated to take action.

When times are tough it is easy to fall back into a position in which we feel we are not good enough. As though everyone else has all the answers except us. Once you accept you are capable of the outcome you are working towards, you will feel more confident and in control. Providing your goal is realistic!

Yes, some outside help may be beneficial, but this is a resource you are accessing to implement a strategy you decided for yourself. You are in the driving seat. Of your life and achieving your career potential.

Take this forward: achieve your career potential

So, what’s the best way to get started applying these five pre-suppositions?

Think of a problem you have right now, something you’ve been stuck on for some time. Apply each of these pre-suppositions to the situation and see how it changes the way you feel about things. You may also uncover solutions you hadn’t thought of before.

There is always an answer to every problem you face. Sometimes you just need to look at things differently.

Chris Cooper is a mindset and career coach based in Manchester, UK. He works with businesses to develop their teams for success. He also coaches clients worldwide by phone or video call to help them achieve their career potential.

Click to learn more about career coaching.

Do you want to make changes to your career? Speak to Chris more about how career coaching can help you.

Image of man looking stressed at work, staring at his computer

5 Signs Your Work-Life Scale is Off Balance

Is your work-life balance feeling a little out of alignment? Here are five signs to look out for.

Modern technology and alternative ways of working were meant to make work easier. Or at least that’s how it was sold to us. But due to smart phones, wi-fi and email, for many people it feels like the work day is never over, with no natural end point. Technology provides more opportunities and greater flexibility than ever before, but the pressure this places on people is taking a toll on our work-life balance and our wellbeing.

The latest research from the OECD’s Better Life Index ranks the UK 29thof 38 countries for work-life balance. 13% of the population reported working over 50 hours per week, with the research noting that long hours impair health and lead to increased stress.

This is backed up by recent findings by the Office for National Statistics. The data show that anxiety and depression are now the most common form of work related illness, overtaking musculo-skeletal disorders for the first time.

Is work stressing you out to the detriment of other areas of your life? Here are five signs to look out for that your work-life balance is out of alignment:

1. Being on constant call for work emails

Answering emails outside normal work hours is something many people do. Indeed, working through emails on your journey to and from work may be an efficient use of your time, especially if this means you can arrive late or finish early.

The problem occurs when you find yourself checking your messages all night, getting involved in protracted email exchanges until late and hardly ever turning your work phone off. This creates an expectation that you will always be available. Soon you feel like you can never switch off from work.

Image of business person checking emails on their smart phone

2. Developing unhealthy eating and drinking habits to cope with stress

This creeps into your daily routine when you use sugary foods and alcohol as crutches to help you deal with the long hours you are working. At the office, this can include ‘treating yourself’ to muffins, chocolate and other snacks to help you get through the day.

And when you finally get home from work, opening a bottle of wine or having a few beers becomes an ever more familiar habit to ‘help you unwind’ and reward yourself for your efforts. Pretty soon, this can turn into alcohol dependency.

Taken together, eating the wrong things and drinking too much will take a toll on your health. Negative impacts may include weight gain increased your risk of cardiovascular disease, some cancers and Type II diabetes.

Image of brightly coloured frosted donuts - junk food

3. Waking up during the night thinking about work

The more hours you work, the longer work is on your mind. If you’re working late, this means your brain will be processing information about work all through the evening. So there is little time to switch off before bedtime. This is especially true if you sit in bed at night answering emails!

Put simply, your mind is working overtime. This makes it more likely you will sleep fitfully and wake up during the night, worrying about what has happened today or what might happen tomorrow.

As well as adjusting your email working hours, try a short mindfulness exercise at bedtime to help your mind unwind and switch off before you go to sleep. These days it’s simple with smartphone apps such as Headspace and Calm. They provide short, tailor-made pre-sleep meditations you can follow easily.

4. Feeling tired and sluggish all the time

Are these habits familiar to you? The effects of working too many hours in the office, eating unhealthy comfort foods, not exercising enough, drinking on weeknights and not sleeping enough combine to create one much bigger problem. You end up feeling tired and sluggish all the time.

Not having enough energy to get through the day means you do things like increasing your caffeine intake and have more and more sugary snacks to get you through.

This creates a vicious cycle which could have a significant long-term impact on your mental and physical wellbeing. It’s something you need to address right now, by focusing on each unhealthy habit one-by-one, including the root cause: working too many hours.

Image of female commuter asleep on train resting her head on the table

5. Friends complain that they never see you

One of the first things to get squeezed out if you work too many hours is your social life. Soon, you find the only time you see your friends is on social media. Weeks and months go by without seeing the people you care about most. Your Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of pictures of your friends out and having a great time — without you.

The paradox is that seeing the people you care about regularly is one of the best ways to reduce cortisol. This is the hormone released by your brain during stressful times. Seeing and talking to your friends is a better way to deal with tough times than alcohol or comfort food. It’s time to start marking out more time in your diary to see friends and family.

Do you recognise any of these five signs of work-life balance stress? If so, it’s time to act now by re-examining the relationship between your career and the rest of your life.

Click to learn more about career coaching services.

Do you want to make changes to your career? Speak to Chris more about how career coaching can help you.

Image of man at a crossroads trying to decide which career option to take

If You’re Not Happy with Your Career, Make a Change

Work is something we spend so much of our time doing. That means it’s important to feel happy, or at least satisfied with your career. If you don’t like what you do, there’s a good chance this will lead to negative consequences affecting not only your work, but other parts of your life too.

The idea of making a career change may seem scary. However, take a moment, close your eyes and visualise the remainder of your working life if you carry on doing what you’re doing now.

Right up to when you retire. Will you be happy if you stick with your current career path? Will these years feel rich and fulfilling? If the answer is ‘no’ then you owe it to yourself to do something about it.

There are lots of great reasons for choosing to do something different. Perhaps your lifestyle has changed, you may find your work boring or you could be experiencing too much stress. It may be the case that the longer term outlook for your industry doesn’t look good.

Or you could be experiencing burnout. You’ve been doing the same thing for years, perhaps at the same company, and it is wearing you down. You may also want to earn more money than you will be able to do if you stick with what you’re doing.

If any of this sounds familiar, making changes to your career now will serve you best in the long run.

Make Your Career Change Happen

Here are 3 steps to get going:

  1. Open up your mind to what you would like to do. Allow yourself to dream. Feel unbounded by what you are doing right now, consider all possibilities.

Make a list of careers you find appealing including, if relevant, working for yourself.

Once you have done this, do some research into what each career involves, including the skills/training required, what your lifestyle would be like and how much you could earn.

Through this process, some of your initial ideas will drop out, while others will seem even more appealing. The outcome will be a shortlist of careers you’d like to explore further.

  1. Using your shortlist, find other people who are doing what you are interested in. Speak to them about what is involved in what they do, what they enjoy and what they don’t enjoy.

Perhaps you have friends or friends of friends who can help. If not, do some research on LinkedIn and find relevant people to reach out to. Don’t be shy – you’ll find a lot of people willing to help. People generally love to talk about what they do!

Try to speak to 2 or 3 people for each career so you get more than one perspective. This step will narrow your list down further.

  1. For the remaining options, identify any gaps in your skills or educational attainment that you would need to fill for each career.

Explore what you would need to do in order to close the gap. How long will it take and how much would it cost? Can you fit any study in around your current job? Is it feasible to take a career break?

Also, thoroughly research salary expectations both at the level you could enter and in the future. If this is less than you currently earn, can you afford to do it? Ask yourself how the rest of your life will benefit from your new career, even if you are earning less.

These three steps will provide a good start to get you going.

But the best thing you can do is get yourself a coach. Someone completely unbiased and on your side to help you work out what you want to do (in your life and career) and who will help you create clear goals and actions to make it happen.

Would you like to learn more about working with me to make your career change happen? Click here to get in touch.