I am an HR manager who has been working in HR for over 10 years and am ready
for a career change. I’m in my 40s, and bored of the constant changes in
employment law, and the succession of employee relations problems. I thought of
coaching but don’t have an idea of what’s involved
Clive Sussams, recruitment consultant, Malpas Flexible Learning
I would emphasise that the feelings you are experiencing about your HR role
and career are not unique. It is probably fair to say that many people have had
a career "crisis" at some stage or another, irrespective of their
Initially, it would be useful to review the reasons for your current
disillusionment with HR. Have you had several employers during the past 10
years or been with one only? What kind of roles have you had, and have they
offered sufficient variety as well as the opportunity to extend your skills
set? It may well be that you need a new working environment to stimulate
yourself and hopefully recreate interest, together with promotion prospects.
It would also be worthwhile asking your employer whether there are any
opportunities to transfer to such functions as learning and development or
remuneration and benefits. The prospects for assuming other roles linked to HR
are very much related to the breadth of your personal and professional skills.
Finally, I should stress that a move into a business role may be desirable
as it will make you more attractive to employers in the future, particularly if
you wish to move back into HR.
Peter Wilford, consultant, Chiumento
Before moving into an area of work which sounds interesting but of which you
know very little, you must first think about what you want out of your career.
1 What skills, qualities and experience will I bring to the role that will
allow success in it?
2 What personality/values do I have that I wish or need my next employer to
3 How do I prefer to work, as part of a team, for example, or on my own, at
4 Do I have any interests which I would like to be incorporated in my work?
A key aspect of career planning is to find work you feel passionate about.
An essential factor to coaching is to focus on making the most of
opportunities, using active listening, questioning and encouraging people to
find their own solutions. It follows on well from HR, as both involve giving
advice and support in handling people issues. Some companies employ in-house
coaches, but many use external consultants, on a long-term, or short-term
To move into this line of work, you should be able to demonstrate that you
have carried out a similar role in one of your HR jobs.
If this sounds like work you would enjoy, research the courses available.
Contact specialist consultancies to get feedback on courses they recommend.
Another option is career counselling. You could work in a local authority
careers service or for a consultancy specialising in outplacement and career
management. Most employers look for a qualification in counselling – go for a
course that has BAC recognition – or identify an MSc in career management.
Jo Selby, associate director, EJ Human Resources
Coaching is often seen as a natural progression from HR as many of the
skills are transferable. The area of coaching spans a variety of fields, from
career counselling through to training and development to name but a few, so I
would recommend you carry out some research to determine exactly which field
interests you. I also suggest that you discuss this potential career move from
HR with individuals who have made such a change and who are already doing such
a role to gain a greater understanding of the daily responsibilities and