The Coaching Academy BlogThe Coaching Academy Blog

19 Apr, 2009

Dealing With Job Loss

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coaching Articles|Executive Coaching Articles

Job Loss - Coaching Blog

Job loss is probably the most traumatic event in anyone’s career path. People react differently – some with shock, helplessness while others who were perhaps forewarned, with an initial bravado.

However, whether it is an expected event or an unwelcome surprise, the loss of a job can seriously dent a person’s self-esteem. Initial bravado may mask a negative reaction. Coaching can help individuals in a number of ways:

  • Help the client to express and manage their feelings in a safe and confidential environment
  • Identify what has been lost, and importantly, what has been gained and what expectations the client now has
  • Explore what the client can do to cope with the situation, to start taking control to plan for the future.


People will go through a transition following a significant change in their circumstances. The early stages of shock and thinking that the problem may go away (denial) can lead to anger as the implications for the individual sinks in. This anger is not necessarily directed at the company or the individual who delivered the news. It may be borne out of frustration that there is nothing the individual can do or the feeling that the individual is to blame. ‘I can’t be good enough’, ‘What did I do wrong?’ etc. This can soon slide into doubt about one’s abilities, feelings of lack of self-worth and depression, particularly if attempts at securing another job are unsuccessful.

Gradually, it is accepted that nothing is going to change and this is when the individual starts to let go of the past and focus on adapting to the new reality and making decisions and explorations about the future. The individual may try to assess what has happened and what it means for them but they now accept the situation and are moving forward into the next phase of their lives.

How the Client is Affected

The coach can play an important part by increasing the self-awareness of the client, through exploring their thoughts and feelings about what is going on, rather than allowing them to be bottled up.

Ask the client to write down their feelings and emotions as well as talk about them. What are their strongest feelings and what are they tied to?

Is there anyone else with whom the client can share what they are going through and gain further support? Sharing these feelings can dispel some of the negative emotions, which can help the individual through their transition.

Dealing with Loss and Expectations

The client may well be feeling grief about things they have lost, such as salary, status, friends, self-esteem, etc; and will need time to mourn the loss of these. Help the client establish the most important of these and what opportunities there are for replacing them or minimising their impact.

This situation will also have some gains for the individual even if they are future gains, such as new choice of direction, being able to target a career that meets a better life balance, such as more recreational time or more time at home; it may even be that longed-for ambition of working for oneself. By focusing on this potential, the coach can shift the perspective of the situation so that it may become more positive for the client.

Coping and an Action Plan.

In turning the client towards constructive future thinking, another positive intervention that the coach can make is to coach the individual on how they dealt with a change that they handled well and to use that process for the circumstances they are now in. The change may have been winning the job they are now leaving, moving house, a previous redundancy or even getting married. Examples of questions to ask are:

  • Did you know what outcome you wanted?
  • What did you do to make it happen?
  • Did you know what you did not want?
  • What did you do to prevent it?
  • How did you feel at the start and when you successfully completed it?
  • Who did you discuss it with?
  • Who gave you support?

From this constructive thinking, the client can be encouraged to apply the process that helped them in that previous situation to their current circumstances, so that they:

  • Have a clear objective or outcome, such as achieving balanced income and outgoings, knowing what the next career step is, etc.
  • Know what outcome they do not want, such as ‘stagnating’ at home.
  • Plan the actions for their successful outcome, such as deciding what essentials are needed, drawing up a new budget for outgoings, register at the job centre and examine alternative careers with you as their coach.
  • Anticipate and plan to deal with what could go wrong, such as not getting another job within the timescale that is planned.
  • Involve the people who will support them.

By going through this process, not only will the coach have helped the client become aware of the turbulence that may be going on emotionally and dissipating some of the destructive energy but also the perspective of the client will be shifted towards taking action and moving forward.

By Michelle Crossland


1 Response to "Dealing With Job Loss"

1 | Cherry Douglas

April 24th, 2009 at 11:38 am


Useful outline of the process many people may be going through right now – thanks Michelle!

As a career coach, I see many people who work through their negativity and find that in the long run, redundancy has been a gift that has booted them into finally doing something different with their lives.

They may not be able to see that at the outset, but by taking an encouraging and solution focused approach, a coach can lead them to a place where they can begin to see and grasp the opportunities that are opening up in front of them.


Cherry Douglas
Your Career Change Guide

Comment Form

Blog Calendar

February 2019
« Oct    

  • Emma-Louise Elsey: CONGRATULATIONS to The Coaching Academy! I'm a bit late to the party here, but that's wonderful news. Well done for all your hard work and dedication
  • donna: That's me in that pic!!!!
  • Harry Singha: Great shout Thanks

About The Coaching Academy

The Coaching Academy is at the forefront of coach training worldwide. As the largest UK school for coaches, The Coaching Academy has developed a reputation for quality training and has trained over 30,000 people in coaching skills over the last ten years.

The team of trainers you will work with are hand-picked from the cream of the UK’s finest coaches and trainers... [read more...]

  FREE Coaching Report


  Please tick if you have attended or applied for our FREE Coaching Course:
FREE Coaching Report
Log in