couples and career transition coaching

In spite of the pandemic and many other life challenges right now, people are moving up and moving on in their professional careers.

  • Valued mid-career employees are seeking and being offered advancement in company leadership and scope of responsibilities.
  • Others are encouraged to expand or strengthen their skills, participating in further training needed by their company as it prepares for the future.
  • Others are anticipating an exit and next life stage, with thoughtful succession planning that will impact their company’s next phase.

Each of these situations brings its own set of circumstances that employees need to face. For some it’s longer hours, managing and leading more people, even relocation to a different part of the country. For some it’s deciding if they are willing to move internationally and all that entails.

No matter how welcomed, job changes and career transitions are stressful. They are stressful when you are growing within a company at the same office. Stress in compounded when transitions are required frequently. Or if they involve a myriad of changes.

This article breaks down in the following way:

For many, the opportunities and challenges are both exciting and daunting, especially as the world and the world-of-work is changing – and we don’t know how it’s all going to land just yet.

Then we can’t forget there’s the personal side of things that factor in!

Considerations such as your chronological age and life stage, whether you are single, dating, married, with kids or not (oh and did I mention depending on your kids ages, and if we’re talking about single or co-parenting?) and one or two adult careers in the family, and financial security, and the list goes on, doesn’t it!

The convergence of these many factors is the heart of my career coaching relationship with professionals seeking or being offered a change. So even if the focus is on “the job,” so to speak, in my career coaching, we partner to make sure all levels of you and your life are aligned as you make your next career decisions, transitions or move.

That way you can move forward with greater confidence. Let’s talk about just how to make sure you are aligned on the personal side.

Couples make decisions together during career transitions

How to Include Your People in Your Career Transition

And as you move along a career and developmental path, chances are your choices involve not only you, but typically a mate and growing family as you achieve more of your personal dreams and also take on more personal life responsibilities.

Unless you are starting out, your career transition impacts a lot of other people—so include them in anticipating the changes,

You might relate to some of these career coaching and couple coaching clients I’ve worked with over the years:

Matt is in his prime mid-career.

I’ve talked about Matt in a number of other articles. He and other high level leaders I work with as an Executive Coach have similar stories. So, Matt is a late-40’s, seasoned business leader in a global company overseeing thousands of employees in multiple countries. He also has a family and middle-school aged kids. This wasn’t always so. He started out single and fresh out of grad school like most. He has successfully grown in his company and career through thoughtful mentoring and by carefully partnering with his wife and now kids every step along the way. In that process, career growth demanded national and global relocations. He and his family have moved 5 times internationally in 10-12 years. At the right time they’ll return to home-base.

At the start of the career continuum there’s Mary Beth.

Mary Beth is 25 and with an international company that trains skills and management capability  through rigorous stints in various departments over a fast-track 3 year development program. So, Mary Beth has moved 5 times in the last three years, every 9 – 11 months. Great experience, she’s done a great job, but she’s a bit worn-out, ready to settle down in her current location, engage in a more robust social life, decorate her sweet apartment and figure out how she’s going to integrate some of her other desires for marriage and family along with her career. It will be interesting to observe her choices as she transitions into this next phase. At time of this writing, she’s met her guy and they are looking to move for her career, further education and company. He’s looking to advance his own leadership while working remotely once they move.

Harold’s at the other end of the continuum, looking to wind down.

Harold is in his 60’s and has been a member of a successful professional partnership for many years. He’s worked hard and grown within the firm, and now as a senior mentor within the firm, while raising his family. His adult kids are going through their own transitions and the family is anticipating a second grandchild. While he still enjoys his clients, work is not everything on Harold’s mind as he thinks about his future and plans for 5 – 10 years out. He and his wife of 32 years, who is a working artist, are putting some attention to talking about their next phase, individually and together. Finances, fun and location are in the conversational mix, along with experimenting and exploring some of the anticipated changes now. This thoughtfulness will impact discussions Harold has within his firm going forward as he and Carol clarify what they plan to do next.

All of these individuals have been able to go further, faster, enjoy and be in-the-moment with each phase because their decisions are built on the foundation we’ve coached that are outlined in the steps below. Each of them has been successful making transitions individually, with their mate and family, and with their companies because they revisit these steps at each choice point to make sure they are aligned and on track.

If you are anticipating or experiencing a transition, it may feel like you have no time for such a check-in with yourself and your loved ones. However, these 4 Steps will save you from another kind of stress down the road—that’s the stress of having made a hasty decision that backfires and requires a redo or detours your career and personal path.



Integrate your personal life and career for greater success

Step 1: Bring Your Personal Life and Career Transition Together

Core values are fairly consistent over time, but some may come to the fore depending on what’s going on in your career and personal life. It’s grounding when you revisit your values individually and know you are on the right path; it’s especially helpful to do this with your mate and family members to give a meaningful context to how your career is going to impact their lives. It’s a way to reassure that their needs are also addressed in your changes. When the people around you are content and you’re all connected, you’ll have more energy to focus on your work at work, and enjoy the family when you are together.

Step 2: Anticipate and Envision The Next Career Phase Together

This is an honest look at what the next phase is going to require of you time and energy-wise and how it will impact the people around you. Consciously get a handle on as much as you know and then have a discussion (realistically, more than one) with your mate and kids.

People do better when they have a framework or structure. Your spouse will feel respected and your kids will feel less anxious if you all communicate about what’s happening.

Talk about, and even negotiate, the length of time for the whole assignment or tenure in a position.

  • For example, Mary Beth knew this was a 3 year intensive stint of training and moves, then done.
  • Matt and his wife had a sense from the company about the time-frame for each relocation (typically 3-5 years) and shared some of their personal needs with the company as they moved around the globe and their children grew.
  • Because of his age, Harold’s firm anticipates changes for all senior members and it is visited at partnership meetings. Harold’s let them know he’ll give them plenty of lead time as he and his wife make specific plans.

Discuss as much as you know about the relocation process itself and then what life might look like when you have settled. Make a schedule of family time and work time that can be counted on as much as possible. Once you are in a new position and/or location, be sure to Re-Vision and communicate together so everyone has information.

Sharing Makes "Your" Career Transition, "Our" Adventure.

Mature couple sharing career options together.

Step 3: Conversations Make “Your” Career Transition, “Our” Adventure

We know you have business or career goals during this career transition. Again, you’ll feel solid and benefit from the structure if you set personal life goals and do this with your family.

Your partner and children will feel cared for and connected to you as you spend time talking about and writing down each person’s individual goals—things they want to accomplish during this next phase. For example a global stint may include adventures and foods particular to the country, experimenting with new foods, sight-seeing, cultural events, making new friends, and so on. That way “your career transition” can be adopted as “our” transition—or adventure.

Have a conversation with your partner to clarify couple expectations/goals during the transition or move and into the next phase. (Who will do what in the relocation process? Address date nights and how you’ll handle long-distance communicating if you are traveling a lot. Talk about how you wish to spend time together and with the family when you are home, or away, etc.) It is well-known fact that how happy a spouse is, is how well a relocation for career progresses. Be forewarned!

Include your teen in career transition planning to stay connected.

Step 4. Bring Your Family Goals and Needs Into the Planning

Everything from making sure the kids have a good education to family adventures. It’s good to start this young. Younger kids love these activities and often have much input. If you start these discussions when they are older it can be more challenging.

A colleague recently shared the story of a teenager asking his father “So tell me, what’s in this for me?” when the family was being moved one more time for his dad’s job.  Heartbreaking and a huge conflict for a professional parent, but there are ways to mitigate the negative by involving your loved one’s in the process. Giving them time to absorb, revision and then get on-board with their own goals that you respect and the entire family supports and works toward during your next career phase.

All of these suggestions apply just as well if your transitioning within the same company and not moving anywhere. It’s good role-modeling for all and gives permission for their transitions through school, college and into the future to be openly discussed and supported throughout their lives as well.

These steps will ground you and everyone you love in solid Values, Revisioning and working toward Goals together as a home-front team while you excel on the job!

couples and partnering resources

For resources to help you work together during such choice points visit the services and resources here. 

Download our free resources and articles on these pages.

If you want help to quickly strengthen your partnering and decision-making skills, take a look at the Big Picture Partnering couples coaching program here.

Couples considering relocating for one or both careers go here.

Getting ready to plan your sale or exit now or down the road? Be sure to check out these resources.

Are you ready for a Complimentary phone conversation to help you achieve your goals. When you are. go to the contact page and schedule on my calendar, email, or simply pick up the phone and give me a call 952 922 9430. Let’s talk!


Dr. Jan Hoistad