The UK has a redundancy rate of 4.2% (2016-2017, UK ONS data), that means career coaches specialising in redundancy have a regular source of clients, which is being replenished every single month – not many niche markets have the luxury of that kind of pipeline.Of course, individuals experiencing redundancy are facing various practical as well as emotional challenges. So, the challenge faced by career coaches is often not what to coach, or even who to coach, but how best to manage a clients’ expectations when they’re undergoing these potentially life and career changing situations.

It’s not uncommon for a client in a redundancy situation to find themselves in a vulnerable place. Therefore, it is a coach’s responsibility to not only recognise the potential of this situation, but to ensure that their client is fully aware of the boundaries of what coaching will and won’t deliver for them. Understanding these parameters will go some way towards managing a client’s expectations, as well as avoiding misunderstandings later on.

This is where a professional contract is essential; it reinforces the boundaries, you both agree to the terms, and of course you both have a signed copy to refer to. This document will also include your complaints procedure, so that in the unlikely event something went wrong between you, you have demonstrated to your client that you have a procedure in place, you care about their wellbeing and you will work with them to make things right. If you don’t already have a complaints procedure, IAPC&M accredited practitioners are encouraged to download a generic one from the members area and adapt it accordingly.

Additionally, because these clients often need guidance, they need to understand that coaching is not a source of advice (another useful section in your contract could be your definitions of coaching versus other forms of support). Instead they will be gaining assistance; this enables them to rebuild their confidence, and to make an empowering plan so they can take control of their next moves.

Practically speaking, if the client is looking for services such as writing a CV, or how to prepare for an interview, then coaching is ideal for helping them to make decisions and plan for those scenarios. A coach can also enable clients to find other specialist professional advisors because they’ll have developed links with other consultancy- based professionals. This network is obviously a useful benefit for clients seeking career-based referrals, especially when a client’s redundancy settlement includes outplacement support such as financial planning.

Additionally, coaching is proven to work well alongside other career consultancy services. So, a coach can determine the scope of the outplacement, as well as ensure they get the most out of their package, not least, coaching will them to achieve whatever else they want to achieve.

Emotionally speaking, the client will find a coach’s support during the stresses and strains of negotiating a redundancy, particularly valuable. A coach will probably find they are instrumental in helping to rebuild a client’s self-esteem at a time when many people in similar situations say they experience feelings of anger, rejection and being unappreciated and undervalued. Taking time to explore the client’s beliefs from a fresh perspective reminds them that they are in fact in charge of their emotions and how they choose to think about their choices, it may also help them let the negative energy go more easily.

“I feel like I have a renewed focus, energy and hope” said one client after their first coaching session with Nikki, and that is exactly what she aims to achieve with all her clients experiencing redundancy. She does this by helping her clients set clear goals that enable them to make informed decisions, while choosing the appropriate course of action. It’s these key benefits of coaching that give clients back their sense of control in an uncertain situation. Consequently, when it comes to the uncertainly of every day working life, and the increased risk of redundancy, career coaches are increasingly providing an essential and practical service.

To find out more about how clients have benefited from Nikki’s career coaching support see here or to find out more about the how she supports the IAPC&M practitioners develop their business skills through the complimentary Business of Coaching e-programme see here