In 2018 I decided that as well as coaching people through challenges and career changes, I wanted to support military personnel from our UK Armed Forces through their resettlement in to civilian life and a future career.
This particular time for soldiers, sailors and airman can often be very daunting as the military environment, both home life and the job is unique and very different from anything experienced by civilians. As an ex-member of the RAF and having spent a few years as an RAF Reservist (combining a full-time civilian and part-time RAF career) I also have a wealth of experience and knowledge following a successful 25 year career in sales and business development in a variety of industries. My background enables me to have a credible understanding of both environments, which is why I took the decision to tailor my coaching for a military audience.
So that I could begin to understand what the needs were of this skilled group people I need to gain an insight in to the experiences of people leaving the Armed Forces. I conducted a survey which initially was sent to a few friends and contacts, but thanks to the power of social media I received over 40 replies from veterans who had served in the RAF, Army and Royal Marines.
I asked questions such as;
- Why did they join the military?
- Why did they leave?
- Age and rank on leaving?
- What emotions did they experience upon leaving?
- What did they believe to be their transferable skills and knowledge?
- What support did they get and how good was it?
- What were their expectations on leaving and gaining civilian employment?
- What did they think the perceptions of civilian employers are of service leavers?
- What did they perceive the differences to be between military and civilian employment?
- Did they feel fully prepared when leaving?
- What was easy and what was difficult about their resettlement/transition?
- What did they learn?
People were very honest and open in their replies and the results were staggering. I hadn’t expected the responses I received and unfortunately they did make for a pleasant read. What was apparent was that in todays modern world, people who were professional leaders, had undergone tough mental and physical training, had often been to war and experienced the type of jobs most of us could never dream of doing, these same people would be challenged with a loss of confidence, loss of identity, would often suffer from stress and anxiety over the changes they faced when they left the Armed Forces structure and support network. More importantly most agreed that the support they have access to when preparing to leave is very basic and not very good.
Quote: “You are trained to join the Military, you are not trained to leave it” – Ex-Army
Irrespective of age, length of services or rank leaving the Armed Forces is a challenging time for everyone.
It made me realise that I was doing the right thing by choosing to focus my professional coaching skills on a group of people for whom coaching could be very beneficial through a challenging time. As well as undertaking 1-2-1 coaching support with individuals, I have also put together a programme called ‘Time for Change’. This bespoke and independent programme works well for small groups of up to 8 personnel preparing for their resettlement. It combines my knowledge of civilian recruitment and employers, expectations and behaviours, understanding confidence, values and beliefs, transferable skills and knowledge, interpreting company language and myth busting the civilian workplace. It’s underpinned with professional, non-judgemental and confidential coaching. It begins with a 2 hour individual 1-to-1 coaching and getting to know you session. This is followed by a 2 day workshop style programme for all participants. To evaluate we meet again on a 1-to-1 basis for 2 hours of debrief and planning session. Further coaching support is then available for those who wish to undertake more sessions.
I truly believe in the benefits coaching can have on anyone, but particularly those faced with huge changes to their careers and lives, such as military personnel and their spouses. I am passionate about helping everyone to understand what they must and can do and how they can make positive changes enabling them to achieve their aspirations and goals.
Don’t just dream it, do it.
If you are leaving the Armed Forces or have left in the past 10 years and would like to help my research, please email me to take part in my military survey. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on 1-2-1 military resettlement coaching or my military ‘Time for Change’ programme for groups of up to 8 service personnel, please get in touch email@example.com