Make no mistake: leaving a military career is a daunting challenge for any veteran. Coaching can help you regroup as you take command of your future, and you will feel more positive about moving forward.

Based on years of coaching military veterans, I’ve come up with five tips below to help you step into coaching with more ease. You can also click on the video to hear more about why I love working with veterans.

Hear Alison's Story

Five Tips for Veterans on Working With a Coach

  1. You set the agenda in coaching, and your coach is a partner and sounding board in helping you get clear about what you want to accomplish in the coaching engagement.
  2. Coaches believe that you have many of the answers to your own questions. Your coach’s job is to help you tap into your sense of what will work for you – based on an inventory of your experiences and aspirations – and then turn that into information you can use to communicate more clearly with your network and make more mindful decisions going forward.
  3. Coaching builds your self-awareness so you can leverage your assets and work with your liabilities in a more productive and grounded way. It also creates momentum by putting the focus on future-oriented plans, goals and actions. Keeping on track with scheduled coaching conversations and taking notes to capture what you are learning in real time are two key investments you can make to get the most out of coaching.
  4. Many veterans I coach say they want more control over their professional and personal lives. They want to get the right work/life integration with their first civilian job, but the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. This creates pressure to take the first “good enough” job they are offered.
    Coaching offers you an opportunity to answer the key questions before you take a job. It is an open-ended and non-judgmental conversation where you can get clear about what you want in a job and how to get there. All that’s required is a willingness to be honest with yourself and listen to what you say.
  5. When you leave the military, you are leaving behind a distinct culture with its own values, traditions, lifestyle and language. It is no wonder that staying in the service feels comfortable, and getting out often does not.

Coaching offers a safe and confidential space to air your concerns about operating in the “real world” and tailored strategies that will help you feel more comfortable putting yourself out there in new situations, such as networking, interviewing or other ways of reaching out.