Coaching Over-40 Clients, 3 of 3: Practice Building

By Barb Poole, CMRW, PHR, CCMC, CPRW, BS

In the prior two articles in this series, we examined ageism realities in the current workplace-both the challenges and opportunities presented to the over-40 and baby boomer job candidate. We then explored ten strategies to use in arming this population with career design and management success.

As a boomer career coach catering to a boomer niche, you should recognize the varying needs of this segment-they are not just one homogenous entity! For someone who has lost his job through a reduction-in-force or similar restructuring, this time may be a crisis and grieving period. For the client who is voluntarily changing careers because she feels unfulfilled or wants to pursue a dream long held on the back burner, this is a journey.

Did you know that more than 10,000 individuals retire in the U.S. every day? This large group of people has rewritten the rules as they have grown up. So much emphasis today is placed on financial planning; there is a large void for life planning and preparation. Surveys confirm that retirement presents troubling transitions. Having defined themselves largely by their work, many baby boomer men and women ask, “What do we do when it stops?” “How will we spend our time and lead fulfilling lives at this chapter in our life?” The truth is many folks simply plan their retirement with “Now what?” This presents wonderful opportunity for you as a career coach.

I am often contacted by prospective boomer clients who mention retirement careers-not retirement. I have noticed a significant increase in this type of client call over the past several years. This trend is supported by Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction and founder of Now What? Coaching. Ms. Berman states, “Over the past five years, my clients have almost exclusively become people who want to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives.”

Perhaps I attract-and am attracted to this type of client. As a boomer myself, I have cared for an aging parent with dementia, put two children through college, and traveled the 14-month journey of a spouse downsized from a job while at the top of his earning scale (to newfound career success, I can happily report). I usually “get it”. That said, regardless of age or perspective, it is absolutely feasible to successfully market your career coaching practice to the baby boomer. Here are some strategies I’ve used in building my practice that could be applied successfully by any coach, regardless of age or background:

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