Coaching retirees is about coaching people in transition, perhaps one of the last important transitions in a person’s life. It is important that it be done successfully.
In the coming years, the demographic bulge of baby boomers will be retiring en mass: changing tires …re-tiring as it were! This is an excellent opportunity for coaches.
The main issues for a person considering retirement are:
The financial issue is a key one of course. It is not satisfying lacking resources at this point in life. Planning is key.
Ending or continuing as a professional or career person; if I continue, on what basis?
Time management issues. You are not driven by anyone else’s agenda anymore; you set the agenda from now on. Some people are not comfortable with this new responsibility.
What will I do during my retirement years, what’s the vision, what’s the plan? It is a good idea to begin planning this new phase while still in the professional phase, the same way financial planning should begin before retirement.
Becoming mindful of a new ‘identity’. The more one’s identity is tied up in his or her work and career, the more challenging the transitional phase will be. The rituals and routines surrounding one’s professional life will begin changing. Habits, schedules, contacts will come to an end, sometimes abruptly. This psychological transition takes energy and it is worth doing it thoroughly. Take the time to experience and to integrate the three facets of a transitional period:
1. An ending, what some people call the mourning phase or the letting go phase.
2. The closing the gap phase, the crossing of the Rubicon phase: a feeling of disorganization but also a time for the creation of new habits, beliefs, and ideas.
3. The beginning of a new phase, (construction, invention).
Retirement represents the last major transition in a person’s life. It is a time for clients to realize personal passions, dreams, bucket lists. What they decide to do will reflect their personality, just like it did during their professional years. Outdoor people will probably take up outdoor activities, travel, exploration, living in the country. Those who love sports will get to play golf four times a week if they wish or take up a new sport. The sky is the limit really. Retirees start businesses, take up painting, go back to university, start gardening, meditation or cooking classes. They spend more time with their children, grandchildren and friends. They make new friends. Some spend more time giving back: working with other less fortunate seniors, children, or perhaps overseas in developing countries. There are many possibilities. Some people use their expertise to help others by joining a board of directors, acting as a consultant with young startup companies, teaching in less developed neighborhoods of the city.
As a transition coach, pre-retirees make interesting and challenging clients. A massive number of Boomers will retire in the next five years. This is definitely a growing field for coaches. Coaches can accompany their mature clients as they get in touch with their values and passions, helping them to open their minds to new possibilities. Helping them design their dream life!