Guest Blog

Introduced by Steve Hennessy – Chartered Financial Planner

It’s certainly been a challenging and, at times, life changing 18 months for all of us. Lockdowns. Furloughing. Working from home. Being a school teacher to our children. And sadly, for too many, the devastating impact of losing a loved one.

The pandemic will live long in our memories for lots of reasons. However, from the chaos and uncertainty has, for some at least, brought new opportunities and high optimism.

This is certainly the case for many of our friends here at Longhurst, including lawyer turned coach Adam Carvalho. Last year, with two young twins and a dog in hand, he decided to take the giant leap out of corporate employment into the world of business ownership.

We’ve asked Adam to share his journey with you, to hopefully inspire and motivate some of you to consider making some serious changes of your own.

We hope you enjoy what you read.

The Carvalho Consultancy

‘From law firm partner to coaching and counselling’

Adam Carvalho – The Carvalho Consultancy

Some background

I was a solicitor and then partner at Farrer & Co for a decade and a half – it was hugely enjoyable, and I was lucky to work in the fascinating area with talented colleagues.

I came to realise that what really interested me was helping clients move forward with issues in their lives, understanding complicated dynamics and assisting with problem solving. My wife, Annmarie, had established a successful business providing support – training, counselling and strategic input – to lawyers and law firms, and I decided to train as a coach and therapist/counsellor to join her.

Our aim is to provide support to professionals which is practical and tailored towards the realities of working in modern professional practice – which we are both passionate about.

What actually is coaching?

Before I turn to the process involved, a brief word on coaching. Whereas most people know what counselling/therapy involves, coaching is often misunderstood – the term “coach” can suggest the equivalent of a sheepskin jacket wearing football manager shouting instructions from the side-lines.

In fact, coaches seek to create a setting in which clients can think through important issues and move towards well planned and realistic decisions which feel right to them. Coaches can assist in a “transactional” way (such as helping work towards a promotion) or a “transformational” one (looking at deeper issues that may play out) and often the two can flow into each other.

Having now started coaching professionals it is amazing to see how valuable it can be to explore issues with someone who understands the pressures and dynamics of professional life from the inside.

Some reflections on the career change process

I made my career move during Covid-19 with two young twins (and a dog) and the usual financial pressures. I have been asked many times for my reflections on the process – so, here are my top ones:

  1. It’s a puzzle. Changing career will – for most people – involve tackling a number of interrelated issues including finances, identity, finding a “passion” and practicalities. Making a change will often need to be a non-linear, iterative process of incremental progress made on different fronts whereby the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place.
  2. It’s not “all about the money”. Finances can often prevent people even from passing “go”. You may have an idea of a direction in which you wish to move, but on inspection of the information about, say, bee keeping you see that the starting salary does not match that of an established City worker. That need not, however, be the end of the story. There is often a surprising amount of flexibility and options which emerge for moving in the right direction.
  3. Who am I? Changing careers inevitably means a shift of identity. Because of human nature, this can feel unsettling, and it can be tough sometimes to hold one’s nerve. The interesting thing about identity is that it is highly flexible and fluid. Nothing is lost, but new and complementary identities start to emerge which could not have been predicted at the start.
  4. Passion. There are many interesting books on finding your “passion”. Sometimes, however, this idea can lead to frustration if you assume that you simply need to find a passion and everything else falls into place. Many people have an idea as to the direction in which they wish to travel – either towards a particular career, a lifestyle or a set of values – but often they need to work in parallel on the other parts of the puzzle to work out what this will look like in real life.
  5. Practicalities. Common wisdom is that there is “never a right time to have children” and having had twins I would wholeheartedly endorse that saying. I suspect the same is true of changing career. There are always other pressing things to deal with, and there are costs and benefits to any potential course of action. Do you wait until later in life when you are more settled or make a move when you have more time and energy ahead of you to inject into the new venture? There is no “one size fits all” answer, only individual answers which fit in the circumstances.

Our careers are one of the main ways in which we invest our time and energy.

As with any investment we can periodically review where we are, and ask if we can use our time and energy to produce the returns, we truly value.

Whether that involves a big change or a small tweak, once the pieces of the puzzle start falling into place decisions can be made which lead in positive and exciting directions.

Adam Carvalho

Legal Notice

Longhurst Limited does not accept any legal or financial responsibility for the services The Carvalho Consultancy provides.

Life coaching is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.