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5 Key Elements of a Career Experiment

When I first became a certified coach, I wasn’t sure which type of coaching was best suited to my strengths. I was told by experts that I needed to know that to ‘market' myself. Well, I didn’t know. At least, not yet (one of my favorite words). I did know this… I wanted to help people get to what they needed next, in order to thrive in their lives so, I experimented. I coached people with a variety of challenges, taking note of what I was learning, what I wanted to learn, who benefitted most from working with me, and, what and who filled me with unstoppable energy. That’s how I landed here, working primarily with people in career transition.

You can construct an experiment for any change you want to make, even the serious ones. Especially the serious ones!

Playful experiments can be used at different stages of the process in ways that suit your style.

5 Key elements of a good career/life change experiment: 1. It has a goal: what do you want to know? 2. There’s a plan of action 3. You are open to whatever you observe, suspending judgment and assumptions 4. You keep a record of your observations 5. You have a means of reflecting on your experience on your own and with someone you trust to think deeply about what you’ve learned and how it connects to your larger goals. The process of career transition is ripe with opportunities for experimentation Mine is just one example of bringing an experimental mindset to a career-related transition. Some examples (real clients' initials for confidentiality) A.C. wanted a new direction after raising her children. She had a passion for the mental health field, some personal experience helping family members with mental health issues, and many transferrable skills. And...concerns about how she would handle the intensity of it. Before investing in the necessary schooling, we designed several experiments, one was serving on a mental health crisis hotline. Today A.C. is employed in the mental health field after graduating with an MSW. J.V. is a young professional looking to break into a highly competitive industry as a social media marketer. He has been working at two freelance PT jobs in the industry and wants to step up into a better full-time role. We determined that he needs a stronger and more confident presence in order to ace interviews and succeed in the roles and industry he wants, so his first experiment was to attend a Toastmasters meeting. Next, he plans to make speeches and presentations to his group. B.T. ran their own business and was at a loss for what to do next after the business folded and their energy for entrepreneurship dissipated during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. They had just gotten some clarity about their interests when an intriguing job interview landed on their lap. Their first reaction was to say "not ready yet" but this turned out to be an opportunity to experiment with articulating their recently clarified transferrable skills and by paying attention to what aspects of the role, as described in real time, resonated (and didn’t). Outcome: This was not the direction they wanted to go, which helped further illuminate what is! Ask me about the lawyer who returned to her passion in a new way, the banker who figured out his 3rd phase of life career, or, the teacher who made an important time-sensitive decision, and more – all by experimenting!

Judy Garfinkel helps you clarify "what's next." Her expertise in building confidence and resilience supports personal development and the ability to navigate career and work transitions – especially now! She also crafts bespoke resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and bios that open doors for her clients and land jobs. Judy is the Immediate Past President of the International Coaching Federation - Connecticut Chapter, where she led 250+ member coaches. You can reach her at

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