Our FlexCoaches are passionate about supporting you to be the best you can be, offering a range of training and coaching services in areas such as career transition, return to work, interview skills and positive psychology – to name just a few.
We chat to one of our newest FlexCoaches Cecile Fery about her career background and what she loves most about coaching women embarking on the next phase of their careers.
Tell us about your career history?
After completing my MBA in both France and Australia, I worked my way up in corporate marketing roles across various industries such as beauty, luxury goods, automotive and FMCG. I later branched out into consumer insights and business strategy. In my mid 30s I reached a career plateau where I was looking for a new direction. With a very demanding corporate job, stretched across two roles and involving lots of travel, I ended up stressed and exhausted. This was the catalyst I needed to become a certified career coach and to transition into a more flexible working life.
What was your motivation to become a coach?
When I was struggling with the demands of rigid corporate life I found there was hardly any careers help or support available. And I realised I was far from the only one who could do with some coaching in this area. Once I finally found someone to work through this phase of my career, and made a successful transition myself, I wanted to help other women get there too. My purpose now is to guide women through career challenges drawing on my own personal experience to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible.
What are your areas of coaching expertise?
I specialise in career direction, work-life balance and developing a strong, confident mindset. Those three areas are critical for women whether they are ready to tackle the next step in their career, or are returning to work after a break.
What do you love most about coaching?
Seeing the transformation coaching generates in people’s lives. I love watching the change that takes place from the moment I start working with someone new, who is usually in a pretty tough or confusing situation, to when they ignite with renewed excitement about their career. This is once they have career clarity and feel more confident in themselves. I also find the power of a coach is incredible at unlocking new possibilities, or shining a light on an aspect of our characters we cannot see ourselves.
What’s the number one career challenge you’re asked to solve?
‘Help me work out my next step’ is the main question I hear. A lot of women get to that stage where they re-assess their priorities, what they want in their lives and the value they want to bring to a job. They are also afraid of making the wrong decision, confused or overwhelmed by the options and the parameters at play, so that’s where external guidance is a must.
How do you define career success?
I believe it changes over time, so the best way to achieve career success is to regularly ask yourself the question, “How content am I with my working life at the moment?” And then make changes when your aspirations evolve. It is a very personal definition and not mandatorily linked to external factors like money and job titles. My view is also that career cannot be dissociated with the rest of our lives, so career success only makes sense in the context of it working with all the other areas of our lives.
What’s your vision for the future of work?
I see us working in a fragmented, on-demand, specialised way not bound by location or job titles. The value we deliver will become our main currency in securing work, and we will approach our work more holistically. Opportunities to make a difference will abound. At the same time the gender roles will be redefined across work and home, with a focus on wellbeing.
In your experience, what main challenges do women face when returning to work after a career break?
The weight of their own expectations of themselves is the main challenge, as these can make the first few months feel like an uphill battle. Women also tend to experience a confidence gap following a career break which limits their impact and presence in the workplace. Beyond their own mindset, it can also be challenging for women to fit in when the working culture clashes with flexible hours or does not support a healthy work-life balance.
Thanks so much for your time Cecile.
About Cecile Fery
Cecile Fery believes women don’t have to choose between professional and personal happiness.
She helps women at mid-career who are ready for a shift in their work life. They want to spend their time in a more fulfilling role, and in a way that works with the rest of their lifestyle. Cecile is passionate about helping them being the best version of themselves by leveraging their mindset, personal confidence and their strengths.