About Alasdair

Name: Alasdair Lane

CIPD membership: Affiliate

Current job title: Performance Coach and Wellbeing Consultant

Current employer: Lead Out Coaching

Location: Oxford

Employment status: Self-employed for 12 years

Previous role: Aircraft Technician and Unit Physical Training Instructor (PT)

Why did you decide to move into your current role/field?

I left the forces because my career in the Army Physical Training Corps (APTC) was stalled due to my Officer Commanding (OC) at the time not understanding why I wanted to switch to a trade with less pay and slower promotion. I decided I wanted to have more autonomy over my life and develop my own business.

What transferable skills did you identify would be useful in your new role?

The Army trains you so well but most of the time you don’t appreciate what you get from the service. What I found was that my loyalty, respect and commitment to achieving the task/objective put me head and shoulders above the majority of the civilians I went up against. Having the ability to identify different solutions in order to get something done was probably the biggest differentiator and still is. One of my clients also pointed out that, unlike a lot of other coaches, my military style of using a ‘Size 9’ occasionally to get someone motivated was also extremely useful!

What did you focus on to sell yourself during the application process rather than experience?

I focused on the core values I developed through serving in the military: hard work, discipline and high levels of capability. As these are common in most peoples’ perception of those who served in the Forces - it is quite an 'easy sell'.

What went well during the transition?

I was extremely well prepared. I had researched the market I wanted to get into and what skills/qualifications I would need to be successful. Before I left the Army I had all these things in place and then acted on them.

How has the CIPD and continuing professional development (CPD) supported you during and after your career transition?

CPD has helped me to stay ahead of the competition and it developed my own confidence. I have continued to do so and am now conducting research for a PhD studying the Mental Stress-Recovery Response. The CIPD provides me with a significant amount of resources that I would not be able to get anywhere else.

If you had your time again, would you do anything differently? If yes, what would you do differently?

I wish I had realised my own value sooner. I always thought others were better than me because they had degrees or the experience in a certain field and I was just a squaddie. The military actually develops you to be a significantly well-trained individual with the ability to achieve. I think I would have won more contracts and gained more clients.

What are your top 5 tips for someone who is currently working in the Forces and wants to move into an HR or L&D role?

  1. Make sure that you are as well qualified as you can be before you leave.
  2. Develop your network before you leave. This is where new business will come from.
  3. Become an associate with as many larger businesses as possible before you leave. This will provide you with a stable (ish) income until your business is self-sustaining.
  4. Understand the market you are entering and how you want to develop.
  5. Be extremely clear with what your offering is.

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