Changes in the labour market over the last decades have led to an increase in the number of career and job changes individuals are likely to face in their working lives. Previous research indicates that a high level of confidence can help individuals to make positive career changes, yet an agreed definition of confidence is not widely accepted, and the literature provides a limited evidence base for practice. This research involved five female participants who were contemplating a career change. They took part in a coaching programme which consisted of four positive psychology interventions based on a proposal of core confidence as a higher order construct composed of self-efficacy, hope, optimism and resilience. Data were gathered through semistructured interviews and written reflections and an interpretative phenomenological analysis showed that participants perceived their career confidence before the programme as low, incorporating negative affect and self-doubt. After the programme, participants demonstrated increased career engagement, self-awareness and a positive and optimistic outlook. The analysis revealed that change was effected through the development of hope, change in cognitive processes and coaching as a catalyst. Implications for the definition of career confidence, and for positive psychology and career coaching practice are considered.
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