“I’m not doing what I love!”
Jennifer has worked at her current job for 7+ years but feels it is completely out of sync with the rest of her life. While she studied and worked hard to get where she is, she realizes that in the interest of a safe and secure career, she sacrificed a lot of her true passions along the way. She has been feeling increasingly resentful at work because of this.
In our coaching conversations, Jennifer begins to understand her personal value system and how she has been putting ‘financial security’ at the top of the totem pole for most of her adult life, despite having many other values that are just as important to her. Once Jennifer begins to recognize and name her other values, she begins to feel more confident and in the driver’s seat of her own life. She sees options now where once it had felt very black/white – quit or keep working.
In the end, Jennifer decides to stay with the firm, but negotiates a leave of absence to pursue some of her other interests. Because she is conscious of her value around financial security, she is proactive in developing a more frugal budget to allow her to feel protected while still giving herself a sense of freedom.
“I can’t seem to get over what happened in the past.”
John has been with his organization for over 15 years, literally growing up through the ranks. In exchange for his service and commitment, the organization has continually rewarded him with educational training. Several years ago, John was indirectly involved in a situation that resulted in negative fall-out and unfortunately his credibility took a hit. Despite continued efforts to set the record straight, the negative association continued to work against him and he had been passed over for several promotions. Recently John transferred to a different area of the organization, hoping for a fresh start, however when I met John, it became apparent that he was letting his bitterness and resentment create new problems for him in his new division.
Coaching with John went straight to the ‘inner game’ where we could take a look at John’s negative storyline that was influencing his thoughts and actions in a destructive way. As long as John believed that ‘they were out to get him,’ or ‘this is so unfair,’ or ‘I’m never going to get past this,’ he would succumb to a lot of victim behaviour and wind up demonstrating this to his supervisors, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Together John and I expanded his perspective and began to take a much more comprehensive and realistic inventory of what he was bringing to the table. This was a very important step in reasserting John’s confidence and sense of value. From there, we worked with the tricky dynamic of pushing forward your opinions and ideas regardless of the response, fall-out or flak. John was able to discover a much deeper and enduring sense of confidence by focusing less on the pettiness of those around him, and more on the big picture that meant something to him.
John’s confident and assertive uniqueness began to come out in a much more obvious way which was echoed by the feedback from his peers and superiors.
At last count, John’s company had just awarded him a very prestigious training program in another area of the organization. John was feeling much better about himself and confident that his contribution was being valued.
“I don’t know how to motivate my staff.”
Joshua, a mid-level manager in a large municipality, is struggling to engage and motivate employees in a heavily unionized environment. Unable to offer financial or promotional incentives, we spend time in our coaching conversations exploring other options. It becomes clear that staff input is needed and through engagement conversations, Joshua learns that his staff would value more regular and consistent feedback from him as well as more directness when it comes to negative or critical feedback (Joshua has a difficult time hard-lining and handling conflict. “It isn’t my style,” he reports).
Through coaching, Joshua is given a homework assignment to conduct daily ‘walk abouts’ through the department to demonstrate both interest and availability to his staff, as well as giving him the opportunity to offer more regular real-time feedback. In addition, having his finger more on the pulse gives him greater confidence to navigate around potential obstacles. Joshua has also integrated new tools for delivering bad news and giving critical feedback, and his staff appreciate his clear, concise and positive focused approach.
“I love my organization, but I’m stressed and close to burn-out.”
Shauna has lost a lot of steam lately and ranks her overall workplace satisfaction 5/10, which is depressing to her because she really believes in what her company is trying to do. As the operations manager in a medium sized organization, her dissatisfaction is based on 3 different factors – people engagement, balance and focus.
Shauna feels like she’s spending 80% of her time and resources on 20% of her people. She’s worried that the less needy employees are being left too much to their own devices and she doesn’t know how to shift things. In addition, Shauna is frustrated with balance in her position. She knows she should be out in the field more frequently to show her face, and stay more closely connected with what’s going on, but with the amount of administrative work on her desk, she risks a backlog of missed deadlines. Lastly, Shauna has lost focus. Because she feels pulled in so many different directions, it’s become exceedingly difficult to prioritize.
The first thing we address in our coaching sessions is time-management and prioritization, instigating a regular daily planning session. Despite her initial hesitation to invest time she doesn’t feel she has, her schedule begins to feel more manageable almost immediately. Shauna learns that for every hour of planning, she actually saves 8 hours of labour. Shauna’s confidence and clarity return bringing with them a much more organized approach to her calendar. She schedules a once a week field visit into her calendar and begins ‘spot coaching’ conversations with all of her staff. After just a few short weeks, Shauna ranks her workplace satisfaction 7.5/10 and growing.
“Things are changing too fast and I don’t like the direction they’re going.”
Sarah is the marketing manager of a fast-growing private company. Being one of the original team has brought both benefits and challenges. She has done well financially, but as the company has expanded, the original collaborative atmosphere has been replaced by more of a formal hierarchy with lots of new policies and procedures. What’s emerged through the transition, is a CEO who has begun adopting more of a dictatorial style, becoming progressively more unavailable to Sarah and her team. Sarah finds she is working hard playing catch-up while trying to orient her team to a vision and direction that she can’t see clearly herself. Despite the amount of hours and effort she is putting in, she is rapidly becoming frustrated and stressed out.
During our initial coaching conversations, Sarah takes the opportunity to slow down and really consider the evolution and transitions that the organization has gone through. This perspective gives her much needed context and understanding, which begins translating to brainstorming almost immediately. From there, we lay out several different strategies that Sarah feels confident with, and over the next several months, Sarah is able to influence the direction of the company in a more collaborative way.
“My life is out of balance!”
Carolyn, a successful small business owner, wants to take her business to the next level. She believes that with a little more effort and a weekly kick-in-the-backside from her coach, she will get there.
What Carolyn can’t see is that she doesn’t have any more energy to give. She is already operating at full throttle, and, without realizing it, she is depending solely on her business for fulfillment.
By expanding her coaching focus to include all the areas of her life (health, fun, relationship, personal growth and family) Carolyn uncovers essential values and interests that she hasn’t been paying attention to. As she learns to derive fulfillment from other areas, Carolyn is able to relax and enjoy the ride a bit more.
“Help! My team doesn’t respect me!”
Robert, a VP in a medium–sized financial company, rises quickly through the ranks because of his strong, dominating style. Now responsible for a large number of employees, he discovers that his leadership style impedes his ability to work with a team.
Through coaching, Robert learns to reveal the real person behind the facade he had previously relied upon. Now he promotes group success by tapping into the strengths and energies of others. He improves his communication delivery and connects better with his employees, creating a harmonious, yet motivated, team that turns the department around in six months.