She made the leap necessary to recognize that how others perceived her at
work would trump any of her good intentions. This was a pivotal shift.
Every once in a while life kicks our butt.
The Proverbial Wake-Up Call comes, and it’s usually when we least expect it. How we choose to handle the jolt is a direct reflection of the character we have developed up to that moment – or the character we’ve neglected to develop.
For one of my new coaching clients, the wake-up call came in the form of an ultimatum: she had one last chance to get her act together or the company she worked for would give her a severance package and show her the door. As the primary income earner for her household, this was a stark reality. And as someone with an oversensitive soul, I wasn’t sure she could face up to what it would take to get herself through this situation.
She was being given the choice to engage in long overdue self-development.
Two-and-a-half months later: she’s made a complete turnaround – probably the most remarkable I’ve ever seen. Not only has she kept her job and renewed relationships with colleagues, she wrote up a proposal for a totally new, more effective position for herself. The president of the company loves it.
And most inspiring is the life she is re-crafting for herself. Once she got a whiff of self-empowerment she immediately applied it to all areas of her life, including her relationships at home. She is re-visioning her life, and has never felt better about herself.
So how’d she do it?
• Start with “What Is”
We had the benefit of no-holds-barred feedback from her HR Director, which reflected the perceptions of her managers and colleagues. This gave us a glaringly clear view of what we were dealing with.
Her HR Director was honest, kind, and experienced enough to know the wisdom of giving a person another chance to see if they had it in them to step up to the plate.
• Establish a few ground rules
In this case, we agreed that there would be:
- No victim speak
- No getting teary-eyed at work. It was greatly hurting her credibility, as well as approachability
- No CYA emails and long explanations to justify behavior
There’s no question that she has a legitimate version of the unfolding events that led to this point, but focusing on trying to be right would not aid her development, or help her keep her job. Instead, she was able to agree to focus on her own contributing behaviors and what she could directly influence to make effective changes.
She made the leap necessary to recognize that how others perceived her at work would trump any of her good intentions. This was a pivotal shift.
• Use good self-assessments and 360s
It’s important to know when to administer an assessment tool. After working with her for a month she took the Hogan self-assessments. This gave us rich fuel for insight and application. A few weeks later, with solid footing and renewed confidence in herself, she was ready for a 360. People had already started responding to her more positively in the office as a result of the hard work she had done on making personal behavioral shifts, so the most recent interactions with her were front-of-mind for the people providing feedback. And this would give her a more accurate view of current state as we moved forward.
• Recognize that self-development is always life development
There’s no separating professional growth from personal growth. Her life at home is reflecting her enhanced sense of self worth as much, if not more, than what’s happening for her at work.
• Don’t be surprised by the surprises!
I have never worked with someone who was more ready for his or her own development than this client. She is an inspiration to us all – especially me.
Most of her colleagues had written her off. It’s often easier to think about replacing someone than to engage in the hard work of developmental support. In this case, having her leave would have been an egregious mistake. Through the insightful wisdom of her exceptional HR Director and some outside coaching support, she has restored her reputation and mended relationships. And she’s ready to focus on living a profound life.
She could have said ‘no’ to all of this. But she had the courage to say ‘yes.’
What would you have said?