Coaching Kara: A High Potential Success Story

      Kara was a high potential employee who was a strong performer in the past. Suddenly, her performance was declining. The HR Business Partner felt that Kara was getting close to leaving the organization and that’s when she contacted us to seek options for supporting Kara.

      Kara was reluctant to engage in the coaching program as she didn’t want to meet with someone who was trying to convince her to stay.

      Our first session started out rocky.

      Kara blurted quickly, “If you are just here to convince me to stay at (X company), you are wasting your time and mine!”

      I agreed, “Yes I would be! And the last thing I want to do is waste your time or mine!” With this I got hesitation and a small smile.

      I added, “I want to assure you our coaching sessions are 100% confidential. You can be assured I will not be sharing information with anyone in your organization. These sessions are for you, about you!

      This is about exploring what is going on for you, what’s important to you and where you want to take your career, even if that means you decide to leave (X company). My role is not about convincing you to stay.” 

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      “Oh!”, Kara responded, seeming very surprised.

      I asked her what led to the recent change in her engagement at work. 

      This led to the story of how Kara believed she had been promised a promotion and then when the position became available, she did not get the role.  “I feel hurt and betrayed by my manager,” she revealed.

      “Have you discussed this betrayal with your manager?” I pushed.

      Silence for a few moments. Then a small, “No!”

      I shared this perspective, “So, I’m your manager. I’ve done something that has broken your trust in me, has hurt you, has left you feeling betrayed. And I have no idea that what has taken place has had this profound effect on you. Is that about right?”

      “How is your manager supposed to have any chance to support you through this if he has no idea you feel betrayed by his actions?” I asked.

      More silence.

      Through the coaching process Kara was able to accomplish two things that were imperative to shifting her perspective.

      First, she was able to have candid conversations with her manager around the situation that had caused so much hurt and frustration. They talked about what happened and she felt good about being able to express her disappointment.

      They then went on to discuss the skills she was lacking that would have made her a stronger candid for the management role. These conversations led to a stronger relationship and rebuilt the trust with her manager.

      Second, in the process of creating a development plan to gain the skills she was lacking for a management position she reconnected with the parts of her current role that she loved.

      She eventually concluded she could provide higher value to the organization as an individual contributor rather than a people manager.

      By the end of the coaching engagements Kara was actually thankful she had not received that promotion. She committed to working with her manager and HR business partner to explore a role that suited her perfectly and added huge value to the organization.

      Within 6 months, with the support of a coach, Kara went from leaving to stepping up her contribution to the organization to an even higher level than before.

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      "Have you ever faced similar challenges?"

      "Did you ever feel like quitting or feel underappreciated?"

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