I feel like women who are going through or considering a transition are my “peeps”. Often I remember thinking, what am I going to do when I grow up? And now I come into contact with so many women who are asking the same thing; and I absolutely love working with them, guiding through their critical ‘thought’ process.
What a gift it has been for me to work with women and help them to understand what it is they really want to do.
Take Julie* for instance. Julie was a mover and shaker who had been with one organization for a long time. For the last several years she felt stuck. Her peers were getting promoted ahead of her, she no longer felt “in the know”. Unsure of what was going on she went to her manager to talk about her role within the organization. Out of frustration she contacted me for a coaching session. After giving me a little background Julie then said, “She keeps telling me that I am hard to work with. I always ask those that report to me and my peers if this is so, but they always tell me all is fine. Why won’t she just tell me the truth?” I gently challenged Julie, “Are you sure that your direct reports and peers would feel comfortable telling you if you were difficult to work with?” Julie replied, “Of course they would. I tell them it is ok to be honest with me.”
As Julie and I ended that first session, I asked her to put herself in one of her peer’s shoes. If they were difficult to work with, would she be able to them that they were?
At our next meeting Julie said she did try to put herself into someone else’s shoes. She chose her manager and admitted that she didn’t feel comfortable being completely honest with her. She agreed that it might be difficult for others to say how they feel when she challenged them. We talked about different times she could come across as difficult and how she felt when challenged.
1. When in meetings when someone was challenging her suggestion, she often felt defensive and reacted before hearing their reasons or suggestions.
2. When she was criticized on her management style or work ethic she felt angry and misunderstood
3. At home, when things were out of her control, she immediately started to feel sorry for herself.
The more we talked, the more she came to understand that there were more times than she realized that she reacted badly. The physical reaction she had was overwhelming and got in the way of her seeing what was really going on. We came up with some suggestions on how she could shift her mindset from reacting, to learning and growing.
1. Start with taking a deep breath
2. Ask questions
3. Find 10% of their feedback that she could agree with and mention it
4. Take time to think about, what is her area of growth in this circumstance
After practicing a few scenarios, I sent Julie away with the promise to let me know how her new strategy was working. She called me a month later to let me know that she was delighted with the outcome. Her manager had noticed the changes in her responses and remarked on the shift and asked if she was interested in leading a new initiative for her organization.
As a coach there is nothing more gratifying than helping other women realize their potential and explore their possibilities. Transitions are difficult at best, frustration and depression compound the experience and can lead to a cycle of negative thinking affecting one’s health and relationships. As a woman who has been through her own ‘transitions’ I understand the complexities of feelings that ‘being stuck’ can generate. Having a coach as a partner to support and guide you, be your advocate and your compass, can make all the difference in course correcting your journey. Someone very wise once said “Too many of us live lives of suspended animation. Feeling the courage to bring one-Self fully to life is the ultimate imaginable goal and the greatest demonstration of faith”. If you would like to receive a free coaching session to see if coaching is a good option for you, please schedule by going to my calendar.
*client name has been changed for client privacy