Before You Fire Folks, Hire a Coach. Your people will then excel or exit–willingly!
Originally posted on 11/27/11
About a decade ago, I was fortunate to have my company pay for eight sessions with a certified professional life coach. At the time, I couldn’t figure out why they would pay for my sessions and let me do them on work time. Surely my personal life was my personal life…and they’d never paid any attention to my personal life before. But they were paying, and they were in charge, so I met with my coach.
After my coach assured me that everything we discussed was confidential, we embarked on a brief but powerful journey that helped me realize that my core values were not being met while I worked in my position. I found that I had lost myself in my job, that I wasn’t a great fit for their particular corporate culture, and that because I wasn’t really happy, I wasn’t doing my best work.
She helped me develop some new strategies for working with my staff, for approaching my superiors with ideas and problems, and for getting a better work-life balance.
That’s the end of the story, in one way. It’s the end of the story because less then two months after my coaching sessions ended, I decided to leave my high-pressure, low-reward job in the publishing industry and pursue a new career in teaching high school English.
I’ve often thought back to that time and thought, “Ha! They probably thought my coach would make me a workaholic and shame me into working harder for less. Well, I showed them!” I’d thought it quite ironic that as a result of the coach THEY paid for, they lost a good employee.
But then I realized that my employer had made a very smart investment. By helping me realize that the job wasn’t my perfect fit, I had left on my own. No fuss, no muss. No waiting for me to burn out completely. No need to watch for a big mistake and put me on a performance improvement plan. Things worked out perfectly, even though I didn’t realize it at the time.
Are your employees the right people for your business? Do they fit your company culture? Are they in the right positions? The truth is that THEY know better than YOU do whether they are giving their all, whether they love or hate their jobs, whether they could be of more use to you in a different position, whether they are just a few months or days away from a breaking point. Of course, they won’t tell you any of this–they need their jobs!
But they’ll tell a coach. And the coach doesn’t need to break a confidence and tell you what your employees say. Your people will figure out what they want and how to get it. The ones who want to do well in your company will do BETTER. And the ones who don’t fit will either get with the program willingly, or will LEAVE. Yep, even in this rocky economy, people will leave if they know they’re not giving you their best.
A coach can help you develop your best workforce. No dirty work. No firings. Just employees self-selecting to either give it their all with you or to give you up…before you give up on them.
How do you think a coach can help you with your staff?