Jonathan started strategic coaching to determine whether he wanted to stay in his job. For three years he had worked long hours and recently had been promoted to Vice President. In the past year, multiple coworkers had been laid off due to market contraction and ongoing cost-cutting and he and his small team were expected to absorb the work without complaint. Jonathan was rattled by these developments and had recently been told by his manager that he needed to pay more attention to his communication skills with stakeholders.
Jonathan was exhausted, angry, and ambivalent. His goal in joining the financial industry was to make enough money to buy land and start a vineyard. He had not yet made enough money to do that. At the same time he admitted he had enjoyed overcoming the challenges in his firm, hard as they sometimes were.
The initial focus of coaching was not on answering the question should he leave his job, but rather how he was spending his time. Jonathan was up at 4:30 every morning to work out at the gym, commuting 1 ½ hours by train each way, watching DVDs on the train about vineyards and grape cultivation, then getting home and caretaking his horse. Like many driven achievers, he packed as much productivity into his day as possible.
Fortunately, he was becoming aware that driving himself at that intensity day after day was unsustainable.
By answering a series of questions, he was able to create his own action plan: to speak with his work mentor and to punctuate his commuting with time to daydream and rest. The following week, he added zombie movies to the mix to relax before bed. He attended several meetings with his work mentor and learned informal “rules” about how others had survived in his current work environment. He also incorporated his manager’s feedback and found that as he communicated more extensively with stakeholders, he had fewer problems to solve.
After 2 sessions over a two month period he realized that he might have the resources to navigate his situation. He felt more capable and sure of himself, and less convinced that he had to leave his job. He was aware that despite his discomfort he was doing well in his job and that over time his bonuses could have the effect of creating “golden handcuffs.” His coaching ended with the agreement that he would remain open for more information to determine, at a later date, whether he would ultimately stay in or leave his job.