From Corporate Refugee to Renewed Leader. Make the Most of your Transition.

thinking woman waterTwo years ago I met Diane at a conference.  We quickly developed a mutual respect for each other and a friendship that led to a productive coaching relationship.

Entrepreneurial, bursting with business ideas, extremely smart, logical and analytical, Diane came to our coaching sessions with new, promising ideas about how she would establish her new business.  At each coaching session, she had a new idea and abandoned the previous one.  Eventually, I saw a pattern: develop a new idea, see barriers, abandon the idea, start something else.  There is nothing wrong with trying new ideas, but I sensed Diane was getting frustrated.  She was stuck.  Something blocked her from taking her business to the next level.

We also worked on healing from her previous corporate role along with managing her emotions and thoughts about being a new entrepreneur.  Diane, like many others, is a corporate refugee.  While she knew it was time for her to leave her company, she resented being downsized.  She cherished her freedom to build her own business, but was anxious that it was taking longer than expected.  An introvert, she did not like to sell and market herself.  She received good referral work, but it was not the kind that she enjoyed.  Her confidence was slowly eroding and she started to doubt her financial security.

Things were also happening internally in Diane’s transition and transformation.  The first year of our executive coaching was about healing and providing support to rebuild her confidence.  After about a year, I felt it was time to challenge her and invited her to come to my place for a visioning retreat.  While enjoying the lovely Monterey Beach, we worked on her vision for her next chapter of her life.  In between walks by the ocean, chats and nourishing food, we also worked on her values.  An overachiever, Diane not only identified her values; she also correlated and weighted them to ensure her choices were numerically sound.  We let that conversation rest as we drove along Pebble Beach to enjoy the Pacific coast.

After reviewing her list, I noticed there was one item missing.  Financial security wasn’t listed despite the numerous conversations we had on the topic.  When I brought this up,  she immediately acknowledged that she would add this as one of her top values.  Financial security was her hidden and unacknowledged value and identifying it unlocked a part of her that blocked her from achieving her ideal life.  Diane felt really good about our retreat and committed to finding projects that expressed all her values.

Before long, things started to move really fast for Diane.  Although she was financially astute, she sought the advice of a financial planner.  He validated what she already knew.  She made good long-term investments but she would do even better if she found another executive role to fill her short-term financial needs.  Diane’s corporate refugee healing accelerated with this news — to the point that she contacted former business associates about her availability for full-time work.

Diane’s transition was getting close to a happy ending. I was not surprised when she told me that she was being considered as a top candidate for a company she left 10 years ago.  She accepted their offer and was so excited to go back to work again.

I have no doubt that Diane’s new chapter is full of promise.  Her healing as a corporate refugee and deeper awareness of herself guided her next steps. She is starting a new chapter in her life renewed with a deep sense of peace and happiness.

I am so glad Diane did not just jump to her next job and instead decided to work on her transition.  Transitions are periods of discovery and shifts which can make us uncomfortable.  Rather than look inward, it is easier to ignore how we feel and jump back to the familiar.  If you are in transition, I encourage you to look within and rediscover yourself.

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Why Hire a coach?

Top Reasons Coaches are Engaged:

(HBR Jan 2009)

    • Develop high potentials or facilitate transition: 48%
    • Act as a sounding board: 26%
    • Address derailing behavior: 12%
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