Theresa’s Executive Coaching Story.
“I have worked in a variety of jobs in my life. Among the multiple jobs I have had, I have always been told ‘Theresa, you have potential’ and ‘you are smart.’ I was happy with this comment up until recently, when I was passed up for a big promotion. The Vice President of my division said: ‘It’s not about your performance or your intelligence. I just think you would benefit from more time in your role and a masters degree.’ Although I respected him, I suspected that there was more to it that I didn’t know.”
Hitting a political road block
“To be honest, I was heartbroken. I wanted that job. I was also puzzled. If it wasn’t my performance or intelligence, then what was it? I wasn’t buying their reasons. I knew they were saying what they had to tell me. Or, what was crafted in the communication plan. Now, I understand. I was using some of the same strategies and techniques to stand out a work which were effective when relating to my big Italian family, but they were not helping me now. I was also caught in corporate politics.”
Increasing my influence and expanding my career
“Fast forward to 2009 and I am now in a Vice President role in a competing organization. I heard about Natalie as a coach through a referral. During the coaching, I had the opportunity to share my experience with her and to get feedback on it.
“The first lesson I learned was: learn your default behavioural patterns. My way of operating may have been useful when I was a kid, but it wasn’t helping at work. It wasn’t enough to be smart, I also had to be able to influence others and build commitment to my agenda. Showing people my brilliance wasn’t enough to do this even if it did buy me credibility at home.
“Next, she taught me to get out of denial about corporate politics. They exist, it’s real and you are playing them whether you like it or not, and whether you are conscious of it or not. At some point in everyone’s career, they come up against them. It happens to everyone. I am not a “victim.” They are not inherently ‘bad.’ They just are. I could learn to manage them or they could learn to manage me.
“The third lesson I learned was; it’s hard to do it alone. Having a coach to support me was beneficial. Natalie gave me the tools I needed to expand my self-awareness and to influence change. Now I am definitely more strategic about my career.”