When Joan* hired me as her coach, her goal was to set up for a successful conversation with a disrespectful colleague, Sam.
For too many years, Joan had put up with Sam’s snide remarks and condescending attitude whom he directed not only towards her but also to other peers, especially, female peers. When Brittany, one of Joan’s most competent and friendly colleagues, confided she would quit if Sam didn’t soon change his behaviour, Joan felt it was time someone put the man in his place. Since the boss wasn’t going to do it, she decided it was up to her.
Considering that Joan had no managerial authority over Sam, she knew it would be a challenging meeting. Joan and I explored her strengths, vulnerabilities as well as her motive for taking charge.
The Sting of Awareness
It was during our second meeting that one of my questions prompted her to probe deeply within. The silence was longer than usual. I held the space while she simmered. Eventually, I heard a quiet sob at the other end of the line. Joan’s searching for the answer had led her to a dark corner of her childhood. Although she had received therapeutic help to heal this wound from the past, Joan had tripped over a remnant.
Through the sadness and the tears, Joan admitted the new awareness was a difficult one to accept. Her fresh insight made her feel disappointed with herself and a tad angry too. “How is it that I didn’t realize this sooner?” she asked me. I had no idea but what I did know was that Joan was at a crossroads. She had a number of options which, essentially, rested on whether she would choose to act from a state of empowerment or one of disempowerment (see decisional map above). In other words, the new knowledge she found had the power to help her grow or make her suffer.
She chose both.
Initially, the disappointment, sadness, and anger – all guises of fear – were too overwhelming; she fell prey to them. She was in pain. In little time, through the guidance offered by her emotions and her commitment to personal growth and well-being, Joan decided to step back into her power. For that, she needed courage.
Again, she looked inside…and found it.
*Joan is the pseudonym of a real client who gave me permission to share her story hoping it might resonate and empower those who read it. Some details have been changed to preserve her anonymity.
Personal Development &
Weight Loss Coach