Sessions with executive coach Dorothy Larios encouraged one manager to address the demotivators in her working life
The client M began as a clinician at the NHS "coal face" and progressed into management, where her ambition has been to contribute and lead teams. Today she works across two strategic health authorities. She decided to have coaching as she had been feeling somewhat out of her depth or "comfort area" in recent years. Her love for some parts of her job had become submerged in uncertainty about her career path.
During our first session we explored the areas of concern in M's present job. She queried her loss of confidence and recent anxieties.
There was no clear job or role description and line management was vague and bullying. Working in an environment where she saw other colleagues "going off with stress" exacerbated her feelings of isolation.
Acknowledging that she felt undervalued and unsupported allowed her to recall her years of working as part of a motivated team. Now, she sometimes felt she was pedalling simply to keep up with the terminology and management- speak.
We discussed the possibility that such feelings may be typical of practitioners who move away from their clinical field into the new world and jargon of management.
She realised three previously identified demotivators were present in her job: poor leadership with no clarity of vision/direction; work not valued and no personal ownership.
"I am surrounded by dispirited co-workers and lack of team integration. All of these exist at present in my current role. It has been useful to piece this all together and makes me realise how I feel is totally predictable," she admitted.
But what did she need to do to rediscover her three known motivators (leadership, being part of a team and personal ownership)?
In executive coaching, it is often appropriate to use investigative tools. I invited her to use the web-based tool ValuesOnline.
Reconnecting with our core values can be enlightening. Often our discontent is due to being unable to honour our values in our life/career. If our core values are not aligned with organisational values or those we are working with, we can feel unhappy and despondent.
M initially was unsure of the usefulness of this exercise but she eventually realised her core values were indeed being challenged in the workplace. These core values were:
Initiate She needed to be able to launch and pioneer new solutions to problems at hand;
Lead She wanted to guide and pilot others in the fulfilment of a common mission and vision;
Co-operate and collaborate To be valued for her innovative ideas while orchestrating and creating complex structures and events.
But a negative work environment did nothing for my client, who had once measured her success by inspiring and developing others.
Being praised by an associate lifted her spirits and reaffirmed that she was appreciated and respected.
Reframing her self-doubting thoughts, to build a reminder of the strong resilient leader within, allowed reconnection with the inner confidence that she was strong, resilient and powerful.
The client's outcome
"We probably only began a journey, but even these few sessions have helped enormously in repositioning myself in terms of personal values, self-belief and confidence that I have a lot to give in the right environment," says M.
"I now intend to thoroughly explore all opportunities to reinstate my three key motivators to focus on working in a way that is congruent with my value system. I have also questioned my career direction: do I want to continue up the ladder or am I happy to take a more sideways move?
"I do still aspire to greater things! However, I will only be interested in opportunities that also meet my needs for an effective work-life balance because I truly value my time with my family".