flickr.com: Carrie Jones
Tammy was depressed. Her organization had gone through a restructure that had her now reporting to a former peer, who was promoted to a newly created position. While Tammy’s title and salary hadn’t changed, the ‘moving down a level’ had severely impacted her self-confidence. She was embarrassed and hurt. All of this fell on top of recently losing a parent and the end of a long-term relationship. Work had been the ‘good thing’ in her life that kept her going. All that changed in a flash. Each day, Tammy sunk deeper and deeper within herself. She was too ashamed to speak to anyone about it, so was living ‘in her head’ with all that had occurred. Each day, Tammy would go to work and keep to herself, then go home at night and cry. She was deeply depressed. This went on for months. She simply didn’t know what to do. Going to work was painful in itself, and speaking with anyone about it was just too hard.
So, for months, Tammy continued this way. People at work started to avoid her, and she had already isolated herself from her personal life. Eventually, she found her way to see professional help. She remembered almost turning back upon reaching the coach’s office. This was just too hard and too embarrassing!
In her first meeting, she came to realize that while there was some element of performance in what had transpired, the toxic environment of an organization lorded over by a narcissist had been the root cause of the situation. She was also able to see that she was not the only person impacted in this way in the organization. Both of these realizations went a long way to help her begin the healing process. For the first time in months, she started to regain her self-confidence.
She and her coach met weekly for some time, continuing to explore the current situation, as well as other factors that had brought her to this point in life. While she had focused solely on the job situation, she came to see how her other losses had exacerbated the depression. Slowly, very slowly, Tammy was able to crawl out of her depression. Through self-discovery and the coach’s prompting, she was able to find a solution to her current situation. While she had loved the organization in which she worked, she now saw that the healthiest thing she could do was to seek new employment. With her renewed confidence, and a better awareness of what to avoid in an organization, Tammy secured a new position where she was able to thrive.
Coaching is a powerful tool. It’s not therapy. It’s more like spending time with a neutral party that will help you explore what you’re unable or unwilling to see on your own. The coach doesn’t ‘tell’ you anything. He/she, instead, asks you powerful questions that help you find the answer you seek within yourself. Even as a coach, I have a coach – someone I can talk through things with when I’m unsure where to turn. While we all have the answers we seek within ourselves, we can’t always bring ourselves to find the answers on our own.
If you’re stuck, or find yourself in a difficult situation at work, I urge you to seek out a professional to work with. This person will be neutral. They will listen to your story, ask you questions, challenge you, and ultimately help you find the answers you seek. Sometimes, like Tammy, it will mean leaving your job. In others, it might simply be a new way to look at things, or the clarification or repairing of a relationship. Whatever the situation, it’s better to seek professional help than muddle through unhappy.
Andrea's passion is to see you achieve your professional dreams. Whether you are a corporate leader seeking leadership development for your employees or an individual seeking guidance in building your career or preparing for retirement, she will coach you to success.