About seven years ago I had a five-year plan to become an external executive coach.
Why five years? For one, five years seemed an awfully long way off. So there was a degree of security in a monthly salary. After all, living in Hong Kong isn’t cheap - school fees, property, etc. Not to mention the desire for the new and the shiny – ‘convivial pursuits’ in my expense tracker.
At the end of 2014, corporate HQ decided on a new strategy and close most of the bank’s operations outside the United Kingdom.
I didn’t really experience all the emotions that textbook change curves suggest. After all, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross1 had developed this to explain the grieving process. And let’s be frank – losing a job ought never, ever be compared to being terminally ill.
The bank was brilliant in supporting employees through the process by being fair with the redundancy package; clear in communicating and looking at non-financial ways of motivating employees.
Motivation in an upward business cycle is easy - the brain is wired to seek future rewards. How do you motivate employees when they are working themselves out of a job? Daniel Pink suggests, that once money (in this case, redundancy) is off the table, motivation is about mastery, autonomy and purpose.
And yet, losing your job can be a loss of identity – your status, your place in the corporate hierarchy and the fear of uncertainty. If losing that monthly paycheck means not putting food on the table, then it’s a serious matter.
But in my case, I had the conviction to activate my plan. So after almost three decades in corporate life, The Library& became real.1 Read her brilliant memoir The Wheel of Life (1997). Remain inspired through Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal (2014) and Paul Kalanthani’s When Breath Becomes Air (2016).
Executive coaches like tackling self-talk. It’s that internal dialogue, telling us (in most instances) why something isn’t possible.I have only worked for large companies since graduating. There is comfort in this...