I assisted in a 3-day coach training weekend course in Toronto. The curriculum is through the coaches training institute which is where I am pursuing my certified coach certificate. It was the first course out of 5 so think of it as an introduction to coaching and the model we use.
I remember being in that seat back in June 2017. It was new, uncomfortable and gave me anxiety. You just didn’t know what they were going to ask you to do next. Share my feelings? Be vulnerable in front of strangers AND in front of executives in different companies? Tell people about my dreams? Come with a beginners mind? Ask questions I never ask people and step into the unknown? What is happening?
I learn something new every time I am present in these courses even though I have completed the program.
My favourite part is that you get to see the human being behind the mask.
People feel good and have a sense of purpose again. They start to ask themselves important questions we often avoid because we don’t want to go there.
Let me give you some insights into the person I was before I started taking my personal development seriously.
I was working at a big global company straight out of University who went through a massive acquisition in a short amount of time. I was part of a Canada HR team. People were let go. People were uncertain. Programs and policies were changing. The work was piling up. My team was expected to do more with less. People were burning out. People were angry. My role was supposed to be one way, and then they changed it, and there was no return. I felt demoted. I felt devalued. I felt disrespected. I felt like no one was listening to me and even if they were, no one really cared. I wanted to do bigger things, but I was also terrified of the team I was working with. Heaven forbid you changed something in the company; people would bite your head off in meetings and storm out. I kid you not.
I didn’t understand it. I knew I was bold. I knew I was strong. I knew I was resilient. I knew I was ambitious and I worked HARD.
I still remember the first day on the job. My director who hired me was leaving the company in one week. She said the company wasn’t for her anymore. She wanted to quicken the orientation process and wanted me set up on a laptop as soon as possible and followed me around in the IT department. I remember her saying to me, “Sonia’s a tough cookie.” I felt good that she acknowledged me for my strength, however, I thought how can that be useful at a place of work? Isn’t there other more important things?
Well, I started to figure it out as I was integrated into the culture. What I realized, later on, was that all of the signs are there. The red flags are easily uncovered if you are paying attention and trust yourself. There were a ton of red flags at the beginning that I chose to ignore because I wasn’t going to quit my first real job out of University! Nor did I want to lose my salary.
The moment when I decided to resign was on a team conference call. We had a few members on the call along with our director at the time. What struck me on this particular call was a client relationship I had built previously and created a learning toolkit for was somehow given away to a member on my team without my knowledge. I was very vocal with my director that I wanted to create more relationships within the organization and develop learning programs for each client we worked with. However, every time I worked with a new client, more administrative work came my way, and I had less and less time to focus on the value add stuff. My colleague was working with this client without my knowledge, and my director said on the call that our HR leader approved my colleague working on the project moving forward because they had a “relationship” with them. I was pretty pissed if you could imagine. I had been asking to do precisely that for 2.5 years. They gave my work to a co-op student who had the time to do this work and eventually promoted them.
They said, give us more time Sonia and things will get better. Things will change and so will your role.
Call me naive, call it what you will, but, in that moment on the call when I heard that my work was being given to someone else, I was done. I said I’m not giving someone my power away anymore. I’m not letting someone dictate my destiny because I am the creator of my success.
I stuck it out for almost (not entirely) 3 years, and then I resigned. I was burnt out by the end of it. Tired. Confused. Felt betrayed by my team. I lost trust. I felt overextended, and like a failure and to boot, now I was jobless, not making an income and dipping into the savings I worked SO HARD to accumulate. That was supposed to be for my home 😦
It’s not the companies fault. It’s not even the people involved fault. We were part of a system, and the work needed to get done, and we needed to please everyone; otherwise, your job was on the line. That creates a culture. One that is overly competitive and toxic to its core.
What needed to change was its leadership. What needed shifting was the culture. What needed to be done was changes to how we worked individually and as a team, and if no one is ready to step up and commit to that, it will be what it is.
Now, with everything that I learned over time, fast forward 5 years later, that same company hire’s me as a consultant, facilitator, and coach to support their teams and leaders.
I love the work that I can do for others. I get to create my programs and curriculum and show people what’s possible for themselves and their organizations. I talk about things that matter to them. I hold space for people to show up as they are. I share my personal stories when I sense the dis-empowered energy in the room. They are not chained to their circumstances. I create a connection and community belonging.
I give them the skills and tools to put themselves first and create healthy boundaries so that they respect themselves and that others respect them too.
We are not machines. We are human beings. We are whole people coming to a place of work to get the job done. We want so much more, and it’s time that we all wake up to what’s next in the world.
If you are curious about working with me and how I can empower you and your teams, schedule a consultation chat with me here.
I am on a mission to create the next wave of leaders to support the world where it needs to go beyond the conventional method.
If you want to get a taste of the workshops I run, join me on Saturday, May 4th for What’s Your Impact and experience what it’s like to learn all about you ❤ CLICK HERE for tickets!