An important factor in achieving success in organisations is the extent to which employees work together with passion and commitment to achieve company goals. At the same time companies in a rapidly shifting environment need employees who are flexible in the sort of tasks they can be asked to perform, so that quick responses to external changes are possible. This can appear paradoxical. Often people spend years in a career without asking themselves which choices would make best use of their talents. Many simply do not know – or have forgotten – what it is that fulfills their deeper need for meaning and purpose in their working life.

Yet if the focus shifts to exploring the unique talents and gifts that staff harbour within themselves, it is often possible to through dedicated coaching to find assignments which give people energy and a sense of fulfilment, while at the same time contributing more fully to the shared purpose. In a proces of in-depth multilevel and systemic coaching it is possible to discover what someone‘s real talents are and how they can better serve the organisation.
A director of a large public organisation had had a fastlane career through various departments and now found herself in a leading role as one of a team of directors. Yet she felt awkward because the satisfaction she had hoped to derive from thenew position did not materialize. This caused her to experience energy loss and lack of motivation. The board appreciated her contribution but realised that unless something changed drastically, she might decide to leave the organisation. It was decided to offer her the possibility of exploring in coaching what would give her a renewed sense of purpose, meaning and fulfilment. It was decided to leave open the possibility that she might indeed decide to do something completely different elsewhere. In the event, she discovered through coaching that a role as project development director, with the variety and shorter term challenges suited her better than being a director of an executive department. It gave her the chance to fully contribute her remarkable talent for combining personal and organisational growth such that both parties benefited.

An experienced consulting engineer in commercial engineering company had worked for twenty years as a knowledgeable expert in environmental issues, whose contribution was greatly experienced. Recently company policy had shifted towards giving consultants the added responsibilty to generate new business. This commercial aspect of the work did not suit his talents and gave him the continual feeling that he was lagging colleagues who were better suited for this, while he could not deliver the professional technical quality he took for granted. As in the previous case, his company did not want to lose him in view of his added value in his own area of expertise. In an in-depth coaching process of self-evaluation on his part and an honest analysis of the true needs of the organisation in his field, we found a solution which suited the interests and wishes of both parties. It was decided to tailor a specific position for him with less commercial content, in which he could focus on his own special talents and put them to good valued use of the sales organsiation.

It is not always possible to find a way out of this dilemma. Sometimes the interests of the employee and the organisation can no longer be combined. In that case saying goodbye may be the best for both parties. Even then the coaching work of exploring which role allows the person to make best use of his innate qualities and gifts is of great help in finding a better suited position elsewhere. Nevertheless it is often the case that our role as a unpartisan third party opens up pathways which would otherwise have remained unnoticed.

Senior Consultant

Michel Wysmans