Resources and Insights

Returning to work confident after a period of being away

How my 1:1 coaching client, Lucy, returned to work after being away for a period of time. Arriving into a new role, in a pandemic, feeling low in confidence could have consumed Lucy, but she was pro-active and sought support.

Lucy approached me when she was returning to her organisation after a period away. A lot had gone on in her absence and she was feeling under confident about her return: a pandemic, structural changes to how teams were set up and to compound her worries, she was returning at a more senior level.

Being Lucy, she glossed over that affirmation of her competence and instead was consumed with feelings of being ‘not good enough’, ‘out of touch’ and crucially, how to manage a team of people who had previously known her in a different more junior role. A hefty dose of imposter feelings had crept in during that time outside the organisation.

Lucy started a programme of 1-1 coaching sessions in a place of fear about what might be, and self-doubt about what she was capable of. We worked together over the next 9 months through her real time challenges: how to give some tricky feedback without being drawn into the drama, how to influence the board when working remotely, how to let go and delegate, all of which got her results which in turn boosted her confidence and her self belief.

We used the Emotions & Behaviours at Work (EBW) diagnostic as insight into how Lucy likes to approach decision making, influencing and managing her people as well as her relationship with stress. She learnt to understand her natural style and when, and with which team members, she needs to adapt her communication in order to get the job done.

I’ve introduced models, and I’ve co-created some with Lucy, because she loves a tool to hang her thinking on. And she’s taken some of those back to her team as well.

This is what she says:

“Accessing coaching and working with Jen has been one of the best decisions I have made in my career to date. I now feel well equipped to deal with whatever challenge comes my way and having several useful tools at hand has increased my confidence significantly. I have learnt so much and look forward to new challenges where I can put my knowledge to the test.”

I have loved working with Lucy because she’s committed to becoming such an adaptable and versatile leader. She comes to sessions very open to trying new things and as a result she’s absolutely soared.

In the last year she has navigated pretty much every challenge in the management book, and when we look back at her original objectives it feels like reading about a completely different person. She’s a living, breathing example of the impact coaching can have at one of those pivotal career transition moments. Arriving into a new role, in a pandemic, feeling low in confidence could have consumed her, but she was pro-active, she sought support, and I fully expect to see her in the role of CEO sometime soon.

Read more about leadership coaching with me here.


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