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  • Debra Cadman

Coach your way to new opportunities



With the current business focus very much on well-being, achievement and personal development, I regularly wonder who is looking after the HR leaders. We are all intent on making sure we create the right environment, support the many career paths within our organisations and fill our days (and evenings) with the welfare of our charges. But who is thinking about the senior HR people? In my experience, HR leaders, ironically, are nearly always overlooked.


This oversight applies to our career development and our relationships as much as our well-being, as they are all inter-dependent. We spend a lot of time at the outset of our careers learning and growing to make sure we become accomplished. The very time that we need to continue on this path is usually the time when work-life (and home-life) becomes so extraordinarily crowded that our self-analysis and the identification of our own needs reduces. This happens as we fire-fight and deal with the increasing demands that our time-served seniority awards us. More irony!

“…at the very time when people attain management roles and need to make the decisions that could improve the enterprise — as well as decisions that could advance their career — many become trapped in the status quo. Focusing on the tasks of managing the day-to-day, managers stay in their comfort zones rather than setting new directions.”

(Source: Harvard Business Review, September 2019).


Mid-career also usually coincides with increased family pressures and personal responsibility. One of the side-issues here, pointed out in the article “Are you at risk of a mid-career rut?” (Harvard Business Review) is that managers feel they have more to lose. With increased financial commitments, it is natural to play it safe and take fewer risks. Mid-career, we have much more at stake.


To balance this anomaly, Cadman HR is dedicated to helping HR leaders take time back through one-to-one coaching programmes. I work with lots of people who all share similar concerns and we spend time talking it through and working things out. I employ lots of techniques and routes to get to the core of the issues in a non-invasive, relaxed way – think of it as personal training for your career where you always, always feel amazing afterwards!


One recent coachee said of their first coaching session: “It has really stayed with me over the past few days, more so than any other coaching support that I have undertaken. I have been thoughtful about what other ‘thinking’ there is to do and what links all the decision making.” 


In addition, through The HR Agenda, our community of practice, we also organise small, intimate group days where like-minded HR professionals learn to think, take time to listen and coach each other through shared experience and wisdom.


Both of these approaches help us, as HR leaders, to breathe and close our eyes for a moment - to spend some time thinking strategically, independently and away from the immediacy of our work pressures. This kind of time allocation can only work when you are removed from your emails, meetings, things to do lists and phone calls. It’s intense but also gives you a level of freedom to sit back and take what you need from it.


"…consider getting help from an executive coach on a regular basis. An insightful coach can help you understand what’s holding you back, as well as define a better value proposition for what you bring to your organization. They can help you see the difference between reactive problem management and leading proactive change. Finally, a coach can help you explore options, assess risks, and understand ways to manage those risks."

(Source: Harvard Business Review, September 2019).


Commonly, the people I work with share much of the same concerns – low confidence and poor self-esteem being two. One of my lovely clients summed up her coaching experience with Debra Cadman by saying “It was all there, although I didn’t know it. I actually had all the raw ingredients, it just wasn’t put together properly. Debra helped me piece myself back together again and drew out my self-belief and strength so that I now know I am more than good enough and I love my job again.”


Being heard, making a difference and enjoying our careers is vital to our development and well-being. Our well-being, enthusiasm for the role and its outcomes all serve the organisations we work for so it is an essential part of your job to direct yourself and your career. It’s time to take some time to make it happen.

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