COACHING CASE STUDY: Figuring Out What’s Next

Chris, a Ph.D. in neuroscience had finally reached his goal of academic tenure. After celebrating this milestone, he faced the question, What’s next? He saw a lot of different possibilities in front of him but was not sure where he wanted to focus his energy. And, due to leadership and teaching responsibilities, he did not have time to think about his long-term vision.

At first, Chris tried various time management strategies that he hoped would free up some of his time. But, after a few attempts, he realized these changes were not getting to the heart of what was going on for him. A friend recommended that he work with Alida.

I chose to work with Alida at the recommendation of a friend of mine who was a leader in her organization and felt frustrated She hit certain roadblocks and was having trouble conceptualizing how to move past them. Alida helped her map out the next steps in her career, which is what I needed too.

Alida’s worked with people of all different professions and roles – executives, scientists, teachers, you name it. So she’s got a lot of great information.

Alida and Chris first worked together to find time when Chris could dream and plan.

They worked to identify his unique leadership style and the styles of the people he worked with. Chris used these new understandings to create systems to track his team’s progress and identify issues as they arose. He improved his communication skills. Together these strategies helped him streamline the way he managed his team.

Recognizing how I prefer to communicate and identifying the ways different people communicate really enhanced my ability to lead.

Alida and Chris then addressed leadership challenges that were taking up his time and energy. Learning about challenging patterns that pop up in organizations allowed Chris to take some of the emotion out of the issues.

I now have the ability to see complex leadership challenges in an unbiased way and honestly evaluate them, outside of just my own interests. I am now able to focus on where the group needs to be and where the organization needs to be.

These changes gave Chris the time and mental energy to create a vision of what his work could look like.

This program’s a chance to ask yourself, what do you really want? Which of those things do you define as success? Figuring that out is super important to your development as a scientist and as a future leader. And then, once you identify those things, how do you work to lead groups towards those goals? Because not every goal is just about yourself. You’ll see you have goals that are far-reaching, whether it’s developing treatments for diseases or teaching or mentoring others.

Chris got more clarity about what he wants from his career and the impact he wants his work to have. That helped him see new possibilities for himself. This is at the heart of how Alida helps her clients. When work is related to a broader goal it becomes more meaningful and motivating.

As a result of working with Alida, I learned that I can launch myself to new successes – successes that I had never even considered. I have redefined my idea of success. I have set goals for myself that I did not even realize I wanted.

Chris acknowledged that many of his goals require working with teams and organizations. He continues to build his own leadership skills as he supports the growth of others. He even brought Alida in to run a mini-leadership course for the graduate students at his institution.

Are you looking to gain more clarity in your career?

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