Last night I said farewell to my last executive coaching client. No more collaborative problem solving, messaging revision and sharing of insights. I will no longer rejoice in the triumphs and growth of technology executives, nor peel that precious onion to help them see what they really need and that they are not just solving problems or working on projects, but working with people.
Gone are those mutually shared successes as I guide an ambitious director into a VP slot, or, miraculously, a CEO position. And no longer will I remediate the pain and disruption of clients recovering from prolonged job search through my, sometimes painful, but dependably successful, guidance. No more repositioning thinking on how to address the Board or reminders that when they are negotiating, they are negotiating with people with whom they will work and that winning it all is sometimes losing, in the end.
Over the past several decades of supporting the tech community I have learned much, made more than a few friends, and always, even when it was difficult, enjoyed being what one outstanding and long time CEO client called me, his women behind the curtain.
I am proud to leave my career as an executive coach knowing I made a profound difference in companies and, more importantly, in many people’s lives. That I taught clients life lessons and that they, in turn, will teach those lessons to others is my legacy. Clients have learned to write a job description that becomes a contract for success, how to interview candidates and how to fire folks who just don’t fit.
Many former clients will begin their days and sometimes their family meals with, “Please share what you are proud of today.” And every former client will begin projects and presentations by first defining their objectives and the desired outcomes. Through their careers, they will list accomplishments and not opinions on their resumes. And many will have learned to stop talking so much!