A Research Paper By Paola Gallucco, Transformational Coach, UNITED KINGDOM
Corporate Environment – An Experimental Project
This paper is based on my own project, so there will be little or no literature to refer to, and the project will need to be tested in reality – something that I aim to do in my corporate department pro-bono.
Background: Corporates and Individuals
Corporate logic is not renowned to enhance employees’ uniqueness. On the contrary – especially in the past decades – their culture was considered successful if it managed to have “pleaser” employees that would passively act according to the management’s guidelines – which were pointing to the company’s maximum profits.
The fairly recent financial scandals brought to everybody’s attention the bad practices deriving from this climate and attitude, and both media and regulators started posing strong attention to concepts that in the past did not exist – like Ethics and more often Values – that regulators around the world now require every company to demonstrate.
However, when values are imposed, they are very difficult to be digested and accepted by employees, and in the long run, no money can compensate an individual who cannot identify him/herself in such an environment.
The recent pandemic has proved that a better work-life balance can improve productivity and has further increased the attention on the importance of the employees’ mental health.
However, it is still common nowadays in companies that Team Leaders would recommend you look after your stress levels, and a few seconds later would ask you to stretch to meet certain deadlines.
A lot of attention is posed within companies to develop leadership coaching and to form and sustain a class project to the top of a corporate company.
On the contrary, little or no attention is posed to supporting the well-being of the non-leader ones – without whom any company could achieve little or nothing.
As an employee and a coach, I have been focusing my attention on myself and my peers, and my entire study starts from myself and my own struggles and how I managed to find my way in this environment thanks to coaching.
The difficulty in identifying myself with the company’s values – perceived as imposed – was the starting point of my research.
I looked at my journey and I aim to replicate the concept behind it with my experiment.
What I aim to demonstrate is that a company can win their employees’ loyalty and increase their profitability whilst investing in the employees’ research of their values and purpose – and this would lead happy employees to have more enthusiasm and energy whilst doing their job.
Of course, every individual has their own journey.
Ideally, the coach/coaching team would not be an internal direct function within the company but would be outsourced and work alongside HR. This is because it’s vital to grant safe space and the coach needs to be away from the company’s politics.
The first step would be rolling the “Project empowerment” (my coaching model) to those individuals in corporate that feel stuck in a work and a life they perceive as not resembling what they were wishing for.
There is no specific age group: in a corporate environment, I found the “being stuck feeling” to be very common in any adult age group; the only difference is that younger individuals would debit their unhappiness to the company and move to another – with the only result that they will be back to square one after a while.
One of the most common thoughts I heard and shared with my fellow colleagues is the perception that employees are nothing, and that the company is a Titan – that one is what I call “feeling powerless”.
The Coaching Journey and Its Effect:
Through the first3 steps of the journey (Step 1: Client acknowledges the feeling of being powerless; Step 2: Coach partnerships with the client to set the objective of the coaching journey; Step 3: The coach helps the client explore their strengths and core values) the client/employee starts working on his/herself. Great importance is covered by step 3 –the exploration of their own values – as here they can start rediscovering some common ground with the company’s values, and the individual can accept those he recognizes as his/her own too.
With the last two steps (Step 4: the coach helps the client become aware of the reasons behind his/her choices; Step 5: The Empowerment) the client/employee gets the change of perspective I spoke about in my power tool “from victim of circumstances to freedom of choice”. This offers the client/employee a clear understanding of who he/she is and what are his/her own values, and the “jigsaw” of their lives should be clear.
The rediscovered awareness that he/she had (and still has) freedom of choice, allows him to re-center and ultimately enables him to find his/her own “purpose” and make choices aligned to their new perspective and in line with their values.
If through the coaching journey the individual discovers that the corporates’ values are aligned with his/her own values, it will result in the awareness that the partnership with the company is valuable, and this will develop a stronger feeling of closeness and loyalty and the work environment will be more cooperative and energetic as a result.
In the long run, the same individual will be able to make choices that are more aligned with his/her own purpose too. In fact, the employee who is now empowered, centered, and has clarified what he/she wants, is now in the space to understand whether that specific type of job he/she is doing is still aligned with their purpose and their new perception of their true self. Should this not be the case, he/she would liaise with HR (supported by the coach)to find a new placement that would suit him/her better.
This would grant in the long run everyone’s happiness (win-win): the employee feels happy as he/she is now centered and has the job that gives satisfaction according to their discovered purposes; a happier employee is motivated to work more effectively and feels incredibly loyal to that company that has invested on them and allowed to pursue his/her own purpose and happiness.
The Corporate Value
As I anticipated, this research is an open architecture I am working on.
Is not set in stone and I am willing to work on it and develop it, so watch this space.
As an employee and as a coach, I dream of a world where profits and happiness can go side-by-side, and I strongly believe that coaching can be the way to reach it.