In a recent session, one of the first I’ve had since returning from the holidays, a coaching client confided she’d applied and been successful for a promotion. Delighted with the role, there was a single sticking point – a ’niggle’ as she called it. And as we found with many niggles, they often represent far more emotionally than the ‘little thing’ they ostensibly are about. She’d negotiated a small pay increase, but they refused to give her to what she actually asked for – opting instead to top her out at £150 less per year than what she’d wanted. She’d known, based on conversations she’d had, that other people doing that role had routinely entered at the rate for which she was asking. So this felt unjust for a woman who after our sessions I know prioritises consistency and justice for others above all else. This created self-doubt, not just in herself but in the source of these decisions. What’s more; as an Asian woman, issues of race understandably played on her mind.
While she was excited about the new role, unsolicitedly she’d often refer to how she’d handle her eventual exit interview. This is a coaching conversational turn I’m not sure the session would have taken had she actually been given that extra £150. For two years, the non-profit for which she worked lamented their low retention rates and scratching their heads over their numbers. In that time, she routinely did many unpaid pieces of work on their anti-racism agenda and mentoring other staff members. When she eventually leaves, taking that knowledge and goodwill amongst her colleagues with her, I predict it will be on a date sooner than the organisation would have wanted. I guess at least they’ll have the cold comfort of telling themselves: ‘At least we saved £150′