Leaving an Organisation ~ Leader as Coach: When to use a Coach Approach 2

transitionYou might think that once a person has handed in their notice and leaving, that’s it.  You can’t afford to waste your precious time on them, when you need to look forward to finding their replacement and getting them trained up.

But wait.

This person might be a great asset to you and your organisation, even once they’ve left.  Wouldn’t you want them to be an advocate, telling others what a great organisation it is to work for?  That brand is so important.  Employees influence customer decisions too.  So it pays to keep them on side when they are leaving.


Make leaving a great ending

But it’s also the right thing to do, helping them to make a great ending, so that they can psychologically make the break.  It’s a bit like mothers cutting the apron strings, letting their children go off to greater things, but they need help to let go of the old so that they can make the most of the new chapter.

So help them to think through things like:

  • What do you need to finish in order to feel done? – and help them to be realistic about this.  you cannot expect them to finish that project that was meant to take them another 3 months, so what is a good milestone ending?
  • What do you need to handover to others?
  • What are you losing as a result of this move?
  • What can be taken back to balance what has been taken away?
  • What is over?
  • What is not over?
  • What can you pack away in a metaphorical suitcase to place on top of the wardrobe for future use, even though it may not be needed right now?  Now shut the suitcase lid and put it somewhere safe.
  • What can you not take with you; and don’t want to keep for another time?
  • What do you assume that you need to let go of?  Is that assumption correct?
  • What will you take with you from your past, on your journey to the future?
  • What do you gain by travelling to this new future?
  • What’s the value of this new future to you?
  • What do you need to celebrate this ending?
  • How would you like to mark the ending?
  • Who do you want to say thank you to?
  • Who do you want to say good-bye to?
  • With whom do you want to stay in touch after leaving

Creating good memories

It might sound like a lot, but you’ll feel good about the way you supported this person who has supported you; and they’ll feel good about their last few weeks and days.  They’ll carry good memories with them, without baggage.  That’ll stand them in good stead for their new chapter, and they’ll be grateful for that.

You might like to read some of the other blog posts in this series – here are a couple to start with;

Leader as Coach: When to use a Coach Approach ~ Coaching for Change in Role

Leader as Coach: When to use a Coach Approach ~ Coaching a New Joiner

2 thoughts on “Leaving an Organisation ~ Leader as Coach: When to use a Coach Approach

  • Dan Bielenberg

    Hi Clare. Thanks for this blog post. It’s very helpful for me as I am retiring from Accenture early next year and I am hoping to make a quality exit. I specifically plan to write a lot of thank you notes over the next three months. I’ve read a lot of bitter goodbye emails and I don’t plan to be one who leaves in such a way.


    • Clare Post author

      I can’t believe you are close to retirement Dan! I love your idea of writing personalised thank you notes, that people will treasure. There is a special gift that you give to those individuals. Blanket emails are just not the same – especially if they are bitter. I also still remember my good-bye party, which brought me such joy as I left Accenture, marking the ending of a chapter and the beginning of a new one. It’s a big transition and it needs careful consideration to pass through it in a way that honours the grieving process. If we don’t shed that skin, it’s really difficult to make a great new beginning.

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