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Fired! Coaching through it...

  October 8, 2020

Fired! Coaching through it...

The world has changed vastly in the past six months and our new normal includes many of our clients, friends and family being fired, laid-off or furloughed.

Coaching is even more crucial now as we partner with our clients and most important, humans on their journey of coping with the reality of losing their career. Our ability to listen intently, ask strong empathic questions and provide them space to discover where they go next is paramount.

Thinking to the Coach U Who-What-How Coaching Model, this model represents who the coachee is, what he or she wants or is facing, and how he or she intends to get the desired results. We can ask questions surrounding the clients “What” and “How” which tend to be less personal than getting to the “Who” of the client. With powerful questions aimed at “who” the client is, their inner being will open up their minds, hearts and vulnerabilities to moving forward.

Questions which resonated while coaching a client who was recently fired:

  • Name five things you’ll be doing in your ideal next role, and five things you wouldn’t do?
  • What about your current situation is giving you the most pain?
  • Who are you talking to about your feelings/doubts/plans to move forward?
  • How can I best partner with you on moving forward?

An additional tool to offer may be a values exercise to uncover what fulfills, motivates and inspires a client so they can get back in touch with what is most important to them in times of challenge/conflict. In a time of being without a career, the ability for the client to align strongly with their top values could bring them peace and a stronger voice to ask for what they need. There are various values assessments available to utilize with your client, if they are open to it.

In times of significant pain, we can also discover and realize our greatest gains in who we are and where we want to go. Getting fired is personal and the inner hurt or trauma which can occur is real. Our capability to help our clients uncover their hurt and unconscious feelings can provide them with the pathway to regaining their confidence, discovering their why and what pulls them forward. Through the sessions the client can work to find strength and use it to fuel them.

The work associated with coaching a fired client is hard, emotional and needs to honest with kindness and compassion. The work our client will undertake is sky high and their range of emotions may be vast from relief to anger. Our goal is to meet them where they are at, ask insightful questions and partner with them on the journey.

Remember the client will also be navigating resume updates, unemployment (if available), applying for roles (many of which they will hear from) and all the while navigating their everyday lives and responsibilities. The fact they have engaged with a coach is awesome! The responsibility we have to partner, engage and work with them is massive and not to be taken lightly.

Our efforts, grace and warm smile could be the added energy they need to keep going, move forward and come out on the other side of being fired with passion, purpose and heightened self-awareness.



Melissa A. Worrel-Johnson
Professional Coach, MBA, CPBC

Over her 18-year career, Melissa has focused her efforts in leadership, talent development, and business strategy. Her diverse background includes entrepreneurial business start-ups as well as significant leadership roles in large corporations.

Melissa believes we grow our businesses and profit through teamwork and people. People, purpose and passion will deliver profits. One of our biggest assets is how we lead our teams, develop our people and roll up our sleeves with people leadership.

Melissa lives in Iowa with her husband Alan; they enjoy paddle-boarding, biking, travel and family.



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