Case Study: Supporting design professionals facing redundancy to take their next step

Next Step Coaching Programme Case Study When a client had to let some people go, they asked me if I could design a short coaching programme to support them to move forward.

Background 2020 is proving to be more challenging than any I’ve known in my 26-year career. I’m feeling this. And I’m hearing this from my clients too. There are few agencies that haven’t been affected by COVID. In many cases, they have had their work flow turned off almost overnight. Difficult decisions have had to be made. In the face of revenues falling off a cliff edge and with their survival at stake, agencies are having to let people go.

Unsurprisingly this has been really difficult. Creative agencies are people businesses at heart. Many of the people leaving agencies will have been there for quite a while and there is a strong bond between them and the business. Some are early in their careers and just starting to gain the experience they need and prove themselves.

In every case, there is a difficult conversation to be had. There is news that no one wants to give or receive. Every loss is deeply felt and regretted by the leaders. They know that what is around the corner will be challenging for those leaving and for those left behind. And those leaving are left feeling disorientated and having to quickly and purposefully decide on their way forward.

Their response During a catch-up call, one of my clients shared their very real situation with me. They were having to let people go and they were concerned about them. They wanted to say thank you and give them a springboard into what was next for them.

They wanted to invest in their people. Even though they were soon to be no longer their people. But perhaps because in many ways they always would be. They asked me if I could help.

I’ve seen redundancy up close during the recession of 2008/2009. I saw a chance to do some really meaningful work and support a group of people in making their next step, whatever that might be. And to serve my client’s very positive intention to make a regrettable situation somewhat more manageable.

 The Next Step Coaching Programme The name signalled the focus of the work, to support each coachee to develop what they needed to take their next step. The coaching acting as the bridge to allow them to move from one place to the next.

And it was important that my client invited the coachee to consider the opportunity. I supplied an introductory email and document for them to tailor and send.

The programme is a short series of coaching sessions, topped and tailed by set up and completion calls.  Between the sessions, the coachee is invited to design an experiment, enabling them to make use of the time between the calls to further their thinking.

Results Here’s how the coachees found the programme. They have given me permission to share their feedback anonymously.

“During our talks I’ve been amazed at how much came out of them in terms of new directions of thinking.

“Basically, my entire thought process is now different and I have learned I have a great number of deep-rooted personality traits that can be used to my advantage.”

“I have become more focused, not only on the professional side of things, but also in my personal day to day life. I think that has taken some pressure off me when dealing with things.”

“With each session, there was always an ‘aha’ moment, where we landed on an insight that was very powerful for me.”

“ I really appreciated that any session was ultimately mine to lead, and that interjections were more about getting to the next layer behind something and where those findings could take me.”

“Our sessions have been most useful in helping me to restore some professional confidence. I’m definitely thinking about myself more clearly now and have started to break cycles of negative self-awareness, which is the one major thing I wanted to be able to achieve.”

“I’m joining the dots between who I am and what kind of work I want to do. The sessions gave me confidence in myself, where I was and where I want to go.” 

If you’re facing this situation over the coming months and would like to support your people to take their next steps, perhaps I can help. For an informal chat, get in touch here.

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