Jeanine Cogan
Executive coach

Jeanine Cogan

Heads Cogan Coaching and is on the faculty of the Center for Continuing and Professional Education at Georgetown University.


A time to reflect

Q: After two unsuccessful seasons, Washington Redskins Coach Jim Zorn was fired from his job this week. How hard is it for people to recover from being labeled a failure? Do you think Zorn will get another chance to coach in the NFL?

As a business coach I've worked with a number of clients who had been fired, and it is indeed a devastating loss. Being fired turns our world upside down. What we do career-wise is one of our major identities. Many people define themselves primarily through their work and thus are at great risk of falling into despair after such a blow.

Those who will fare the best are the ones who use this as an opportunity to re-evaluate their career goals and make changes as needed.

One client who had been fired took time to reflect, rather than simply rushing out to get another job. Coaching was part of that reflection.

The client realized that she kept taking positions in which she had no contact with other people. She determined that interacting and collaborating with others was her priority, and that traditional MBA positions like the ones she had held no longer suited her. This guided her job search.

She also identified that she wanted to be of service and to work with women. These insights led her to a position at an organization much like the Peace Corps, only for those holding MBAs. She went to Africa to help women develop sustainable businesses.

This client allowed the shock of being fired to lead her in a new direction that turned out to be more authentic and a better fit.

By Jeanine Cogan  |  January 7, 2010; 12:51 PM ET  | Category:  failure Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: A winning attitude | Next: What is failure?

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company