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Coaches Diary: Take Control


In this week's casebook, Olivia Stefanino helps a salesman turn trainer and take control of his future.

Tom’s anger was palpable. He had demonstrated loyalty to his boss for more than five years – but yet again, Tom’s boss had reneged on his promises.

Tom knew that his boss – also the owner of the financial services company - relied on him. Not only was Tom responsible for bringing in sales income and running the office – but Tom was also expected to smooth ruffled feathers with clients, suppliers and staff on the many occasions when his boss proved less than tactful.

Understanding his key role within the company, Tom had therefore not been surprised when he had been offered a co-directorship. He had also felt that his efforts had been acknowledged when his boss promised him a 10% shareholding in the company. Tom also felt secure in the knowledge that one day he would be running the company - after all, his boss had said that this was the role for which he was being groomed.

But although the discussions regarding the co-directorship and share options had taken place more than six months ago, there was no evidence that these promises were going to be fulfilled. Worse, Tom confided to me that only two days previously, he had heard on the grapevine his boss was intending to take a back seat from day-to-day operations. Tom was seething that he hadn’t even been shown the courtesy of being informed personally about the forthcoming changes. But the last straw was when Tom was called into his boss’s office and introduced to the man who – to his anger and amazement – was to be his new managing director.

Seeing the whole experience as a huge insult, Tom had been tempted to walk away from the situation there and then. However, he was keen not to cut off his nose to spite his face. After talking the situation through with me, Tom began to calm down and recognised that he had been giving his power – and his future - away to his boss instead of focusing on how he, Tom was going to make his own dreams come true.

Looking at what he wanted out of his life and career, Tom admitted that he had always had an ambition to work for himself in the arena of training – and with his sales background, he felt he had a lot to offer other salesmen.

Together we worked on how Tom could make his dreams come true. By recognising that his heart really lay with sales and motivational training rather than the financial services industry, Tom smiled ruefully at the revelation that his boss’s behaviour had actually done him a favour. He also knew that in the past five years he had made all the right contacts to ensure his new business venture would be a success.

Tom decided that his goal was to leave his current employment within six months – and he knew that if that were the case, he would need to save money now in order to tide him over while he started his new self-employed career. He could also use that time to put all the marketing and administrative systems he would need into place.

Knowing that starting his own business would not necessarily be easy, he also recognised that it would provide him with the opportunity to use his entrepreneurial flair to create a successful company that would live by its promises and Tom’s values.

* Olivia Stefanino is a leadership development consultant and executive coach, who works with blue chip organisations, SMEs and individuals. Download your free e-booklet “128 ways to harness your personal power” at


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