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Career Coaching Case Study: Client Creates Work With Purpose and Passion

Career Coaching Case Study - Client Creates Work With Purpose and Passion

 “Sustainable leaders know that in serving others as opposed to treating employees as servants is the key to more innovation and creativity, greater team involvement, happier followers, creating a high involvement culture and better business results.” - Dr. Maynard Brusman, San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coach

Are you a leader who would like to reinvent yourself and have a more fulfilling life and career? For over thirty years, I have been working with people to discover their purpose and passion to create work that is fulfilling and profitable.

It takes self-awareness, energy and an entrepreneurial spirit to discover your true passion, identity and the work that you are meant to be doing. I have practiced mindfulness meditation for many years and enjoy work serving others that is filled with joy and financial well-being.

I have coached hundreds of people to create happier and more productive work lives.You can choose to work with an executive coach to help facilitate your career reinvention or practice self-coaching. 

 “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."
 —Victor Frankel

We are all trying to understand and cope with the enormous changes in our work and personal lives. Mostly we react in a positive and productive manner. However, many people are describing their lives as so busy, working so many hours, trying to balance work and personal lives that we often feel physically and emotionally exhausted.

I work as a consulting psychologist and executive/career coach specializing in helping leaders and lawyers with work- related problems. Let me tell you a brief story about a company leader I helped with a career transition.

Steve was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at a San Francisco Bay Area financial institution. He was seen as a high potential during his initial years at the company. Steve was referred by the Director of Human Resources for career coaching. Several employees had given 360 degree feedback that Steve was arrogant and often condescending to others contributing to a negative work climate.  Steve’s behavior was causing a morale program at work. They described the CFO as being critical and demanding. The culture of the company valued openness and collaboration. The company truly valued Steve and wanted him to be happy whether at this job or whatever he might choose to pursue.

At our first coaching meeting, Steve appeared to be fatigued, de-moralized, dispirited, sleep-deprived, and burned out. He described himself poignantly… “My soul was asleep on the job”. As we explored his situation, Steve related how the company had been through two mergers. There was the imminent possibility of another downsizing (euphemism for firing people). Steve as well as the other “survivors” was overloaded with work.  He had resisted most of the changes, lacked motivation and his feelings were all “bottled up”. Steve was frankly not fully engaged. As I got to know Steve better, it became apparent that he had some good leadership skills, but was unhappy in his work resulting in making coworkers miserable.

Steve’s stated goal was to improve his emotional intelligence and discover work that he loved.The best way to build a healthy personality involves understanding yourself and your emotions. He wanted to become more engaged at work, but eventually to transition into a new career.

The client brainstormed various options on how he could achieve his goals. He asked if I could recommend an article on emotional intelligence and agreed to take the BarOn EQ-i emotional intelligence assessment. Steve scored low in self-awareness, happiness and stress tolerance. Our initial work focused on Steve discovering a better sense of self including his core values and identity.

Our career coaching work together transitioned into Steve learning how to delegate and collaborate with others as a way of building relationships and establishing trust. Considering the work overload, Steve felt it was important for him to learn to prioritize work based on what was truly important.  We began to talk about his values and interests and possible career options.

The client discussed the obstacles that might arise in terms of his resistance to change. We worked on Steve challenging his negative thinking about change which was the major obstacle getting in his way.

I coached Steve by role playing how the obstacles, in this case negative thinking could be managed. He learned to challenge his limiting belief by asking himself “Is it true that I am stuck and have no options”?  Steve learned to focus his energy on what he could control and to live in the present moment. I asked him what he would like to end (corporate job) and explored future possibilities.  Most importantly we focused on Steve discovering a sense of purpose...what was truly important to him. Who am I and what are my core values? What is most meaningful in my life? What am I trying to do with my life? .Do I feel fulfilled in my life? Do I use my talents to the fullest extent? Am I realizing my dreams?

As I got to know Steve better, I discovered that Steve’s real childhood love was art. And that he had gotten into finance in his 20’s as a way of making a living when he first moved to the Bay Area.

Steve created the following homework exercises that would help him develop his emotional intelligence and create the self-insight needed for a career transition. He agreed to begin the following week.

1. Practice mindfulness meditation. 
2. Write in my journal. 
3. Read Victor Frankel's "Man's Search for Meaning", Po Bronson's "What Should I Do with My Life", and “Work With Passion” by Nancy Anderson.

After a few months of career coaching, the client had gained sufficient self-awareness and was more open to change. Steve decided to dosomething pretty dramatic. Steve told me he was taking a vacation and going to Costa Rica to surf! I was surprised that he was passionate about surfing as it seemed out of character. Upon his return, he told me how he had come upon the idea of starting a business designing surfboards! What wonderful synergy of taking action, tapping into his essence - the love of art and creating an entrepreneurial business of his own. Finally, he was leveraging his considerable strengths of resourcefulness, love of adventure and creativity.

Steve continued to work for the company, but with a new sense of commitment. He was much more positive and happy. 360-degree feedback from co-workers indicated that he had developed more collaborative work relationships. He continued to work part-time on his decorating surfboards business with the goal to transition into his own business in a couple of years and move to Costa Rica.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders practice mindfulness meditation and reinvent themselves? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to learn how to have self- coaching conversations? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “How can mindfulness meditation help me reinvent my career?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more effective teams.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders build high performance organizations. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resource is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to, write to, or call 415-546-1252.

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