Professional Goals

By Kristen Enright

I recently had a session with a long-time client. When I asked how work was, they didn’t respond with their normal “it’s great!” Instead, they told me a story about their new direct manager and their first meeting.

The manager came in passionate and excited for this next role and, as a manager should, scheduled meetings to get to know their new team. The meeting started with the typical question, “What are your professional goals here at XYZ Co? Where do you see yourself in the next two years? Five?” From this question, my client answered that they hope to still be doing meaningful work within their team.

This answer was not what this new manager was looking for.

The manager spoke up to say that these goals weren’t big enough! With a bit of focus and proper support, my client could move up the corporate ladder and make something of themselves! Managing Partner… CEO… The sky should be the limit!

The meeting went on with the manager setting short- and long-term goals for this new career objective that they had put on my client.

On paper, this manager did a lot of things right. They took the time out to meet with their team. They asked questions. They helped to set goals and provide support for those goals.

However, this manager did not have the Emotional Intelligence to see beyond their own definition of “success”.

Had they taken the time to ask a few more questions, they would have learned that my client had been working part-time in this same team for eight years. Over those eight years, they’d found a work-life balance that allowed them to fill their cup professionally by doing work that they were passionate about but also having time at home with their children and family. This balance allowed them to be their best self at work and home and didn’t leave them feeling guilty or pulled in too many directions. It also allowed them to be very successful in their role.

Now, they are considering a new job. All after one conversation.

I have no doubt that this manager had the best of intentions. However, by lacking the ability to understand the hearts and minds of their team, they not only offended someone but may have just lost the company a stellar employee.

Let's Work Together


Are you looking for custom training solutions for your company? Let us design a customer experience that is a natural extension of your corporate culture!