Recognition: A Client Story

Today I’m going to share a client story – at the request of many of you who’ve told me you find these helpful! It’s a story about the importance of tooting your own horn – every once in a while. It’s also a story about how I, as a coach, root for my clients while also giving them a kick in the ass – every once in a while.


Names and details have been changed for privacy.


Meet Solène, a dynamic VP at a pharmaceutical sales company, steadily climbing the ladder. Bright and ambitious, she’s earned accolades for her work, juggling her career with the demands of being a mom.


Solène knows her worth. Yet, conversations with her new boss about her desire for promotion leave her feeling unheard.  While she watches her peers being promoted around her, her next promotion is apparently contingent on shifting business conditions, and she’s found the only way to get her boss to take her seriously is to periodically threaten to leave.


Solène recently confided in me after a particularly rough meeting with her boss.


She shared her belief that she deserved more “clean” recognition (read: not because she was making threats of leaving).  She believed she outshone her peers, but she lacked evidence of her comparison to others beyond her gut feeling. Together, we explored alternative perspectives for the delay, which opened her eyes to possibilities she hadn’t considered.


One such discovery was that her boss had been requesting that Solène showcase her achievements more. Solène continually struggled with this request, as she found it uncomfortable to “parade” around as she felt the impact of her work should speak for itself.  We dug into the reasons for the discomfort, reframing some judgement she had which allowed her to realize the importance of documenting and sharing her achievements, shifting her attitude and approach, while releasing the stories she had around collecting and celebrating achievements. We even discussed someone she admired who demonstrated this skill gracefully, giving her a framework for how to start.


This shift in perspective empowered Solène. She left our session with newfound clarity and determination, shedding her earlier frustration for a proactive mindset. She also realized she may have inadvertently contributed to her lack of promotion, making assumptions about what her boss knew about her successes.


As much as we’d like to assume that our work stands on its own, everyone is so busy paying attention to so many things, that sometimes we need to find ways to toot our own horn.


How might you be playing small, holding back on your achievements and not sharing your wins with the world?


How often do you expect someone to read your mind and just know what you want and what you’ve done to deserve it?


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