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Coaching Themselves Out


“Coaching members out.” I heard this phrase a few months ago as a euphemism for firing or terminating. I thought it was a good way of sharing how leadership and managers ensure smooth transitions out of a company, beyond just “getting rid of an employee”.

Then, I heard a twist to the phrase – “coaching themselves out”. In this case, it’s the member of an organization who is removing him/ herself by subtle environmental/ cultural cues. This doesn’t necessarily mean a company is ostracizing a team member, or otherwise explicitly motivating a team member to leave. That’s bad.

I heard this phrase from a company who was recently voted as one of the best companies to work for. Folks here coach themselves out because they feel they are the “wrong fit”. Their values, ambitions, and the like do not align with that of the company’s.

The company is enthusiastic about living out the mission and values. Here, team members are encouraged to speak up to other team members when they are not living up to the mission and values.

Being so vocal and explicit about mission and values entrenches folks who believe and follow the prerogative. On the other hand, such explicit faith means those who do not align eventually leave on their own accord. Culture begets culture.

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