Unlocking Potential: How long-term employees can still surprise you

In the journey of professional growth, sometimes, the employees who seem the most content hold the most untapped potential waiting to be discovered. 

Let me share a story about a frontline employee I coached, whom we’ll call “Lisa.” Lisa worked in the mail room as a production specialist at one of the largest healthcare companies in the US. After dedicating two decades to her company — ten years in her current position — one might assume Lisa was at the peak of satisfaction. However, a closer look revealed a different story. Despite her long tenure, Lisa confided in me that she wasn’t happy at work.

Lisa’s story isn’t just about retention; it’s about maximization — of both personal growth and organizational value. Initially, Lisa struggled to pinpoint why she wasn’t satisfied but felt a persistent sense of unrealized potential. This sparked the beginning of a transformative journey.

In just five sessions of one-on-one coaching, Lisa not only secured a promotion that signified a two-level jump and a 27% pay increase, but she also embraced a new role that leveraged her vast company knowledge and critical thinking skills. The journey wasn’t about radical changes but about mindset shifts, small confidence-building steps, and the courage to explore new opportunities.

Lisa’s breakthrough came from acknowledging past opportunities missed due to doubt, complacency, and the comfort of familiarity. We tackled these issues head-on with a mix of #motivationalinterviewing to boost her confidence, practical #upskilling through a 9-week foundational business skills course, and strategic support through the interview process. This comprehensive approach prepared Lisa for a new chapter and equipped her with skills crucial for her new role.

Reflecting on the new role, Lisa shares: “This new position that I’m going to be taking on, I’m going to need to communicate with managers, supervisors, and peers on the floor that I’ve been around, but it will be in a different atmosphere than what I’ve been doing now. Now, I need to review people’s work. So I need to think outside the box, build more empathy, more understanding. And some days I need to be outright and tell them if they’re wrong, but I want to feel good about how I do it and not unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings. This experience has made me think about it. I’m coming up with ideas that I want to implement.” 

Tenured employees who seem comfortable in their positions are often overlooked in conversations about motivation, engagement, and workplace performance. Lisa’s story highlights a universal truth in the workplace: untapped potential is omnipresent, often hidden in those we least expect.

At Pathstream, we believe in the power of coaching to unlock the potential within our workforce, especially among those who’ve stood by the company through thick and thin. Lisa’s story is a testament to the transformative possibilities that lie within coaching and self-reflection.

Learn more about how Pathstream can help unlock the potential of your workforce, empowering even the most seasoned team members to soar to new heights.

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