Case Study:
Coaching to Reduce Overwhelm

Integrating into the new company can be both difficult and stressful for a new employee. Getting it done smoothly and efficiently is particularly important for critical positions that have a big impact on the organization’s overall performance.

While organizations are more aware that onboarding is a critical success factor when bringing a new person in, the overworked management group has currently less time than ever to meaningfully integrate the new employee. One solution that is often overlooked is executive coaching.

According to Jenn Fenwick, Founder of Rebel Road Coaching, we don’t fully acknowledge the overwhelming stress that emanates from transitioning into a new role. “When you think about it, the potential for overwhelm is enormous. New company, new role, new culture, pressure to perform and the more senior the role, the less able the leader feels to share that anxiety and that Imposter Syndrome that can set in, where we say - I think I’m out of my depth here and I’ve taken on more than I can chew”.

She deems executive coaching as a perfect solution to provide a safe haven for the leader to share their concerns and feel supported while they transition into a new role. “I think if you’re moving into a new leadership role, no matter how experienced you are, the challenge of stepping up into a new role or joining a new organization and taking on a new leadership role can be pretty overwhelming. You might be brought into an organization to build and shape a new function but once you actually start day one, it can be hugely daunting. Coaching offers that confidential partner, who looks at where you are starting from and where you need to get to, what is the vision? But then also breaking it down into what are realistic goals over the first three to six months. Because I think what we often find with new leaders is they want to do it all really, really quickly and demonstrate an impact immediately”.

Supporting the mental wellbeing of the new hire is also critical. “We try to fill the gap and support people around the learning by giving them training but we totally forget about the emotional journey that someone’s going through in a transition and stepping out of your comfort zone into the unknown. And I’ve experienced it with senior leaders who feel that they just don’t feel confident in a new role. But the great thing is that when you start to break that down with them asking ‘So what would make you feel more confident?’ or ‘When do you feel most confident?’ or ‘What needs to happen so that you are feeling confident in your role?’, they can identify the learning and development gaps. For example, it might be understanding the financial aspect or understanding the new therapeutic area. Once these areas are identify they can feel empowered to tackle them by asking for support”.

In a competitive labour market, coaching can be a retention tool for high-demand leaders. “In Medical Affairs in particular, because it has grown at such a fast pace, the number of roles quite often outnumber the talent out there and the competition for talent is fierce. People can get wooed off by someone else in that couple of months between contract and starting. I think pharma can be quite good at supporting more junior level roles, but across the board, I think that there’s a massive opportunity for organizations to support more senior leaders. There needs to be investment in onboarding because hot talent doesn’t wait around if they are not sufficiently supported.”