Saying goodbye

These past weeks, I was struck by the repetition of a sentence, which spontaneously appeared during different coaching sessions, with clients of various profiles. They had a common point, though: being confronted with the complexity of change of different scales, trying to understand why they felt shaken up, slowed down, or lost. And they finally confined in: “I know that I must mourn the past”: grieving a time gone by, acknowledging an non-modifiable data of their environment, accepting a colleague or a manager’s departure, or life changes, provoked or undergone.


This obligation, expressed as an injunction to oneself or an obvious reasoning, collided a sticking point: how come, since they were able to know it and analyze it, that it was more “complicated than expected?” What were the recipes, the solutions to find, as quickly as possible, to step out this uncomfortable state of mind, and return to a positive energy in the heart of change? Was there a way to learn how to say goodbye?

They will find their own solutions, and each for them will follow their own path, with their resources. Learning to say goodbye will sure start by accepting a negative emotional state, and experience it as such. This emotional state is far from rational thoughts and recommendations to act. It invites to go into silence and inner connection, openly expressing the grief felt: self-authorization to feel sad, to be short of energy or desire, to cry, scream or hang out; feeling ok with the fact of not feeling ok, and experience it fully before wanting to exit it. One should accept this state as a resource, which will last and then stop, according to our unique way of being, and not consider it as being weak. Believing that, in business situations, living change with a constant smiling and positive attitude, and a dynamic state of mind, openly saying that this attitude proves our capacity to deal with complexity, is a magical thought. Changes disrupt our inner balance, and daring facing this disruption is an asset.

To walk through these moments of melancholy, it’s important to create a welcoming and secured space to allow people to express themselves. Some people will invent their own solutions, building their own environment to be able to live it, sometimes out of sight. Others will prefer careful listeners, or a dedicated dialogue space: in these moments of fragility, there is a risk to fall into the hands of people lacking expertise, or to opt for superficial solutions. Let us remind that coaching must respect strict rules and the international deontology of this profession, to make the difference with some people who shamelessly claim that they are coach…

In these unsettling moments in the heart of change, let us opt for simplicity: accepting to be ourselves, imperfect, feeling emotions, fragile. And let us remain attentive to magical solutions, as well as the quality of the proposed coaching programs.