Coaching Story | Leaders Share Their Stories

Our Academy Leadership group, a terrific team of former military officers who are also senior civilian executives, often share our stories. With his permission, I would like to read to you an email from Kevin Derbin, 1979 Naval Academy Graduate. It’s a powerful coaching story from Kevin and his wife Pam. Their words. Their story:

I wanted to share a very personal story about the power of our Personal Leadership Philosophy.  I hope you get a quick chance to read this and appreciate your busy schedules.

In January, Pam’s division of Humana was eliminated unexpectedly.  As always, things happen for reasons whether we plan for it or not.  As she began her search, it created a time of reflection and redefining purpose (as it has for many of us who are veterans of corporate America) while navigating the unknown.  She worked with Humana for over 10 years as a Case and Team Manager in their Home Health business. 

We recently started her quilting business (which she is very gifted at and award winning) but just being christened, it’s not quite ready for sea yet so she began to fish the leadership opportunities in Nursing in the Louisville area.  Her sights set on a similar position, she started casting.  She received several calls of interest (and not) but recently spoke with a national home care company with 2 opportunities as a Case Manager and a Director of Operations.  The recruiter told her that she was overqualified for the Manager role but referred her to the Executive recruiter as she felt Pam had the experience for that role.  Pam was shocked, a bit nervous and doubted whether she was able to fill the expectations of that leadership role.

Her first interview went well and made her realize that she did have the experience and ability to “move up”.  We spent the next week working on her Personal Leadership Philosophy which she felt would be important for her not just during the interview process but to solidify her own confidence and be prepared to be effective in the role should she get it.

During the next set of executive interviews, she proactively asked if she could share her Leadership Philosophy in response to a leading interview question which took the team by surprise as they had never heard of it.  They loved it and were impressed that she even had one.  The proportion of the discussion quickly shifted to leadership, values and examples of living those values.

Pam received an invite to a final round of interviews, in person, with the team that she would be leading and her prospective supervisor (whom she had already met). During this session, Pam again shared her philosophy informally with the team. Not only were they appreciative but were taken back by its candor and heartfelt message. 

She was offered the position with Amedisys (not surprising to me), a promotion from her previous role, and has reenergized her sense of self, her capability and how important her Nursing profession is to her.  She is excited for the position to start in May and looking forward to leading a team again.  Two points.

Had it not been for life throwing a curveball, she would not have proactively searched for a position of greater responsibility outside Humana.

Pam attributes sharing her Leadership Philosophy as key lever in not only putting her own thoughts and values into perspective but the power of having one and sharing it during the interview process was invaluable not only for its authenticity but that she had placed so much emphasis on leadership and its importance in the role already. 

In retrospect, having a Personal Leadership Philosophy doesn’t necessarily guarantee admission but it’s clear that few have heard of one, have one or even think about articulating one.  In the case of interviewing (that we get asked frequently about), it creates a conversation that turns focus toward an open discussion that most likely would not have occurred.  More importantly, a conversation that the one being interviewed controls and becomes the driver. Better yet the leader.

Side note – the quilting continues…and perhaps an opportunity at Amedisys for an E2L/PLP workshop and...!

Respectfully,  Kevin

Kevin didn’t need to share this with our Academy Leadership team. It could demonstrate vulnerability, or perceived weakness. On the other hand, what types of people do we wish to follow? What is your leadership philosophy? Leaders Share Their Stories