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End Of Year Conversation with Erica Loren

Erin Lloyd - Monday, December 15, 2014

Conversation with Erica Loren, Erin Lloyd and Yogi Patel

Last month, we began an Interview Series with Certified Career and Leadership Coach Erica Loren from Coaching2Greatness. As the year comes to a close, we thought this would be a perfect time to have a conversation about what this time of year means for our clients and how everyone can end the year strong—and begin next year even stronger.

Erica Loren: The holidays and the end of a year are often a time of great stress, but also of great reflection. Erin, what kinds of issues do your individual clients come to you with around this time of year?

Erin Lloyd: Many of our individual clients are taking personal stock of how well the year treated them as it comes to a close. Often our clients have been considering making a professional move, and as the year ends perhaps they did not get the bonus they expected or they realize the toll a stressful, hostile or unhappy work environment has taken over the preceding year.

Erica: How do you help clients like that turn their disappointment into action?

Erin: Of course, it depends on each client’s individual circumstances, as you know. But by the time these clients come to us, they are usually ready to make a change and want to make sure that the steps they take are effective in creating leverage for a severance package or other benefits as they transition out of their former employment. Occasionally, these employees have already left their job and believe they were treated unfairly in violation of the law. For those clients it’s important to help them understand their options and also plan for the future. You encounter many of these types of clients yourself; what are some of the common issues your clients deal with around this time of the year?

Erica: Most clients seek coaching to start off the new year right either in a new position lateral or vertical in nature, a new job, or even a new industry. Many clients do have a desire to finish the year strong to be set up in a greater way in the new year. Some clients seeking a new industry or leadership position will work on strengthening these areas and exploring appropriate resources to support their new vision for going forward. Many don’t want to repeat the mistakes or experiences of the year, so we will work on what has worked, what hasn’t and what they would envision being different and ideal going forward.
So very similar in context to what you refer to, Erin and Yogi. Though not a check list, we perform an individualized assessment to demonstrate strengths, gaps, and combine that with a clear vision for the coming year.

Yogi, you serve as general counsel to many small and medium-sized businesses. They probably have unique considerations at the end of one year and the beginning of others. Do you have a sort of “check list” for businesses to consider at the end of every year?

Yogi Patel: I recommend that all my business clients take stock of their personnel and human resources materials at the end of every year. Businesses should be considering whether there have been any legal or regulatory changes over the year, if new training material is necessary for employees, or if there are any new government filings they need to complete.

In addition, every business should review their employment manual each year. And specifically, if there is a mechanism for conducting annual reviews in the employer’s manual, then I discuss with my clients whether that has happened and how it has been documented. What is important to remember is that if an employer does not follow his or her own policies, then having an employment manual is meaningless, and in fact, perhaps even a liability. This is also a good time to look ahead and see what changes the employer anticipates for the coming year and to consider if the appropriate legal framework to support those changes is in place.

Erica: A lot of small business owners are probably reading that and wondering why, after investing in an employment manual in the first place, they have to redo it every year! Why should they do this every year?

Yogi: The idea certainly is not to rewrite the company’s policies and procedures each year. But small businesses, especially, experience a lot of change each year. Job descriptions could change, new employees could have been added or entire departments could be restructured. Employment manuals are the guidelines that employees have to live by so if they are outdated and there’s an employment-related issue that is not covered in that document, an employer could find themselves with their hands tied. For example, if a business owner began 2014 with 2 employees, a detailed Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) structure probably was not necessary. But if that same employer promoted one of those employees to middle management and added 5 more employees during the year, it would be essential for all employees to know how to make complaints of unlawful discrimination or harassment and how the company would handle those complaints. Or, in another industry, perhaps there are dangerous and highly regulated chemicals used on the premises. If the employment manual does not discuss the company’s policies with regard to who has access to them, what training is required prior to using them, and how to deal with accidents and spills, the company could really be opening itself up to serious liability in the case of an accidental exposure.

Erin: Erica, I’m curious about your corporate clients. I know that some of our corporate clients do “house cleaning” at the end of a year, evaluating which employees have been the greatest assets and which might be seen as a drain on the company. Do your corporate clients reach out to you for similar reasons at the end of a year?

Erica: Yes they do and if they are wise they will reach out in early fall to really be best prepared for new year. Most times corporate/small business clients reach out to decide what the new year will look like and how to cultivate the vision. Though typically we are discussing this around September so we can properly evaluate the current situation, thus plan, and then prepare for launching new year vision. Whether it’s hiring ,evaluating policy and procedures, or employee appreciation programs, this must begin early to be prepared and have others on board before they take action. Private clients on the other hand are usually driven in and around their performance review. Sometimes they are also driven by salary, benefits, burnout and/or relocation. And in all these cases it is usually urgency that is driving the motivation and they are eager to begin coaching.

Yogi: I think the beginning of a new year can feel like a bit of a fresh start for many people. Do you find that this perspective can help create momentum for your clients to start something new or make significant changes for the coming year?

Erica: To answer your great question Yogi, providing the vision is powerful enough, that when they feel like giving up they will remain faithful to fulfilling it, then yes, the new year can allow for this momentous action to take place and provide a fun kick off time. However many people waste time throughout the year, procrastinate, hide, delay, and make excuses when life shows up as to why they could not fulfill the resolution, which truly began as a really lofty goal to help them feel better and trick themselves into believing this year will be better just because. New Year’s resolutions can be a bit seductive to some who want to wipe the slate clean and start over, even though they know they are probably going to do an almost identical repeat of last year, unless they get true support and accountability.

Erin: I agree, Erica, that too many people wait until this time then set unrealistic goals without really getting the support they need to accomplish them. I do think employees should do a sort of self-audit, though: ask yourself what changed in your life over the course of the year and whether your current situation is better than it was one year ago. If an individual was unhappy in his or her job this time last year, and nothing has changed—whether because he or she is simply undervalued or because he or she is the victim of unlawful discrimination or because he or she is not being paid according to the law—it’s time to re-evaluate that situation. If an individual set a financial goal this year that was not met at his or her current job, it may be time to explore other options including trying to obtain a severance package and move on to a position that is more in line with their vision. This kind of end-of-the-year review should be done by everyone, in my opinion!

Yogi, do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

Yogi: I think finding a way to be more efficient with my time is going to be at the top of my list in 2015. What about you? Anything you’ve been putting off in 2014 that you’re committed to for 2015?

Erin: Well I’m making the ultimate commitment in 2015: I’m getting married! But on a professional level, my goal is to continue developing creative solutions for my clients’ legal issues even when traditional legal approaches may not make sense.

Erica, what are your resolutions and goals for 2015?

Erica: Congrats Erin! I am getting married too, in September 2015. Yogi, good luck with the time piece. I actually have changed up the traditional resolution thing ( this is what coaches do people lol) and have a word that ties all my goals together. So I can focus on that word and review if what I am doing is achieving the outcome of what I want to see happen in my business and life. So with that being said, I chose the word IMPACT. You too can try it and see when you put down your goals what is the result you would like to see achieved and voila you will have your word.

Erin: Thank you so much, Erica, for taking the time to talk with us and share your insights with our clients as they consider what kind of year they want 2015 to be. I look forward to sharing wedding stories with you next year! Happy holidays everyone!

Erin Lloyd, Esq. is an employment lawyer and partner at Lloyd Patel LLP, a general practice law firm. She represents individuals who have been subjected to unlawful discrimination, harassment and pay practices and helps them recover the damages they are entitled to. Ms. Lloyd works with clients to develop a personalized strategy based on each client’s needs and concerns. She can be reached at el@lloydpatel.com or (212) 729-4266. For more information on Lloyd Patel LLP, visit their website at www.lloydpatel.com.

Yogi Patel, Esq. is a business and commercial lawyer and partner at Lloyd Patel LLP, a general practice law firm. Mr. Patel counsels small and medium sized businesses and other institutions on all aspects of their business, helping business owners navigate regulatory and governmental issues specific to their respective industry, to defend or prosecute commercial and other litigation, to develop personnel and human resources policies and procedures, to protect their unique brands and products, and otherwise guide them through any legal issues that may arise. Mr. Patel can be reached directly at yp@lloydpatel.com or (212) 729-4266. For more information on Lloyd Patel LLP, visit their website at www.lloydpatel.com.

Erica Loren, ACC, CPC CEO of Coaching2Greatness is an ICF Certified Career Coach who partners with professionals seeking happiness and fulfillment in their careers, by honing in on the belief that we all have the potential to discover our personal gifts through professional pursuits. She guides clients down a clear and focused path, toward a powerful vision of what they want to achieve in helping them discover their dream jobs. When Erica is not working with private clients she is out traveling the world as a public motivational speaker and partnering with corporations who want to cultivate a healthier happier work environment.
You can learn more about Erica by visiting: www.coaching2greatness.orgLinkedinFacebookor by calling: (732) 757-1880.


   


Interview of Erin Lloyd, Attorney and Partner at Lloyd Patel LLP - by Erica Loren

Erin Lloyd - Friday, December 05, 2014

In this installment of our interview series, Erin Lloyd, a litigation partner from the law firm of Lloyd Patel LLP who practices in the area of labor and employment law, is talking with Erica Loren, an ICF Certified Career Coach at Coaching2Greatness.  Last month Erin interviewed Erica about her approach to a client who came to her with a difficult work situation, unsure of how to proceed. Today, the tables have been turned and Erica has asked Erin to share some insight on the possible legal issues and implications surrounding difficult work situations facing both employees and employers.

Erica Loren:  Last month we discussed a client that came to me after attaining extraordinary success in her department within a short period of time, which created resentment from other members on her team. Leadership in the company stopped supporting her, despite her successful record.  The client was wrongly accused of bullying a fellow co-worker and management pressured her to do nothing in her own defense out of fear of a lawsuit.  Due to the work environment, this client went out on a temporary disability leave to address her mental health and while she was out, she received notice that she was terminated.  When she filed for unemployment benefits, the employer opposed them.  My role was to help this client get back on her feet after experiencing what was a very challenging situation. In your practice, do your attorneys represent individuals only after they’ve been terminated, or can you help employees even while they’re still working?


Erin Lloyd: The circumstances of our clients vary tremendously, but certainly many of our clients are still working for their employer and simply need advice and guidance in either protecting themselves within that relationship or navigating their way out of the employment relationship with the greatest benefit to the them.  When clients come after they have quit or been terminated, we are obviously more limited in how we can help them.

Let’s take the client we discussed last month, for example. This client probably saw the writing on the wall well before she took leave from her job, but if she came to us after she was terminated, we would immediately need to focus on whether or not her employer had the right to fire her under the law. And generally, regardless of the answer to that question, getting the job back is usually not an option for either the employee or the employer.


Erica:  Had the client reached out to you before she was terminated, what would you have advised her to do?


Erin:    It depends.  Whenever a client comes to see us, we always ask them what her ideal outcome would be.  We always ask the client what they want and often find that clients actually do not know the answer to this question.  Clients are, understandably, usually focused on what is happening to them and not so much on the possible solutions.  So part of our job is to help the client figure out what her options are and what her ideal outcome is.

In a situation like this, if the client is still employed, the biggest question is: do you want to still be employed at this job or are you looking for a way out? The answer to that will dictate our next steps. If the client wants to stay in her job, we can help evaluate the communications she has had with her employer and advise her on next steps or even ghost-write communications to the employer to try to improve her situation at work and create a record that positively reflects her work there. 

On the other hand, if the client expressed an interest in leaving and hopes for a severance package, we could discuss what kind of offer she might be able to expect and help her create leverage for later negotiations by documenting her position and creating a record of the situation at her workplace. We would also counsel her on the common provisions that employers demand in severance agreements and how they could impact her future endeavors.


Erica:  What is the purpose of creating a record and how would that help later?


Erin:  From our perspective, documentation is critical to having a strong claim, should the need arise to bring one, and for creating leverage in any severance negotiation.  Proper documentation, depending on the situation and timing, can sometimes help to prevent unlawful retaliation from an employer as well.   


Erica: Employment litigation seems like it would be a very challenging and emotional proposition for any client.


Erin:  Yes, it is an emotional and personally taxing experience.  It is akin to divorce in my opinion.  I think everyone can appreciate the varying emotions one experiences in any given work environment.  We as a society often spend more time at work than we do at home with our own families.  And if your work environment is toxic, the relationships and personalities are usually complex.  So the litigation can be charged, expensive and very adversarial as there are many things on the line once an action is commenced.   It is not for everyone and we always talk to our clients about weighing the full implications of litigation before proceeding, and counsel trying to reaching a resolution when that is possible and appropriate. 


Erica:  I think we can both agree that employees and employers are often in need of help.  Sometimes, employers are so good at their business – which is whatever they do to keep their lights on – that they don’t realize the impact of their unintended behavior on their employees.  And sometimes employees need a little help in advocating for themselves and finding the confidence they need to advance in the workplace despite considerable odds.


Erin:  Absolutely.  Both can benefit from counsel from and consultation with outside professionals who can make objective and unbiased observations about difficult situations.  We should also note that employers sometimes just need to adopt good structure and clear policies to avoid liability.  We often advise employers on best practices in their employment and personnel matters. For example, clean and clear offer letters and employment manuals are a great start.  Depending on the kind of employees and the industry an employer is engaged in, there are complicated rules regarding the way an employee must be paid, what kinds of records must be kept, and other regulatory requirements which requires employers to have a protocol in place to minimize liability in the event 

of an action or audit.  These protocols are a must in my opinion, even when a company does not have a dedicated Human Resources Department. 


Erica:  On a lighter note, if you were not an employment lawyer, what would you do?


Erin:  That’s easy: I would be a law professor.


Erin Lloyd, Esq. is an employment lawyer and partner at Lloyd Patel LLP, a general practice law firm.  She represents individuals who have been subjected to unlawful discrimination, harassment and pay practices and helps them recover the damages they are entitled to. Ms. Lloyd works with clients to develop a personalized strategy based on each client’s needs and concerns.  She can be reached at el@lloydpatel.com or (212) 729-4266. For more information on Lloyd Patel LLP, visit their website at www.lloydpatel.com.


Erica Loren, ACC, CPC is an ICF Certified Career Coach who partners with professionals seeking happiness and fulfillment in their careers, by honing in on the belief that we all have the potential to discover our personal gifts through professional pursuits. She guides clients down a clear and focused path, toward a powerful vision of what they want to achieve in helping them discover their dream jobs. She not only works with individuals but she also partners with corporations who want to cultivate a healthier happier work environment. 

You can learn more about Erica by visiting: www.coaching2greatness.orgLinkedinFacebookor by calling: (732) 757-1880.

   

Interview of Erica Loren, Certified Career and Leadership Coach - by Erin Lloyd

Erin Lloyd - Tuesday, November 18, 2014

We are talking with Certified Career and Leadership Coach Erica Loren from Coaching2Greatness today about her expertise on how one can utilize personal career coaching to get out of a sticky work situation with ease, clarity and happiness.


Erin Lloyd: Erica, can you describe a situation that could help our audience understand how someone like you would be able to help a person who is feeling very trapped and unhappy in a current job situation see that there are options on how to handle this situation that will leave them feeling empowered and not trapped – putting them at even greater risk?


Erica Loren: Sure. One situation that comes to mind was with a client who had a lot of leadership influence and early success within a year of being hired with a company that over a short period of time began to resent her for it. Which then unfolded into underground gossip, backstabbing, and efforts to sabotage her future success by the leadership team and the Boss.  So much that any new hires would be brainwashed to think she was bad before this person even got a chance to know her.  Then the final blow came when her boss accused her of bullying an employee to which he told her to keep her mouth shut because he didn’t want a discrimination lawsuit (the woman who accused her was Asian). The boss refused to hear her argument and took her leadership responsibilities away.


Erin: Wow, that sounds like a lot of stress and pressure for a person to be under and while having to perform their job. What are some of the ways you could help a person in this situation to reduce the stress and come to a healthy resolution?


Erica: Great question. Often times when we are in these types of scenarios we can often feel like a victim, which at first is understandable. So what I might work on with the client to see is what could an  ideal situation look like, so they can step out of victim mode and see possibilities. What this does is activates  a part of the brain known as the the prefrontal cortex  that  can allow for true  creative processing thus allowing for  healthier solutions. At the same time this also deactivates to the limbic part of brain that is feeling threatened and under attack thus creating flight or fight responses which never lead to good decision making.  As humans we can not be in both these areas of the brain at the same time, the dominant thought and emotion will prevail.


Erin: Very interesting, and what would be a process in which you would help them see a long term view of what could happen?


Erica: Most clients need a program that will begin with their current challenge, while then addressing ideal outcomes, with a 6 month and 1 year view, along with identifying current obstacles and roadblocks that could pose a problem along the way.We also would work with assessments to gauge behavior styles and tendencies to advance the client toward their goals while helping them understand who they are and how they are showing  in the world.


Erin: Seems like a comprehensive way to tackle this complex situation that sounds like would leave them feeling much better in some many ways then just say leaving or waiting to get fired. Now to switch gears a little bit here, can you tell us how did you become interested in the field of coaching?


Erica: I love this question because no two people ever have the same answer and it really is a unique decision one makes when considering this field. Coaching is so different because it does not track like many other professions like nursing, doctors etc. Over the course of my career  I was always championing, inspiring, and coaching others toward their career paths and with my past career in medicine and dentistry, I knew I was maxing out on options to advanced myself. I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor or director and started to seek out what my next career move would be.  I also realized being in many different workplaces allowed me opportunities to excel but with limits, due to the toxicity in these environments. It left me feeling very frustrated and sad which is why I  made it my mission to help professionals discover their personal gifts for their professional pursuits.

In my search for the next step, I came across an ad in the paper for coaching and thought, “Hey I can do this, this sounds like me!” and I went for it and never turned back. I went on to become an ICF certified coach from the Institute for Professional and Excellence in Coaching 2009, and opened my coaching practice, Coaching2Greatness, in 2010. I also sit on the International Coaching Federation Board and actively volunteer on Educational and Professional Development Committee.


Erin: If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?


Erica: Your career is what you’re paid for and your calling is what you’re made for. Invest in services that will help you discover your calling, be in service to help others, and make time for what really brings you joy and happiness.

It’s not your employer’s job to determine your career path, and its certainly not your mother’s responsibility or your spouse’s responsibility to make this happen for you either. It’s your responsibility to discover, create, and respond to what you’re meant here to do on this earth.


Erica Loren, ACC, CPC is an ICF Certified Career Coach who partners with professionals seeking happiness and fulfillment in their careers, by honing in on the belief that we all have the potential to discover our personal gifts through professional pursuits. She guides clients down a clear and focused path, toward a powerful vision of what they want to achieve in helping them discover their dream jobs. She not only works with individuals but she also partners with corporations who want to cultivate a healthier happier work environment. 

You can learn more about Erica by visiting: www.coaching2greatness.org; Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericaloren; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coaching2GreatnessLLC/121498144531605?ref=br_tf, or by calling: (732) 757-1880.


Erin Lloyd, Esq. is an employment lawyer and partner at Lloyd Patel LLP, a general practice law firm.  She represents individuals who have been subjected to unlawful discrimination, harassment and pay practices and helps them recover the damages they are entitled to. Ms. Lloyd works with clients to develop a personalized strategy based on each client’s needs and concerns.  She can be reached at el@lloydpatel.com or (212) 729-4266. For more information on Lloyd Patel LLP, visit their website at www.lloydpatel.com.


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