I’ve been a consultant for quite a number of years, in both technical and managerial roles. One thing I’ve noticed about being a business coach – the end of the engagement is very different technical engagements.
When you’re a developer and the end of the engagement comes, it’s usually because some huge project is finishing up. There’s a celebration and a sense of finality. There’s usually a concrete deliverable and the project is moving into a new phase of routine operational maintenance. It’s over and, hurray, you’ve done it.
When you’re a coach the end of the engagement is quite different. The client no longer relies on you for understanding or your expertise. It’s down right sad. You begin to be less and less important until they come to you and say that they don’t need you any more. Hopefully they end with a retainer for a certain period. You don’t go out in a blaze of glory but tend to trickle out. So sad.
I must say though, knowing that the client doesn’t need me any more is actually satisfying, despite knowing that I won’t be working with the teams any more. Human nature makes it difficult to look at the positive in such a situation – the end of an era – but if you’re even in this situation, just consider where they were when you started. They’re probably better off.