In your current position, what are
your main areas of responsibility?
Sue Lefebvre: I provide private and pub-lic
sector organizations with the full
range of conflict resolution, interven-tion
and prevention services, including:
management consultation, coaching,
facilitation, mediation, workplace assess-ment
and training. In addition, I coach
individual clients through personal and
professional change. My clients succeed
in those difficult conversations and chal-lenging
What does a typical day at
work for you look like?
SL: I don’t really have a “typical” day as my
work is focused on client needs and what
they bring to me. I have recently been do-ing
a lot of work around mental health,
which has become of huge interest to se-nior
public servants and which has a major
impact on workplace wellbeing. There is
a symbiotic relationship between men-tal
health and workplace conflict. If there
is a mental health issue, it can negative-ly
impact the workplace and if there is a
negative workplace, it can impact mental
health. While my workshops raise aware-ness
about the issue, my coaching circles
build skills in recognizing and managing
workplace mental health issues.
What do you love about your job?
SL: The thing that I love most about my
work is “the shift.” Whether coaching an
individual, an intact team or a group, I
can see when awareness shifts. People of-ten
come to me feeling there’s no way out;
things are such a mess that there is no so-lution.
I love it when the penny drops and
they understand, “Wow, there’s another
way to do or see this, there is a way out!”
That shift is what I love the most; it’s what
What are some of the challenges you
experience on a day-to-day basis?
SL: The lack of understanding about my
role in supporting transition can be a
challenge. Clients often look to me for a
solution: “We’ll give it to Sue and she can
fix it.” In reality, I don’t do any fixing at all.
My role is to enable clients to frame their
own conversations and find their own so-lutions.
I can’t do it for them.
Ultimately, no matter what type of
coaching I’m doing, I’m helping peo-ple
transition from one state of being to
another. I have to ask, “What’s the trans-formational
piece that needs to happen to
free this individual, team or group to move
to a more generative state?” So, whether it’s
conflict resolution or career transition, or
simply how to have a conversation with a
family member, there’s a transition around
letting go of one set of beliefs and taking
on a new set.
What skills do you possess that make
you a great fit for your position?
SL: I’m curious. Because coaching is a
journey of discovery, the coach’s job is re-ally
to create a safe, trusting space for the
client to do the work of moving forward. I
use my professional skills to build enough
trust with my clients so they’ll take some
time to think about themselves and what
they want to do about a given situation. As
I’m working with a client – be it a team or
an individual – I ask myself, “What do I
need to do to help this person get centered
and calm enough to stand back and take a
look at the situation?” Because they know
the answer, they can figure it out.
What are your ultimate career goals?
SL: I want to become a master certified
coach, to become more involved in the
professionalization of coaching and pro-moting
it in the Ottawa area. Through
coaching, I want to continue to have a
positive impact on individuals and work-places.
I want to continue to help support
managers to get skilled in having those dif-ficult
conversations while simultaneously
looking after themselves. n
“WHETHER IT’S CONFLICT RESOLUTION OR CAREER TRANSITION,
OR SIMPLY HOW TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH A FAMILY
MEMBER, THERE’S A TRANSITION AROUND LETTING GO
OF ONE SET OF BELIEFS AND TAKING ON A NEW SET.”
42 ❚ JULY/AUGUST 2016 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL