Why Your Top Talent REALLY Leaves

Why Your Top Talent REALLY Leaves

Losing people hurts, especially when they’re your best people. But why do you lose them?

It’s called regrettable turnover – losing talent you really wanted to keep. They voluntarily leave, making your organization worse. So, why do you lose your top talent? The reasons they give are usually more money, a great opportunity they couldn’t pass up, or some other reason. They’re half-truths.

There’s one real reason: they aren’t getting the right coaching from their leader. I have a thousand examples of this, but here’s one to illustrate it.

Yesterday, one of my leadership coaching clients shared the exciting news she’s changing jobs. She’s a high performer, which is why I started working with her. I congratulated her, then asked what led to her decision.

She said, “I love to learn, but I’m not learning much. I’m given autonomy, but without much help with the problems I’m facing. And I also don’t feel like I have a path, or a mentor who really is investing in me to fulfill my potential.”

I said, “Yeah, that makes sense. But to give the complete picture, what have you been getting?”

“I’ve gotten help with accomplishing goals, thinking critically and poking holes, room to be creative and follow curiosity, and feeling I could vent and share struggles.”

She has taken the RESPECT Coaching Styles™ Assessment, and so I said, “Okay, let’s explore this from a coaching styles perspective.”

I asked her to share which coaching styles her leader is good at. She said, “Oh, the Rallier, Provocateur, Explorer, and Confidant.”

“Interesting, right? Your leader is good the goal-oriented Rallier, the hole-poking Provocateur, the curiosity-led Explorer, and the empathy-oriented Confidant. Does that sound familiar?”

The Coaching Styles Realization

The lightbulb went off for her; that’s exactly what she experienced as her leader’s strengths!

Then I said, “Let’s look at why you’re leaving. You said, you aren’t improving your skills and knowledge, aren’t getting help with problems, and aren’t getting help fulfilling your potential.”

I continued, “That’s exactly what the three missing styles do. The Educator is all about you upleveling your skills, the Strategist helps you solve tough problems, and the Transformer helps you fulfill your potential. You’re leaving because your leader isn’t using all seven styles!”

She was blown away at how simple and clear the RESPECT Coaching Styles™ makes it, and frankly, so was I.

When I discovered the RESPECT Coaching Styles™ a few years ago, I thought it was just for coaches to use with their clients. Quickly, I realized it’s how leaders coach their directs too, and it’s being rapidly adopted in countless organizations.

But until this conversation, I didn’t realize it’s not only useful for developing talent, but it’s the lack of using the styles that loses talent. In that moment I had a wave of realization that made sense of the thousands of conversations over my 25 years of coaching.

People leave jobs primarily because their leader lacks the full array of the RESPECT Coaching Styles™ and the benefits they provide. That’s the core of it.

See for yourself!

Why People Really Leave

Here’s what a lack of styles creates:

Lack of Rallier:

  • “I’m not really making progress on anything.”
  • “I’m just not that motivated at work.”
  • “My boss doesn’t follow-up on things.”

Lack of Educator:

  • “I’m not learning anything.”
  • “I don’t feel like my skills are improving.”
  • “I just feel stagnant in my role right now.”

Lack of Strategist:

  • “I feel like I’m not getting help on problems.”
  • “There’s no plan or priorities.”
  • “We don’t work on fixing broken systems and processes.”

Lack of Provocateur:

  • “We make bad decisions that aren’t well thought out.”
  • “I’m not challenged.”
  • “There’s a lack of ownership on the team.”

Lack of Explorer:

  • “I never get time to be creative.”
  • “I feel stuck in a mental rut. It’s monotonous.”
  • “I feel like I just need to do something new.”

Lack of Confidant:

  • “I feel like my boss doesn’t really care about me.”
  • “I don’t feel I can be truly honest with them.”
  • “My boss doesn’t listen.”

Lack of Transformer:

  • “They aren’t investing in me.”
  • “I don’t know my career path here.”
  • “I’m not going to fulfilling my potential here.”

These are the reasons people REALLY leave, or at least start looking for other opportunities. It’s what has them pick up their heads, see what’s out there, or take recruiter calls.

Money Isn’t the Real Motivator

Sure, they’ll say it’s more money, and that’s a motivator to a point. But think of all the times you or people you know are happy to work in a job knowing you could get more money elsewhere! If you have great leadership where you’re getting all of these coaching styles from your leader, you’ll grow and get promoted into more money…from within the company! You won’t want to or have to leave!

In summary, why do people really leave? Leaders lack the skillful use of all seven RESPECT Coaching Styles™. Lacking of one or more of them will leave employees dissatisfied and cause them to look or leave…especially your high potential or high performing ones.

To learn more about the RESPECT Coaching Styles™ for you or your leaders, reach out to us or take the RESPECT Coaching Styles™ Assessment to find out your strengths and areas of improvement today!

David Morelli, PhD

David Morelli, PhD

David is the CEO and co-founder of OwlHub and the creator of the RESPECT Coaching Styles™. He has 25 years of executive coaching and leadership development experience. When he's not inspiring people to grow, you can find him making a fool of himself onstage as an improviser.