Contributed by Alisa Cohn, Executive Coach


Beth is the Senior Vice President of Global & Internal Communications for a consumer product company. “As a title it does not roll off the tongue,” Beth says. “But they wouldn’t let me do Communications Guru.”

Beth is fun, a bit self-deprecating (“that’s my British wit,” she always says) and has an incredible work ethic. She knows the business of communication deeply and is known as a leader in her domain – she serves on external panels and is constantly being asked to speak at innovation conferences. Beth is the kind of boss you brag about: emotionally intelligent, personable, getting you to think you can stretch yourself and giving you all the credit when you do.

Jeremy, The CEO, thinks Beth is terrific. “I want her to be more visible. I actually want to bring her onto my Executive Committee. We are dying for the comms experience, and bringing another qualified woman into the group would be fantastic. But Beth is too narrow. I haven’t seen her think in a broad and strategic way, about the business, not just the common solution. I’ve also noticed that she shies away from new ideas that she doesn’t get immediately.  For Beth to advance she needs to get out of her comfort zone.”

All of us have a tendency to fall into our routines – it’s a natural and efficient way to work. You can’t get anything done if you are constantly reinventing yourself. You have developed your skills and talents over 20, 30 years. You have gotten a lot of positive reinforcement for being successful with these attributes. They don’t just feel “comfortable” to you, they feel like the most natural, right thing in the world.

Beth had all sorts of good reasons for being in her comfort zone. No time to reflect and take stock. The feeling that her existing expertise is what made her successful. (In fact, a good signal that you are in your comfort zone is that when multiple people ask you to get out of your comfort zone you defend your right to be there.)

For your growth as a professional, you need to develop strategies that will lead you out of your comfort zone so you can grow. Try these: Commit to being uncomfortable; practice new skills; create opportunities that will not-so-gently nudge you into the abyss.  Read More: Getting out of your comfort zone


About Alisa Cohn. I am an Executive Coach who helps executives and other leaders be more successful. We work together to hone your leadership and communication so you get more of what you want out of your team. You will sell your ideas more easily and put those ideas into action faster. I also conduct leadership and management training and plan and facilitate off sites. If you want to discuss these topics or any others for your organization, email me at or call me at 347-394-3573. You can check out past newsletters, my articles, and stay up to date by going to my website: