“I was just passed over for a promotion. Even though I deliver amazing results, people don’t always want to work with me. Until I learn to work more collaboratively, I’ve plateaued. I know sometimes I should delegate more, but I am not sure I trust others to do the job. Sometimes, I may not communicate as well as I should – that takes time and, frankly, I don’t have it. I like my company and I will do whatever it takes to get the job done. I guess I need to learn to do that differently if I want to advance. It is hard to change what has worked well in the past.”
This was a tough situation because Sally was brilliant, a high achiever with impressive results, and yet, had been passed up for a promotion. What made coaching Sally successful was that she genuinely wanted to change. A coachable attitude is imperative for coaching to work. If a person refuses to admit there is a problem, even with evidence, or won’t alter their behavior, coaching isn’t the solution. In the couple of cases where this has occurred, we suggested to leadership that coaching be curtailed because it was a poor use of their resources.
In order to effectively coach Sally, we needed to better understand what she was specifically doing to cause people to be reluctant to work with her. Both the coaching and assessment had to be efficient and effective because everyone in the organization had a formidable workload. A 360 Flippen profile and interviews with colleagues shed light on the situation.
We identified poor project management and communication as the key issues we needed to address. It is profound how the lack of timely and thorough communication can harm a person’s effectiveness and reputation. The steps were simple, but effective, in turning the situation around. Together, we reviewed critical email streams to identify problematic patterns and specific improvements. We discussed new ways to facilitate meetings so others felt included. Providing regular appreciation and recognition became her new routine. Simple but powerful shifts in behavior (chosen to complement her natural talents), along with different project management techniques, led to the promotion Sally desired in just four months.