“Paul needs some leader skills, and fast! His people are frustrated with him and results are lagging. Paul was identified as high potential early in his career and he was successful in several positions. Now he has to lead a larger, more diverse team and is floundering. His ability to influence is lacking, and when his employees don’t do things his way, he gets pretty upset. I think one direct report is ready to quit. He says he wants to do better, but I am not sure how to get him over this hurdle.”
Successful coaching requires the client to be as on board and committed as the coach. With Paul and his manager, we identified and agreed upon objectives and clarified responsibilities. As coaches, we hold the individual accountable for actions agreed upon during coaching, while the manager is responsible for holding the person accountable for performance.
With the use of a few assessment techniques, we were able to quickly take the conversation to a deeper level and identify the primary cause of the leadership challenge. For Paul, it was being unaware other people can have different working styles. While he, his manager and one direct report were uncannily similar, the others were quite different. He had a more traditional management mindset and work ethic, and didn’t understand “those millennials.”
After learning more about engagement and Gallup® strengths, he started understanding why one of his employees might be more motivated if she had more input into how she completed her work. For Paul, consistency and structure were imperative, but he came to understand that consistency of the “what” not the “how” matters more. We talked through new ways of approaching staff meetings, and specifically discussed how to share his vision to the team and seek their input. As Paul was pushed to lead in ways that were outside his comfort zone, he knew he could call his coach for advice and encouragement.
Paul’s employees began responding positively to his new methods and that reinforced the changes in his behavior and thoughts. We also discussed strategies to reduce and manage stress. Unsolicited, I heard from others in the organization about changes they saw in Paul in only a few months. He was calmer, more focused and engaged. His direct reports not only wanted to stay in the department, but their performance improved so significantly that they earned well-deserved promotions.