A senior manager from a major international organisation was in line for promotion. There were reservations about her behaviour in meetings and her ability to optimise a diverse set of team members and cross functional working teams.
The manager was recognised widely as an independent problem solver, who excelled at providing detached, concise analysis.
However, she was intolerant of people who thought more slowly than herself and reacted poorly to those suggesting ideas she felt were ‘not logical’ Her intolerance extended to peer managers, executive leaders as well as to members of her own team. On occasion she was also insensitive to the needs of others for appropriate emotional support.
A 360 feedback survey identified a strong perception amongst senior managers she did not demonstrate the ability to listen to other people’s view point or understand the validity of their concerns for future changes. In particular how these changes would impact the people and the values espoused by the organisation.
Impact of Coaching
The senior manager came to understand the source of her intolerance and to realise the effect that it was having on her career. She came to see that while people admired her innovative, logical and creative thinking, they had come to fear her sharpness and use of sarcasm.
Following 8 x 2 hour, one to one coaching sessions over a period of nine months, she developed a more considerate approach to others. She took the time to explain herself clearly rather than assuming they had understood; actively listened when others were talking, sought to understand their point of view and adapted her communication style to suit the recipient. This significantly improved her interpersonal and people management skills. She received her promotion and has sustained the improvements initiated during the coaching programme; embedding them into her leadership tool kit.
The manager and her organisation found the coaching intervention invaluable and a cost effective intervention where both parties were able to significantly benefit.