A senior manager, within a leading Commercial Property organisation was moved to a specialist customer focused role. This change drew on their areas of expertise and was designed to enhance the firms overall businesses offering. It was a ‘make or break ‘opportunity for him to fully integrate within the regional team, to embrace the company’s new business initiatives and adopt the changing culture. His move had ruffled a few feathers internally and externally. The new role also necessitating being relinquished of his managerial responsibility.
Formerly an experienced project manager and with considerable sector knowledge in a growing discipline; the senior manager displayed a number of characteristics associated with technical roles. His high level of compliance with process, a task-oriented drive for perfection and results coupled with a strong sense of pride in doing a job well led him to inadvertently alienate others by doing tasks himself if they failed to respond promptly.
Neither did he ‘suffer fools gladly’. This was often evident in his dealings with others and on occasion extended to his line manager (an ally and advocate who saw unexploited potential in him) as well as board members whom reported a ‘resistant attitude’ to new efficient ways of operating.
Feeling marginalised and isolated from his function, the senior manager retreated further into his work. This increased his isolation from the team, deepened his despondency and feelings of being disengaged with the business. As a result, he was notably underperforming in the new role. His management were now seriously concerned about his future within the organisation.
Impact of Coaching
Through a focused coaching programme, he came to understand that his historical, individualistic and uncompromising styles continuously reinforced his belief and self-perception ‘I am right’. This embedded attitude reinforced inappropriate behaviours and strong reactions to events and people.
Undertaking a course of 6 x 2 hour, one to one coaching sessions, over a six-month period he came to realise how acting defensively, guided by fear, had almost created a self- fulfilling prophecy i.e. loss of employment. Spurred on by the realisation he could ‘choose his response’ to any given situation or engagement with another person, he identified a pattern of behaviour which triggered his own fears. Over time and with experimentation, practice and further analysis he identified improved ways of behaving and thinking which enhanced his communication skills.
As a result, he significantly improved his levels of motivation and engagement with the new role. He began to feel happy with his role. He learnt new skills to handle difficult customers and to collaborate effectively with others thus earning the respect and trust of his colleagues. As a result, he successfully transitioned into a unique specialist role which fully utilised his skill set and knowledge and remains a valued and respected member of the organisation.