Following the restructure of a leading Construction company, a senior director, recently promoted, was frustrated and concerned by his professional relationships. His company engaged a coach to unbundle career blocks and build strategies to allow the director to assimilate into the new role and embed positive behaviours. Three way contracting with the client, the organisation and an experienced coach identified the need to operate more strategically, strengthen emotional agility and improve political awareness.
As a warmly enthusiastic and imaginative leader capable of seeing endless possibilities, he made connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently based on the patterns he saw. However, despite his persuasive ability to bring others along with him, his enthusiasm for any given task or project rapidly faded. A trait noticed by others and which contributed to a decreased desire to collaborate and support joint initiatives.
It was also the case that others felt his questioning style was confrontational.
Combined with a tendency to overextend his commitments i.e. not saying no to interesting possibilities and people. There was also a perceived tendency to not obtain sufficient detail prior ‘jumping to a conclusion’. This was a further irritation to his more structured and detailed conscious peers, who questioned his decision-making skills.
He also wrestled with his need to be liked by others and therefore would on occasion fail to treat them with due consideration, sensitivity and respect whilst maintaining a professional distance.
Impact of Coaching
Through the one to one coaching, he came to understand the sources of his frustrations. He realised that whilst people viewed him as gregarious, personable and sociable they did not always like hearing what was on his mind, felt he lacked aspects of a strong, inspiring leader. At times colleagues felt his enthusiasm overwhelmed them and there were underlying doubts about the quality of his decision making process.
Over the course of the 12 months programme he made a quantum shift. He became highly skilled at reading the politics of a situation and modifying his behaviour to create a more effective impact. Recognising when to accept that someone may be unhappy with a decision; that a win-win is not always possible to achieve as a leader. He learnt how to remain focused on tasks for sustained periods by, amongst other strategies, effectively delegating rather than simply assigning tasks. He learnt through experimentation and reflection, when face to face communication may be intrusive or unnecessary; to ask others for their input and to remain open to important details he might otherwise ignore.
Positive feedback at agreed 'weigh points’ throughout this sustained coaching programme, from both the managing director and his senior colleagues, supported the individuals strong opinion that this had been a highly valuable assignment, delivering positive changes for him and his organisation.