(Names have been changed to protect confidentiality)
“Bob” and I worked together for 2 years. Bob was at the level of Director, preparing for a promotion, when the opportunity presented itself for him to take on the role of Vice President for the 300-person organization. Below are some key areas we worked on together to facilitate this move:
- Managing impatience and general frustration
- Priority management
- Managing inappropriate expressions of anger
- Upgrading communication skills (verbal and written)
- Improving relationships with colleagues to be seen as a credible, valued, source of expertise
- Shifting from feeling overwhelmed to delegating more work
As a result of our work together, Bob developed strategies that allowed him to be more in control of his emotions. He became calmer, more relaxed. He was able to effectively delegate work and in the process, grow and develop key team members. These changes bolstered his confidence. His improved communication skills gained him more credibility with other leaders. This enhanced his overall leadership “presence.” His willingness to step up and create these shifts led to his eventual promotion to Vice President.
“Joe,” a successful businessman owned a number of companies in different sectors. He loved to acquire small companies and help to expand their operations. Here are some of the areas Joe wanted to work on together:
- Toning down assertive personal behaviors that caused others to be intimidated by him
- Dealing effectively with sticky people issues instead of wanting to “write them off”
- Effectively resolving conflicts versus ignoring key conversations
- Learning how to effectively facilitate group discussions
- Learning how to leverage strategic conversations
Joe learned more about how other people experienced him and the aspects of his personality that were creating distance with others. He worked at speaking less and listening more. Over time, he developed a greater understanding of his people, their ideas and strengths. This fostered trust within his teams. Joe learned how to address issues instead of stewing or avoiding. He worked to become a more collaborative leader of meetings, engaging others, asking questions and listening more. He learned simple stress-reduction techniques he could access when needed. He became a more compassionate and authentic leader.
“Barb” worked in the position of regional vice president in a national corporation. At first, one of her main goals was to simply carve out enough time to commit to the coaching sessions. The main focus for our calls in the beginning was a safe space for her to download her busy brain and to strategize about immediate challenges. Here are a few examples of the specific goals she eventually chose to zero in on:
- Designing and facilitating more engaging meetings and presentations
- Learning how to flex her communication style to create more rapport with introverted team members
- Practical stress reduction techniques she could use during the day if needed
- Discerning when to give direction and when to coach others to success
During the course of our partnership Barb learned how to slow herself down and be more present to others, making her communication more cogent. She became more effective at planning meetings, presentations and other communications keeping foremost in her mind the experience she wanted others to have of her during these interactions. Her leadership presence improved, as others felt more valued in her company. Most of the time she was able to lower her stress when it gripped her. She became more discerning about when to provide direction and when to seize coaching opportunities with her team members.
“Jeff,” a high-achieving professional in the Engineering sector, made the move into Project Management. In his new role, his mandate was to lead several teams to meet deadlines on a variety of commercial building projects. A brilliant mind with attention to detail, Jeff’s exceptional technical skills did not prepare him for all that can arise when managing others. His key area of focus was how to work effectively with teams toward shared goals. This included improving collaboration in:
- Co-creating project plans and deliverables with team members
- Creating consistent follow up and evaluation systems
- Creating more engaging, effective meetings
- Learning how to effectively coach others to performance
- Learning how to tailor communication to different leadership styles
Over time, Jeff transformed his leadership ability. He learned how to lead meetings that engaged others and how to genuinely listen. He gave team members the opportunity to lead meetings. He established a collaborative plan for deliverables and follow-up in conjunction with team members. He learned that his greatest strength of problem solving was his biggest barrier to engaging others. He stopped being the “go to” guy and learned how to support others to solve their own problems. He learned how to manage his need to get results quickly while bringing people along with him, strengthening relationships at the same time.