Coaching – Sustaining Commitment

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January 14, 2016

I just finished a coaching call with Jorge, a senior vice president for a retail products company and responsible for opening outlet stores globally. This is my second round of coaching with him. Four years ago we began coaching after he attended a leadership development program and his focus was on softening some aspects of his strong personality while not diluting important characteristics that have made him successful.

He had been absolutely single-minded in his desire to accept feedback from his 360 skills and competencies assessment and we developed some behavioral approaches to help him soften his impact when his passion got the best of him. He was a star and within 6 months made the jump to senior vice president. I later had the great pleasure (and feedback) from a colleague of his who attended a leadership program I was facilitating and, when she learned who I was and had worked with Jorge said “Oh, you’re the Chris who worked with Jorge! He is amazing, what a complete turnaround!” I subsequently began coaching her as well.

Jorge and I connected again about five months ago and when we engaged in a second coaching contract. He was slipping back to some of his former behaviors. He noticed this (way to go, Jorge!) and said he needed a thought partner to sustain his commitment.

We conducted a new 360 for him to get fresh feedback. No surprises. He was seen as highly effective but had, at times, a bit of a gruff presence that didn’t always engender the close working relationships he needed to be effective in his expanded global role. We revisited his former coaching goals and how he would seek to modify his behavior. He also, once again, embraced bringing in two people as accountability partners. These would be people in a position to see him interact in day to day life (one direct report, one peer, plus his boss). His goals were the same: 1) Use people’s first names more often to further personal connections; 2) Spend a few moments preparing his concerns before walking into tough meetings (meetings where tensions were high and alignment wasn’t already gained); and 3) Ask himself before speaking: Why am I speaking, for me or for the benefit of the group or project? We had a follow-on coaching call after 6 weeks and he reported that things were working fairly well. He was keeping track of his goals on a notecard in his pocket and did 10 minute reflections (brief notes in a WORD file) once a week or two. This way, his goals were kept in front of him no matter how busy he was (he’s a multiple million miler flyer, so he stays very busy).

We had the chance to connect again today and get a progress report.

Things are going well, especially with his accountability partners. He chose a peer with whom he has to work closely, but their responsibilities do not always result in perfect alignment. That’s organization life. Still, Jorge reports that the quality of conversation between the two has made work life much easier as they can better understand each other’s demands. His direct report partner has also turned into a leadership thought colleague as they are learning together more and more about leadership effectiveness for themselves individually as well as within their groups. He’s becoming a leader coach, not just a boss.

For now, he says I might have worked myself out of a job, but that’s OK. We’re going to do a follow-up 360 in six months to help him sustain his development.

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BE BETTER NOW – A Leadership Call to Action – Take a moment right now to put your thoughts into action

  1. What is ONE ASPECT of your professional life that might benefit from more or different attention in this subject area (enhancing the impact you make on others)?
  1. What is ONE THING you could do TODAY that would move you more deliberately in this direction? The Behavior or action I could take (verb); I will…
  1. HOW will you ensure you are developing – WITH WHOM can you share this goal or add to your brain trust to hold yourself accountable?
  1. MAKE a 10 minute calendar appointment right now to check in with yourself on this topic next week (better yet – for each following week). Keep it practical – write brief notes on two questions only:
  • What clear steps did I take last week for my own development?
  • What will I focus on executing next week?

Need some thought partner time? – Call/email at 336.918.8415 chris.evans@nullchristopherevans.org

Practical – Relevant – Immediately Useful