Coaching Case Study: Communication Style is Coachable

And the results are often very satisfying to companies, teams and everyone involved

selective color photography of person holding orange gas smoke standing on snow

Most of my clients come to me because their organizations recognize the need for development of particular skills or attitudes to take the next step forward. 

Occasionally, I work with clients who may have displayed some behavior that violated the ethos of the organization or had become a problem for colleagues. 

This client had a great relationship with the leaders of the organization.  He worked hard, delivered as promised, was pleasant, and responsive to their requests.  His communication style to those above him was considered an asset.  However, his approach to colleagues, subordinates, and contractors had become a problem.   The 360-degree evaluation was a bitter pill. 

He did not realize how he was viewed and the impact it was having on others.

As with a significant portion of my coaching clients, he was technically accomplished.  He was the only person in the organization with the knowledge and ability to deliver on his portfolio.  He often was the repository of organizational history given his tenure and had the ability to understand the silo effect of the various departments.  Once we got past the sting of the comments, we dug into his approach to his colleagues and the departments that he served.  Over time, he could recognize that his language in emails could be off-putting or that comments intended to be helpful were taken as intrusive.  Throughout, he stressed his allegiance to the organization, the desire to deliver top-notch projects, and the goal of bringing attention and prominence to the organization as a leader in the field. 

By the time our coaching engagement ended, he had tailored his approaches to colleagues and was seen as more of a team player and not the know-it-all that many of those in the organization easily dismissed. 

Coaching signals respect and value. These types of engagements are highly satisfying.

Michael Riegel is a coach, speaker, trainer, author, and a technical professional who has built and led project teams to deliver large-scale projects and programs. He advocates for enhancing leadership and management skills with technical professionals.

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