Coaching within organisations is especially effective when working with highly motivated individuals who want to improve themselves on every level, but what happens when there are people who are perceived as not motivated, stubborn, angry and are just not up to the job? I have recently experienced three individuals who “fit” into this “I don’t want to” category from a plc, a limited £20m company and a smaller £7m limited company.
It is becoming increasingly popular to understand behavioural sciences to create more engaged and productive employees. HR and LD professionals also need to develop a greater understanding of how to utilise and embed these insights into their people strategies to increase great business performance. Main areas for behavioural context are:
- develop employee resilience to adapt to change
- use insights to build emotionally intelligent organisations
- drive engagement and organisational performance through strengths-based development
- develop a culture that allows employees to reach their full potential.
I want to pick up on the strengths-based development piece and culture that allows individuals to reach their full potential. I have many years’ experience and qualifications in Neuro Linguistic Programming, Mindfulness, Clean Language (psychotherapeutic approach to coaching) Cognitive Behavioural Coaching, coaching executives and leaders across the UK…but all of the bells, whistles and my experience means absolutely nothing, zilch if I am not able to treat and respect the individual I am working with as an equal! This is a great starting place, a level playing field, a respect for space, race, gender, talents seen or hidden and differences in style or indeed the way of doing things.
Having a real and deep understanding of what and how my coachee wants to develop and do more of in terms of behavioural personal goals has everything to do with inclusion, motivation and personal focus. I quickly uncovered key themes from the two individuals from plc and the £10m limited company I refer to. Interestingly, both individuals were being affected by direct line managers and through the longer line of command. Affected in the sense that they both needed a collaborative, inclusive approach. They both had very different styles of work in comparison to their boss but still performed at an acceptable level. They were both “perceived” as lacking emotional connection in the business. They both were described as “sharp” and lacking a level of energy and connection within the business.
Interestingly both individuals were both technically capable. They’d both enjoyed skills competency assessment from within their respective company – this was not an issue for the “paymasters”
Of course you’ll know there are always two sides to the coin. I loved working with both individuals (please remember we’re talking about two very different organisations here, but the key themes are the same!) It was interesting to listen to their experiences and how they felt their strengths were not being calibrated. Not being allowed to.
It was intriguing to listen and observe highly motivated individuals in a 1:1 session with me, sharing their sense of values, inclusion and higher purpose; and yet these personal motivations were not being displayed nor observed within the organisation. How they wanted to make a difference but felt their hands were tied. Felt their ideas were not listened to. Thought they’d been written off and the reason for me, the external coach was to manage them out of the business! I quickly reminded both of them that I’m not in the business of managing out, rather believing that everyone in the right role with the right skills are extremely capable….sometimes we all can do with a bit of coaching along the way.
Both shared that they had so much more to give, but based on their past and recent experiences they had silenced themselves. They were just going through the motions. Of course there were real personal actions which both took on board over 6-8 sessions working with me around their ability to be the change they wanted to see happen. How they can influence, communicate and articulate their passion and ideas for the business. After all that’s all we are, communication.
Both leaders of the two individuals I worked with were asked to join a 3-way coaching conversation. Me, the individual & the boss! It was wonderfully liberating to see the pain and power of feedback in flow. As a team we developed measurable personal goals along with challenging, robust business objectives which all linked nicely to the bigger picture of the organisation – but more importantly playing to the major strengths of my coachee and both individuals taking their equal share of responsibility to make change happen. I mean real embedded personal change.
Already there are breakthroughs with the “culture”, the way we do things around here. I don’t need to fill in the gaps here because you’ll already know – the personal change from all four involved, honesty, feedback, appreciation of skills/talent, listening, engaging, inclusive and allowing space for different styles and approach is quite profound!
What about the other individual from the £7M limited company? Following over 10 sessions with this individual it became very clear that his chosen behaviours suited him just fine. He had no appetite to take a new bite of the cherry, neither was he willing to understand or even listen to feedback that had been sought from throughout the business. He chose not to want to develop his skills or really dig deep searching for personal behavioural goals he’d like to work on. He was happy with his lot. He was unwilling to satisfy the key performance indicators which were relevant for his role. He decided that bringing his skills to an acceptable level didn’t matter as he’d always find someone else to do the work and yet wanted all of the perks associated with a “senior management role”. He didn’t want to work with people and have direct reports. H edidn’t want to embrace new opportunities.
As a leader of people what would you do?
Coaching for performance works brilliantly when there is a willing individual involved even if competency skills are developing. With this last individual I stepped away. It would have been so much more effective and productive if the organisation had captured these trends and behaviours well before I arrived. I’m not quite sure what he’s doing now but he’s certainly not part of this vibrant, inclusive and motivated team.
Leaders of people it is your role and responsibility to get the very best out of your people by understanding and taking the time to uncover what really motivates your people. What are their higher purposes in life? Are they living and fulfilling their core values? Is everyone engaged and on the bus? If you haven’t already engaged with an executive coach then appoint one with the relevant experience and skills to suit you.
And after giving everyone a fair, equal, inclusive opportunity to develop themselves, their skills and behaviours….they still don’t want to play…..ask them to get off the bus and continue on your way.
About the author
Hayley Phipps is a behavioural coach working at middle, senior, management and leadership level. She is an accomplished teacher of the Institute and Leadership & Management ILM 5 qualifications in Management & Leadership and Coaching & Mentoring offered by www.pro-tential.co.uk
You can reach Hayley at her personal email address Hayley.Phipps(at)pro-tential.co.uk
Hayley speaks often to small and large audiences alike with the key theme of “coaching for performance -it starts with you first”. She is an accredited coach with diplomas with distinction in exective coaching and personal coaching, She is a practitioner with NLP and Mindfulness. Hayley is a qualified practitioner in the leadership psychometric measure designed and developed by psychologists at Hull University, the profile ILM72. Her background is commercial in senior leadership positions covering all aspects of sales, marketing, operations and finance. She continues to enjoy executive coaching assignments with worldclass organisations across the UK and Europe.