team building leadership organization development expert michael cardus

One of the favorite parts of my job is the chance to work with people in a 1 on 1 basis in a form of coaching.

This is generally part of the Exponent Leadership Process, or a managerial-leader is looking for some 1 on 1 development, or high potentials in the organization can use personal / professional development.

BUT sometimes coaching is forced on an employee by their manager because they are having a tough time with a new position or their existing manager just does not know what to-do, and many other reasons.

The people I meet with for coaching are skilled, smart, driven and overall great people and sometimes say, “I don’t really need any extra training or development what I am doing is fine.”

Okay, when that happens what do you do as an executive coach?

Here is the scenario
  • They don’t feel they need any coaching and development.
  • Their manager feels they need coaching and development.
  • They have been successful thus far doing what they have done.
  • Their manager feels they can be more successful and the organization is investing in them.
  • You have signed a long term agreement to coach this person.
What do you do?

You work with it, and realize that resistance is futile and natural and that you have some guidance and goals already established.

When, as a manager or coach, someone just does not want to change or improve and their manager feels they need to change and improve here are some questions.

Questions to ask when the person does not want coaching

Understood you don’t feel this is needed, what do you think your manager sees that you are not noticing?
Understood you don’t feel this is needed, what do you think your subordinates see that you are not noticing?
I understand you would rather not be here. What is the reason you decided to come here, in spite of that? from Coert Visser
What kind of things do you value about your work? When are these values beneficial to what you want to accomplish? If we could develop  / enhance an area of your work you value the most, would you find this time valuable?
What must your boss see, in concrete terms, you doing in order to say that we can stop this coaching agreement?
You rated yourself a 10 out of 10 in x, obviously you are an expert…if we were to ask your manager that same scaling questions where would s/he place you?
You rated yourself a 10 out of 10 in y, obviously you are an expert…if we were to ask two of your peers the same scaling questions where would they place you?
If your (manager or peers) reported to me in 2 months that you are 3 steps higher on the same scale, what would they tell me you are doing more of? Differently? How would they notice?
Have you spoken with your manager (or the person who has recommended the coaching) and asked them what is expected of you? Let’s pretend you did that, what would they tell you?
Looking back at your career, you have been successful, how did you make that happen?
What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work? How did you learn to do that?
If we could end this coaching agreement tomorrow, tell me what would your manager notice when you walked in the office tomorrow morning that s/he did not notice this morning?
We are together for x amount of time, what is the best way to use this time?
I met with your manager and asked them the following questions (share the questions and responses as appropriate) and this is what they feel is important for us to focus on. I am curious what do you think is important for us to focus on?
Once we can make some small progress on the areas you want to focus on, how should we report the results to your manager?
In the past when you completed a task you did not want to complete, how did you make it actionable? What steps did you take to complete it quickly and accurately? How did you share your results with your manager / subordinates / team?
Huh…from our earlier discussions I was excited to see how you were able to be so successful so fast.
Understood you are busy and have too much going on right now for this coaching agreement. How do you suggest we make this work? Here are some suggestions a) short real-time field assignments and you send me an email weekly; b) One phone call a week that will last 10 – 15 minutes, I email you the questions and you respond on the call; c) I buy you lunch twice a month and during lunch you come prepared to share and cover what you are working on; d) I join you in your office and work-day for 4 hours a month and in real-time coach and work with you to achieve the results that your manager and you have chosen.
Okay you do not want this coaching and development time, understood. Now the conversation has to happen about how to best report this to your manager. What do you suggest? What should you tell her? What should I tell him? How do you want me to respond when s/he asks; why? What will you tell her when she asks; why?
Ultimately people must always have a choice

Allow them to choose and work with that. In the end if they refuse, they refuse and that is okay. Meet with the company contact and the manager who hired you, speak kindly about the person and the company then move on. Maybe the person is already perfect and cannot improve, and maybe you are just the wrong person to work with…

Treat everyone like an adult; do all that you can; let people choose.

If you feel bad or rejected like Alan Weiss says “Get a Dog”

What do you think?

If someone is being resistant to your coaching and development what do you do? As a manager what works when someone feels they know everything? Are the questions above useful, how so?

image by kennymatic