Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The August 2011 Leadership Development Roundtable Challenge: A Coaching Dilemma

The August Leadership Development Roundtable Challenge is being hosted by leadership coach extraordinaire Mary Jo Asmus.

Mary Jo wrote the challenge (based on a real case), selected the guest expert (Gwyn Teatro, from You're Not the Boss of Me), herded up the Roundtable responses, and is hosting a voting poll for readers to select their favorite answers and/or add their own comments. Voting results will be published next week.

Roundtable members are forced to keep their answers to 200 words or less, so we have to be direct and to the point - no looking at the situation from all angles. After last month's challenge, we decided to allow the Roundtable members to join the debate and add comments if they choose.

Roundtable members include myself, Mary Jo, Art Petty, from Management Excellence, Jennifer Miller, from The People Equation, Scott Eblin, from The Next Level, and new Roundtable member Sharlyn Lauby, from HRBartender.

BTW, you can use this handy gadget if you would like to subscribe to all of the Roundtable member blogs with one click:


Here's the challenge:

Linda, a department head has contacted you. She would like you to consider coaching one of her direct reports; a long-time manager who for some reason, is not getting the results expected of his team. Linda “likes and respects” this manager but believes he needs to step up his game to be more effective.

You meet with the manager, Rob, who expresses enthusiasm for working with you as his coach. You ask Rob about his challenges at work. He indicates that he has a difficult time getting his team to move ahead on initiatives in the department. He’s anxious but willing to have you interview his team to hear their perspectives on his management and leadership styles.

The interviews with Rob’s team indicate that he is confident and knowledgeable with the credentials to understand problems and provide appropriate solutions quickly. However the feedback also indicates Rob doesn’t respect the ideas of his team or engage them in decisions. His impatience with the team is obvious to them, and they rarely hear a good word from Rob about the work they do.

You and Rob set about to design a development plan for Rob including some goals to increase his listening skills, decrease his impatience, engage the team in problem solving, and be more outwardly appreciative of their efforts. It takes an inordinate amount of time for him to draft his plan because, as he says, “he’s just very busy”. Once the plan is in semi-final form, you both meet with Linda, who feels the development plan is definitely on the right track. She agrees to support Rob with monthly 1:1 meetings throughout the coaching engagement to check in on his progress.

You begin coaching Rob. After a month, nothing much happens. He isn’t meeting his milestones and indicates that he isn’t meeting with his manager. You encourage his engagement, remind him that the behavioral changes will change the level of motivation his team has to complete initiatives on time, and make his life easier. He seems agreeable.

Another month goes by. Rob is still not progressing. He’s obviously not doing between-meeting assignments that he committed to, and hasn’t had a meeting with Linda yet. Your level of discomfort is increasing because as Rob’s coach, you are sworn to protect the confidentiality of your client, preventing you from speaking with Linda about his lack of progress.

As Rob’s coach, what would you do at this point?

Go here to see our answers, vote, and comment!


1 comment:

Results Leadership Group said...

Very nice challenge! Really made me think, to be honest.