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No One is Perfect! – Part 2

One leader’s story of how accepting he is not perfect led to stronger working relationships

<This story is about one of ACG’s coaching clients, the name of the leader as well as other that may identify the leader or the organization has been changed. Read Part 1 of the story.>

Jack’s Meeting with the Coach

Prior to his meeting with the coach, Jack was provided a rolled up, summarized report of his assessment. Jack was given a few days to read and review the 360 report prior to the meeting. He was asked to come to the meeting with any questions or concerns about what he had read for discussion with the coach.

At the start of the meeting, Jack commented that he was surprised by much of what he had read in the report (which was in line with the fact that Jack’s self-assessment was in contradiction to what others had noted in their assessments of Jack.) Even though his conversation with the COO (see Part 1) had made it clear that he was not performing as expected, Jack still seemed surprised about the assessment results and the feedback he had been given. He hadn’t recognized the problem was not just the perception of his boss.

The coach reviewed the feedback with Jack. As part of this review, the coach asked Jack to recall interactions with peers, staff and his manager. As he recalled specific situations, the coach asked whether or not Jack perceived the interaction to be positive or one that might have been better managed considering the feedback he had received as part of the assessment.

In reflecting back on interactions, Jack was able to see how he could have better interacted with others to be more collaborative or, in the case of many of his employees, using better listening skills to engage employees. Here is one example:

Jack recalled a time when one of his employees did not perform as expected on a project to which he was assigned. In the meeting with the employee, Jack recalled that the employee was upset that he had failed at the project. Jack had already heard from his boss about the project and the boss was not happy. Rather than being empathetic, Jack recalled that he shouted at the employee that he was a failure and was solely responsible for the failure of the project. In reviewing the situation with the coach, Jack acknowledged that in assigning the employee to the project, he did not consider the employee’s skills and expertise; he assigned him because he was available to work on it. Additionally, during the time of assigning the employee to the project, Jack was traveling for work. He was unavailable to answer questions or help to solve problems that arose. In fact, Jack recalled one urgent phone call he received from the employee asking for help. Jack recalled that he told the employee to “work through it.” In hindsight, Jack realized that this failure was not the employee’s fault, but rather his own.

A number of similar reflections were discussed and analyzed throughout this initial coaching session and the next two sessions. Jack was beginning to understand where he needed to improve in how he interacted with and engaged others.

Jack and his coach scheduled the next meeting where Jack would come prepared to discuss an action plan for improving how he led his team and interacted with his peers and his manager.

Stay tuned for Part 3: Jack’s Action Plan

Part 4 will focus on: 6 Months Later – Jack’s Progress and Next Steps

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