What do you do as a coach or a manager when there’s a mismatch between talent and attitude? An HR director called me in to coach Lucy, an experienced senior manager in a city IT and software company. He said she was excellent at her job, but her attitude was terrible. While she was good at what she did, the pressing problem was that she was rude to people. She had a poor attitude towards company initiatives and so she was continually overlooked for promotion. If it didn’t improve, regardless of how much they valued her skills, it would be time for her to move on.
If elderly people are moved into sheltered accommodation or care homes, they suddenly face many problems, often including a sense of dislocation. It would be easy to discuss or investigate how bad this problem is, exactly what troubling effects it leads to, and other problem-focused lines of inquiry. Another option would be to do something worthwhile to give the new residents more of the feeing they want - of something familiar.
Mistakes are events you would rather have not happened (at least at the time), because the intention was to do something different, and the immediate consequence is most often unfavourable.
I like this story of a crisis handled by Hans Zeinhofer, who I met at a conference where delegates were discussing the application of solutions-focused ideas in organisations.
If you want change in your organisation, change the conversations
A brief history of coaching
Coaching has taken a couple of decades to establish itself as a profession and management tool. The rise of coaching means managers are pretty familiar with the idea of a structured dialogue with a colleague, usually one of the manager’s direct reports.
The coaching is typically aimed at sorting out a problem, clarifying goals or encouraging better performance.
Results vary, depending not only on the skill of the coach, but also on the approach that the coach decides to take. A lot of time gets wasted with problem-saturated approaches, and managers are missing wonderful opportunities to make a worthwhile difference.
Try these questions:
If you want results in your organisation, what's different about a solutions-focused approach? | Paul
In this short video Paul Z Jackson describes Solutions Focus as a 'comprehensive approach to change'. This means it offers something useful for any situation where people want something to be different and are willing to do something about it (even if they don't yet know precisely what that will be).