Category Archives: Coaching
175: How to Know When to Move On
I sent out a note to a number of people in the Coaching for Leaders community last week and asked a single question: “What are you struggling with?” to discover how to best serve you this year. A couple of people wrote back with comments and questions that centered around this theme: how do I know when to move on from a position?
A revised edition of the HBR Guide to Coaching Employees is now available, and although I’m hardly an objective critic I think it’s a substantial improvement on the original.
I wrote the Introduction, Why Coach?, as well as Giving Feedback that Sticks and Help People Help Themselves, on self-coaching, and I’m really proud to be associated with this volume.
The most obvious change is a more compact, reader-friendly format (5″ x 9″), but there a number of revisions to the contents as well:
For the final show of the year, I was thrilled to welcome my friend Donna Schilder back to the show. Donna has been running a very successful coaching practice for many years and we’ve worked together on a number of projects in the past. She was most recently on episode 101 to teach us how to get the most from LinkedIn.
She detailed five power steps we can all take in order to handle bad behavior in meetings. The audio and notes are here and be sure to also check out the link at the bottom of this page from Donna with the downloadable PDF with even more details on the five steps.
Sadly but inevitably, a common issue in my coaching practice is helping leaders decide whether or not to fire a senior team member. These decisions are always difficult ones–the clear-cut situations resolve themselves and tend not to take up time in a coaching session. Generally speaking, I see four typical scenarios: 1) a gifted individual contributor who’s struggling as a new (or newly promoted) manager, 2) a trusted and well-liked early-stage employee who’s failing to keep pace with the company’s growth, 3) a highly talented but abrasive exec who’s alienating other senior team members, and 4) a recent hire who’s not fitting in with the company’s culture.
I don’t offer advice on whether any given individual in one of these scenarios can be saved or whether they and the company need to part ways. When working with a client who’s wrestling with one of these decisions, it’s essential for me to bear in mind how little I know about the specifics of each case and the individuals involved, and it would be presumptuous to recommend a course of action on the basis of my observations and assumptions.
Instead, the role I play as a coach in these situations is focused on helping my clients sift through all the available data (specifically including their intuitive and emotional responses) that will help them reach a decision. I seek to build a trusting relationship so that I earn the right to ask tough questions. I interpret and reflect back a client’s answers to those questions, so they can assess the quality of their thinking. And I often role-play difficult conversations with them, to help them prepare for a range of outcomes. This isn’t to say that I don’t share opinions or provide feedback–I do. But the emphasis is on asking questions such as these:
Steve Jobs said, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.” Since many of us start thinking about goal-setting this time of year, it’s the right time to hear from Allison Clarke on five ways to avoid living with regret.
Allison’s book, What Will They Say? 30 Funerals in 60 Days*, was our topic of conversation on this week’s show. Check out her Facebook page for a little inspiration on the actions she’s taking for her own 90-day challenge. Here are the full show notes and audio with all five principles we discussed. Thank you Allison, for reminding us about what’s most important.
Six Ways to Recover From a Bad First Impression
This week I welcome John Corcoran back to Coaching for Leaders. You don’t get to have worked in a place like the White House (as John has) without knowing a bit about how to handle situations with people and building your network. John recently wrote How to Recover From a Bad First Impression and came onto the show this week to discuss the six strategies he outlined. Here’s the notes and audio.
Getting Better at Getting Better
At least once a month an ambitious and hard-working person in their 20s asks me, “Should I get an MBA?” I earned my MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in 2000, and since 2007 I’ve been an Instructor and an internal coach back at the GSB, helping hundreds of students develop their leadership and interpersonal skills. Here’s how I respond to those inquiries… Read the rest at HBR.