Many organizations have found that promising, talented middle managers, leaders or solo performers seem occasionally to get stuck. Their effectiveness erodes and there is a question about their future value to the organization. Their performance becomes undermined by any of the following behaviors:
- They function like lone wolves even when they need to engage with others
- They antagonize others by their abrasive talk and behavior
- They seem unable to coach and mentor others to support their development, success and value to the organization
- They become known for breaking confidences or playing politics
- They have fallen behind in technical or professional knowledge or skills
- They are unable to hear or be guided by constructive criticism
The result is that talented people become liabilities, demotivate others around them and may derail their own careers – and squander the investment made in them by their organizations.
We have helped countless organizations by providing carefully designed coaching services based on engaging the at-risk employee in a discovery process, setting new goals and practicing new behaviors. We serve as both accountability points and supportive coaches from our position outside the organization’s hierarchy.
We begin with a meeting of the employee and the performance manager during which we set overall goals and outline the project. We gather information using either a 360 instrument or confidential interviews, or both, depending on the need. This information is presented to the employee alone in an anonymous compilation and it is frankly and caringly discussed. Specific goals are set and action steps are developed. We continue to meet with the employee for a designated period, and together we monitor progress. After a designated time, we both meet with the manager to discuss changes noted and further need for improvement.
This process provides the employee with an effective “practice field” and a coach who customizes the practice. Time and again, the organization salvages a valuable person.