“Coach to success”
As leaders, we often find ourselves in the middle of heated arguments between employees, or in the middle of the game of telephone on a communication misunderstanding. You know the “he said, she said” game. A client of mine, Liz, shared this all too familiar scenario in a recent workshop.
She had two shift supervisors that reported to her. As with most shift operations, the two did not get along. Fingers were pointed at the opposing shifts, with team members often blaming the other shift for mistakes. Liz chose to proactively lead her team through this conflict. Instead of allowing the blame game to continue, she chose to coach the two team leaders to success.
The first step Liz took was getting the two team leaders together in the same room to hash through conflict together. Often when we get people in the same room where body language and words cannot be minced, it is much more difficult for the conflict to continue. They usually naturally find common ground. It’s hard to make eye contact with someone and call them names to their face. It’s much easier to assume goodwill when you are in physical proximity to one another, especially in a neutral setting where you are positioned along side one another. It promotes alignment. However, this approach did not resolve the conflict. While venting initially diffused the tension between the teams, a few weeks later, the team leaders were back to the old habits.
So, instead of the team approach, Liz flexed her approach to one-on-one coaching. Individually, she met with the two team leaders. She applied what she had learned about the GROW model for coaching – using Goals, Reality, Options, and the Will to gain commitment on the best path forward to address this conflict. She asked open-ended questions, actively listened, and promoted self-discovery. She listened for their ideas and root causes, and collaboratively brainstormed a plan for success together. She did not tell them what to do, rather asked them what to do to resolve the shift conflict, and got out of their way so they could solve the problem themselves.
Liz had success with one of her shift leaders. The leader started coming in early to transition shifts, modeled positive behavior for her team to see what good looks like, and even began coaching her own team through conflict with powerful questions and listening.
However, the other team leader did not experience the same success. After several one-on-one coaching discussions, the leader did not want to change. She did not want to collaborate with the other shift leader. She did not want to model positive behavior for her team. She was afraid to be vulnerable and not know the answers for her team. This prevented her from success. In the end, Liz held her accountable, and the other leader she self-selected to leave the organization. But because Liz had continued to coach her, and hold her accountable, the leader was able to make that choice. It just was not a good job fit for her. It became clear to the leader that she was not willing to commit to behaviors that fit the culture for the organization, and enabled a smooth transition for Liz to promote a new leader to the position. That leader resolved the shift to shift conflict with the other leader. A win-win came out of a conflict scenario.
Coaching is a subject that is near to my heart. It’s not a coincidence that my coaching business name is Help Your Team Grow. We help teams grow by developing leaders and coaching women to build winning career game plans. What I have found in my coaching and workshops, and through Liz, is that leaders that coach to success, have better business results.
How will you GROW your team?