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Chapter 24. Coaching Employees Through T... > CASE STUDY: A Positive Learning Expe...

CASE STUDY: A Positive Learning Experience

  Marvin learns from the production manager that Tony has designed new forms for the supervisors to report production results and that they are unhappy about all of the changes. He finds Tony in the hallway talking with Sherry and two other co-workers. He says, “Tony, when you finish here, will you check with me in my office?”

“Sure, Marvin. We just finished and I want to tell you about what Sherry and I have done anyway.”

When Tony and Marvin return to Marvin’s office, Marvin says, “Before you tell me about your project, let me share something with you. Franklin was just in here telling me about your new forms and how the supervisors are resisting the changes. I’m unhappy about this because I thought we agreed you would clear any new forms with me before implementing them. Was that our agreement?”

“Uh, yeah, I guess I got excited about our ideas and forgot to check it out with you. I’m sorry.”

“That’s okay, Tony. We all make mistakes. I remember that my first week on the job here I got so excited about the project I was working on that I did some work that was only supposed to be done by someone with security clearance. I had the security team all over me!”

“You’re kidding!”

“Nope. I really did. So you’re telling me that in your excitement you just forgot to clear your ideas with me and I can understand that. How can you get the supervisors to calm down and work with you on this?” “I think it would be a good idea for me to tell them that I jumped the gun a little and apologize for not communicating with you and them about our ideas before presenting them with a new form.”

Marvin responds, “That might do it, Tony. I’ll help you out by meeting with all of you to provide moral support. About all I will say is that you are helping me to figure out ways to make our reporting more useful.” (Pause) “How can you make sure something like this won’t happen again?” Tony answers, “I think it would be a good idea for me to meet with you each week to discuss our progress rather than submitting a written report like I was doing.”

Marvin says, “Good idea. Let’s do it.”

  Obviously, this approach takes a few more minutes than scolding Tony in the hallway, but the outcome is well worth the extra time and effort. Tony will have gained respect for Marvin because he handled the situation so skillfully and because he revealed a little of his own imperfections. Tony also will have less fear about accepting new responsibilities and being accountable for his decisions and actions when he knows his boss will handle mistakes in this positive coaching manner. Marvin has added to his self-empowerment by turning a problem into an improvement in his relationship with Tony, and Tony’s project is more likely to conclude successfully. [*]

[*] For additional ideas on improving your coaching skills as part of your self-empowerment growth, read Coaching and Counseling by Marianne Minor, Crisp Publications.



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