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A Coach for Your Boss

April 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:47 pm

A friend of mine recently asked me if I would coach his boss saying, “He really needs help, because he’s making everyone miserable.”

Of course, my  initial reaction was positive but I decided to ask a few questions first. Since I usually encounter a boss getting a coach for an employee  – the situation was bound to be awkward.

For example, does your boss want a coach? Does he know he’s making his employees miserable? Is ‘everyone’ really everyone, or just you? Maybe there’s a method to his madness.

My friend admitted he didn’t know the answers to all my questions, but he was adamant that his coworker needed help. I should note that the man in question is  his boss in title, but really a co-manager on pretty much equal footing at the company.

According to my friend he doesn’t see the problems he’s creating, and worse, sees coaching as an admission the he’s doing something wrong and needs to be fixed.

Fortunately my friend has a bit more enlightened view of my profession – if he didn’t I guess we wouldn’t be having the discussion.

I suggested several ways (some slightly tongue in cheek) we might be able to make it easier for his co-worker to see the light.

o   I could visit the company and give a management presentation for the whole staff, or just to managers since the company is relatively small.

o   I could just give him a brochure, to drop surreptitiously on his co-worker’s desk.

o   I could sign on as my friend’s coach in the hope that his fellow-employee would at least ask “who’s the new guy?”

o   He could approach their board of directors with a coaching proposal for all their managers – starting at the top.

o   He could just ask his co-worker if he would talk to me about what coaching was help him get through his misconceptions.

I don’t know what my friend will decide but my hope is that he will let me just talk to his co-worker about coaching and let him decide for himself. It’s almost impossible to be an effective coach if your client is not committed to the process, since you have to get past that fact that he was pushed into coaching before you can address any management issues.



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Insurance Idiocy

April 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:50 pm

An errant rock, thrown up by a truck on Route 80 in Berkeley , broke my windshield and has launched me into the Alice and Wonderland world of auto insurance.

Replacing the windshield at the local Toyota dealership will cost about $1,000. Replacing it with non-factory parts will cost about $300.

With a $250 comprehensive deductible, the obvious choice would be to make the claim, and let my insurer, State Farm,  pay. So when I call my local agent, where I have done business for over 15 years and never had a claim on my house or either car, I explain the economic incentive, and ask if there’s anything he can do to at least reward me for for doing the right thing and having the glass replaced at the lower cost.

The reaction: silence, … and more silence.

“I’m saving you $750 and there is absolutely nothing you can do about the $2500 in premiums I pay every  year for two cars and a home?” I ask.

“No, nothing,” is the only response.

If you wonder, why people are frustrated with insurance companies, and banks, there’s your answer. I don’t have time to to add more I’m off to the Toyota dealership.

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Negotiating an Ending

April 18, 2011

Filed under: Coaching,Management,observations — Tags: , , — admin @ 5:23 pm

Recently a new client posed a different kind of employment question. She’s a hi-tech executive working for a small private company where she is a partner – since she put up some original capital.

After 8 years, she would like to move on and has already been approached by a larger public company. We’re working on what she would like for pay and benefits, but to my surprise, she hadn’t given much thought to her exit strategy.

“My boss knows I’m unhappy, but he doesn’t care,” she says, “That’s why I want to leave.” I asked if she had tried to negotiate her departure, just like she was trying to work out a deal at the new company.

He response was a short, “Why bother,” adding that it would involve options, her original investment and a host of other issues she didn’t want to deal with. “I just want to see the look on his face when I walk in and quit,” she said.

I guess she didn’t really expect me to react, since she had asked me to help with her new job, not the old one. But I was slightly incredulous.

Why wouldn’t a negotiated settlement, with possible severance and recovery of some portion of her original investment be enough incentive to at least approach her current boss.

Her major worry was that she would be fired on the spot, a scenario that, after some evaluation, she concluded was not very likely.

She was so frustrated with her job that she was blinded to what she was leaving ‘on the table’ just for the short-term satisfaction of telling her boss off.

I pointed out that since she was just in her 30’s, leaving with at least a ‘non-negative’ settlement and her reputation intact was probably even more important than the financial aspects. I guess I got her attention and she has agreed to at least think about approaching her boss.

She’s fortunate in that she already has a new offer and not everyone can walk into their boss and demand a severance package, but it’s worth noting that how you leave a job can be just as important as how you start.

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JaMarcus Russell’s Coach

April 15, 2011

Filed under: Coaching,Management,observations,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — admin @ 7:08 am

I read with some interest this week that personal coach John Lucas has quit as an advisor to former NFL quarterback Jamarcus Russell.

JaMarcus Russell

What interested me was not the actual facts of the situation but more the online reaction. For you non-sports fans, I would point out that Mr. Russell was talented college football player drafted to the NFL and signed to a $40 million contract by the Oakland Raiders. After four unsuccessful seasons, where he was accused of being out of shape, unprepared and a poor leader, he was released and has not played since.

John Lucas is a former NBA player, and drug addict who has turned his life around and now, as a personal coach,  helps young athletes get their careers back on track. Lucas had been working with Russell in Texas.

Apparently, Lucas ‘fired’ Russell this week and has told the young man to leave Texas where Lucas is based.

Of the 60 or so comments I read, many focused on the sad state of Russell’s career, but more than a few reacted to the coaching relationship. Things such as, “If he needed a personal coach, he must have been in bad shape,” or ” Only losers would need a coach.”

I can’t vouch for Mr. Lucas’s  skill, although he has a pretty good track record, but it was a bit dismaying to hear that view of coaching. Does the general public feel that only people in tough situations need help or that coaches are a last-ditch method to get things turned around?

Personal coaches can help anyone with decision making – even coaches need a coach. The list of ways that a personal coach can help a client is endless.

Usually my reaction to situations like this is simply “any publicity is good publicity,” but it would seem that the coaching profession needs a little PR help.

Most of my clients don’t feel they are losers, but that’s not a particularly good sample, since they obviously are already using a coach. But maybe one of the large international coaching organizations needs to do some research to find out what people think about the profession.

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