I started coaching Kathy at the request of the Vice President of her department.  Kathy was highly skilled technically, but was having difficulties with her interpersonal and communication skills.

Kathy came to coaching ready to make some changes.  I was impressed with the way she responded to the feedback she had received from her Vice President.  Here are some of the objectives he gave her:

  • Communicate feedback to her staff in a more constructive way.
  • Communicate clear expectations to her staff.
  • Resolve conflict more constructively.
  • Show a sense of urgency to the customer when working to solve their service issues.

At the outset I gave Kathy materials I had developed on “How to Give Constructive Feedback,” “Customer Service,” “Resolving Conflict,” and “Performance Management.”     Kathy read these materials, performed some of the exercises, and selected areas from the materials to discuss in our coaching sessions.

In addition, Kathy brought situations that she thought she might have handled better to our sessions and we discussed alternate strategies.  We did role-playing based on the situations so that Kathy could practice new approaches and I was able to give her feedback so that she could increase her skill.  Kathy wrote notes on how to phrase things better and practiced the new language at home.

In addition, Kathy increased her approachability with a softer voice tone, open body language, and smiling.

Over a six month period, Kathy achieved continuous improvement in her communication skills.

Kathy is now much happier in her job, her employee turnover rate has decreased by 30%, her staff is performing more efficiently, department errors have decreased by 25%, and her superiors are receiving positive comments about her from customers, peers, and staff.

Kathy’s story shows how coaching can help leaders improve their communication style, and thus improve how their organization performs.

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