Success Stories

Professional Services Manager

COACHING IS A SMALL THING BUT SMALL THINGS ADD UP

A head of professional services wanted to his team to be more effective. He wanted his direct reports to take more decisions on their own and to encourage the same behaviour in their own teams. When his managers constantly came to him to solve problems, he became a bottle neck and issues got delayed. The consequence was his work load increased because he got involved in additional meetings to sort things out.

During his Accelerated Success programme he recognised coaching as a skill he could learn and apply right away. He saw it as a powerful tool to stimulate the thinking of his managers, but that it was also something he could use with peers, between teams and with customers.

He took it slowly at first, allowing his team time to adjust to his new approach of asking questions as opposed to telling. Coaching on the job helped him become a better manager, who delegated more. He stopped taking on additional work because he helped individuals think through issues and generate options for moving forwards. Over time he gave up control of solving problems as individuals learned to think for themselves. Of course this freed him up to work on more important stuff, which previously he had had to put off. Now his managers come to him with problems and solutions, which they discuss. He also encourages them to coach their teams and has seen confidence improve as individuals take on and succeed in more complex tasks.

Curiously enough, an unexpected outcome in becoming a good coach was extending his listening capability. In the heat of the moment he noticed he finished people’s sentences or just give them a solution. Now he takes a step back and hears people out before he decides how to move forwards. He reports he is more patient with his team – which is validated by his boss – and actively encourages them to give their input. He reports, ‘When you are a better listener the solutions are better and the other party is more satisfied’.

Customers have also felt the benefit. He listens to understand what they really mean, so that he is clear on what their issues are. This approach has helped him handle a number of tricky customer situations.

Success Story Profile

Leadership Level

Leading Leaders

Programme Duration

7 months

Key Outcomes

  • Attending to higher value work
  • Improved delegation: Increasing capability in the team

more stories like this

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