Coaching and mentoring has a powerful role to play in helping get the best out of your people. This post shares a story of how it helped improve productivity by developing confidence and resilience.
Mary was a Senior Manager at a University in the UK. In a meeting with her Director, it became clear to me that Mary was a well-respected and competent member of staff. She was a good project leader and knowledgeable about the University where she worked. She was also skilled at developing relationships and working at a senior level. However, a couple of things hadn’t gone well in the past few months and these had affected her confidence and resilience. She was struggling with managing her workload.And that’s why her Director hired a coach for her.
Our starting point
When I met Mary on our own she became tearful. She said, “I’ve lost my way and I’m struggling to find my way back.”
Coaching and mentoring
Mary had four major projects that she needed to manage. Each was a high profile, politically sensitive case involving senior people within the University. I helped Mary to think through what success would look like through the eyes of all the key stakeholders. And this helped her develop a strategy for involving them and communicating with them in a way that was in line with their needs not her own. Crucially, it also helped her prioritise the work involved. In our next session, Mary said that she felt much more in control. She wanted to build on that progress by looking at how she could delegate more effectively. I helped her think through which projects were right for her to hold on to and which projects would be best passed on to others.
She identified a specific project that would be a good development opportunity for a member of her team and we explored what steps she should take to pass on the responsibility with the right supervision. The conversation with the team member went so well that it expanded to identify other areas of work which would help the team member’s professional development – a great result for them both.
In our final session, Mary laughed and said that when she was stressed she had a habit of running her hands through her hair. She said her colleagues had all noticed she no longer had “high hair.” Her manager also confirmed that she had noticed a difference in Mary and provided her with several positive examples. Mary fed back how much happier and more productive she was.