Will talented people always thrive?

Back in 2008, a talented team leader (we'll call her Sam) was given a new team.

It was never clear which gave rise to which – the team’s behavioural issues or the poor conduct of its former manager – but HR had found it necessary to remove the team’s original manager from the business. 

Despite underperformance in just about every metric going, each member of Sam's inherited team firmly believed they should be promoted to become a 'Key Account Team'. 

Photo © Jared Tarbell, Flickr CC

Photo © Jared Tarbell, Flickr CC

You might now expect this story to develop into some kind of fairy tale of coaching wizardry… A talented coach swoops in, and Sam and the team are propelled to success and glory, defeating the demons of ego and mindset.

While those outcomes are in fact true, it would be missing the point: even eight years later, it's the attitude and intention of Sam’s line manager that is the real story worth telling.

Because Sam was having the toughest time. She was leading a new, challenging group of people, while also managing them closely to improve their performance. Her usual happy and confident demeanour was conspicuously absent, and she would be in tears some days.

While there's always a business case for coaching (and this one was especially easy to compute – the cost of two resignations and rehires; the potential cost of losing Sam; the reduced revenues and profits etc), Sam’s line manager truly wanted the best for her. Anyone would have been able to feel it; their support was palpable.

Photo © Peyri Herrera, Flickr CC

Photo © Peyri Herrera, Flickr CC

Sam’s manager valued her beyond the contribution she made to the business. Consequently, the measure of success we agreed for the coaching, above all others, was that Sam would be able to log five smiling faces at the end of the working week. Simple, but effective. 

In the six months we worked together, Sam re-engaged her new team, and delivered against six other success measures we put in place. She also found her smile again.

Sam still works in the same business today. And that's the kind of outcome that I find so energising as an executive coach, because she could have quit the business feeling completely different about her abilities, had her line manager focused on performance first, and not the person.     

Over to you

What climate are you putting your best people into? Are they going to thrive?

We often expect our high potential people to perform no matter what, but the kind of environment, culture, and sub-culture they're working in has a massive impact on their ability to perform.

How will your team be judged if they struggle in a new environment, and what more could you do to ensure their survival? 

What's YOUR climate?

Maybe you're in a challenging situation yourself – experienced, talented, and competent, but somehow struggling? To what extent does your line manager care about you as a person? How much are they rooting for your success and your wellbeing? Are you thriving or just trying to survive? 

Grab some backup 

If you could do with some external, objective support to help you and/or your team thrive, find a 30-minute slot in your calendar and book in (below) for a quick blast of phone coaching with our Energiser, Matt Evans.

The call will help you pinpoint a simple first step to move you from 'surviving' to 'thriving'.

We have 5 taster calls available with Matt. To grab one, click the button and leave your name and email address, telling us why you want a slot. We'll be in touch!

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