Coaching Case Study – Becoming a More Effective Manager

Steve Johnson* is an Associate General Counsel for a large, international oil and gas company. When faced with some challenges created by several employees, he and his Human Resources Department thought it would be useful to hire an executive coach to help him fine-tune his management and communication skills and abilities. His HR team gave Steve numerous coaches to consider who might be suitable for the task. After interviewing Debra Bruce, he knew she was the coach for him. “From the get-go, Debra was forthcoming, personable and easy to know. I was impressed by her intellect and experience, and sensed that she would relate to my environment and its pressures. It didn’t take long for her to become a cheerful, yet serious and trusted advisor.”Before Steve and Debra began their biweekly sessions, Steve read Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations, at Debra’s request. “These books were instrumental in giving me helpful case histories and tips for dealing with issues similar to my own. We then proceeded to discuss my personality, management style and work habits, in great detail. I had the tendency to race ahead when a situation was familiar to me, rather than be patient with an employee’s need to talk and more fully understand my reasoning and analysis of an issue. With Debra’s help, I now listen to my staff and do what I can to make them feel safe and respected. I look for ways to praise people, and point out their positives versus their negatives. I discovered how to help people succeed, and in so doing, gained a more productive, cohesive team.”

“Working with Debra was very hands-on, and it was always clear that she wanted to help me and make a difference. She videotaped me so I could review my body language and correct any negative or unintentionally intimidating signals I might be sending. She guided me in becoming better at communicating priorities and deadlines in specific terms and be more accepting of others’ personal boundaries between work and the weekend. My company is in business 24/7, and I had to pull back from expecting my 30+ staffers to be on call at a moment’s notice. I now give extra thought as to whether a task really needs to be completed between Friday and Monday.”

“Throughout the process, Debra was always pushing me to do the work I needed to do to effect the changes I/we were aiming for. Her open-mindedness, objectivity and commitment to me and my success made such an impact. She’s non-judgmental but realistic, and serious about her clients’ success. Always upbeat and positive, she was a pleasure to work with. My company and staff have seen the difference in my work style and practice, and we are all pleased and happy with the outcome. I would recommend Debra and her executive coaching process to anyone who wants to be as professionally prepared and successful as possible. The experience has given me the tools to perform more effectively now and in the future, and we as a company are gratefully reaping the benefits.”

* Name changed to protect confidentiality