I have played several professional roles for almost four decades. During this period, I would have mentored and coached hundreds of young professionals. It gives me immense pleasure when many of them reach out to me now with gratitude for touching their lives in some ways and shaping their careers.
As an HR Consultant, I recently encountered a very zealous HR manager Viren (name changed) of a technology company. He was well tenured, loyal to the organization and an expert in the field of HR. There were a couple of other HR managers as well, handling different roles, but none as efficient as Viren. However, the top management was reluctant to give Viren higher responsibilities, which made Viren unhappy and many noticed him sulking. Then, I came on board as a coach.
The first step of course was to listen intently to what he had to say. He felt that he had not been adequately recognized by the organization and was upset. He shared many instances and stories to back his own thinking. I started using Vyaktitva’s Get Real coaching model which underlined if there is no discontent, it is difficult for any person to change.
To create further discontent, I asked Viren some difficult questions over several sessions and his answers gave me the opportunity to:
Let’s look at two of his many stories through which his value rankings could be interpreted, and the actions decided after the realization:
1) He usually did not speak up in cross-functional meetings even though he disagreed with what some of the senior functional heads said on matters that would affect his work. He would get upset but did not express. People never could see him as an assertive person with many positives.
o Possible value ranking interpreted: Respect for Seniority vs. Responsibility. (The respect came from lack of confidence due to his fears of rejection and humiliation. He let go his responsibility of ensuring that a right perspective is laid for discussions.)
o Actions he agreed to take consciously after that: i. In the subsequent meeting he had to prepare better for the pending HR matters. He had to consciously raise the issue again with facts and figures. He had to exude confidence in discussion and reach a win-win agreement to whatever extent possible. ii. He had to report the outcome to me after the meeting.
o Disclose his problem and plan to overcome it: Before the meeting he was to confide in one of the supportive participants of the meeting and disclose his problem and his plan to overcome it. Request the person to be his mirror so that he could get honest feedback.
o Impact: He had clearly understood that it is his responsibility to call out disagreements in a constructive way irrespective of levels. He felt that his confidence had risen and so did his respect amongst others over a period of time.
2) Within the HR team he would get along well with most team members but would find it difficult to work well with a few of them, particularly at peer level. He felt some of them seemed to dislike him and hence were not cooperative. He did not bother much about them. He hated conflicts. This caused an adverse effect on the functioning of the HR team.
o Possible Value ranking interpreted: Letting go vs. Positive Confrontation. (We call it “Carefrontation”.) He realized that a fear of causing unpleasantness and disharmony within the team was compelling him to avoid unpleasant situations. o Actions he agreed to take consciously after that: i. He had to show empathy and initiate some unpleasant conversations. ii. He appreciated our model for Building Agreement based on the concept of asking appropriate questions to explore others’ stories. iii. He agreed to have these tough conversations with two such peers and report outcomes to me. o Impact: He felt that his relationship with these two people had improved dramatically. He intended to practice this consistently.
Through many more of our conversations, Viren was able to bring out more value ranking ratios and agreed on some actions to change them. Even the CEO had been able to appreciate a change in Viren’s attitude and was pleased with this progress.
The Get Real model is surely very real. #Vyaktitva