Leadership Tip: Trust Creates a Coaltion

In coaching a CFO last year, I discovered during his 360 Feedback Interview that he could not find his voice at the CEO’s table. I first observed my client’s frustration with this, noting anything I saw as a red flag. But I chose to go a step further. I asked him how long this tentativeness had been going on and what it actually felt like to him.

That’s when I learned a lot about his character….and a little bit about myself too.

Going a Little Further Develops Trust

I was quite moved by his vehemence about this behavior and his strong desire to transform his tentativeness to confidence. I knew then that there was something there from which I could help him. What I realized about myself in this interaction is that I didn’t stop when my client expressed his frustration. I stayed in the pain of it for a while. By doing this I understood his personal pain with it which established to this day an almost forever bond with him. A coalition.

A Coaltion is a Bond of Respect

A coalition is a pact or treaty. In the consulting world and the world of executive development it means establishing a pact of reciprocal respect and guidance with a direct report. Often in the coaching world, people witness the low performance of someone and make them aware of it without jointly establishing a roadmap to a better place.

Know What Motivates Your Direct Reports

My surgeon Father always said, no two patients are ever the same, you treat each patient uniquely, as we need to as leaders. Leaders and managers must observe their direct report’s behavior, give them sincere specific feedback and determine what’s important to them first. I can’t stress this enough. Every person is motivated a little bit differently than another person.

Once you understand what’s really important to your direct report you can then shape their development plan uniquely to them. For it to stick, they need to own the plan jointly with you. That’s establishing a coalition with someone that they’ll be grateful for.

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