Communication Skills

Tough Conversations

Wielding intelligence as a weapon Martin’s coaching was triggered when a peer named Maribel filed a complaint filed against him. As a result of our first coaching conversation, he’d gone back to Maribel and asked for more feedback. One message Martin heard loudly from her was, “You make me feel stupid.”

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The Rising Executive

Teams at risk Rafael was two months into running the largest team of his career. He wasn’t certain, but he sensed the CEO was about to pit his new team against another team. If that happened, one team’s business would win out over the other’s. No jobs would be lost, but years of work would

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Style Conversations

Confrontation anxiety Estifania was thirty days into leading a large division of scientists and doctors. We were discussing her direct reports. In general, she seemed pleased. “Except for Michael,” she said. “He’s already pressuring me to re-organize the division. Ha! I barely know where the bathroom is! As if I’m ready to think about a

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Giving Upward Feedback

Asking the boss to change Julie wanted to give her boss, Zuwena, some feedback. Knowing Julie’s devotion to Zuwena, I was curious to hear the situation. Julie said, “She has this habit of thinking out loud in meetings. She’ll say something like, ‘We ought to look into the regulations on that.’ And then she keeps

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Agreeable Disagreement

“Your baby’s ugly!” Marshall, a television executive, was facing open rebellion from the writers he supervised. Marshall had been supervising television a long time and was completely comfortable stopping conversations with a forceful “No!” The writers viewed Marshall as harsh and uncaring.

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The Talky Executive

Flooded by words Renée didn’t like to complain. A senior vice-president in the finance division of her bank, Renée had an orderly mind, a tidy office and a positive outlook. Even when managing problem performers, she exuded kindness and warmth. ‘Sunny’ and ‘optimistic’ were words from her 360-degree feedback report.

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Inviting Dialogue

“Is that clear?” Arlen worried he wasn’t making his points clearly with his direct reports. When I asked him to tell me more, he said, “I’m always asking them, ‘Is that clear?’ and they say yes. But later, it becomes obvious it wasn’t clear at all. I don’t know how much is me and how

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