Tom was becoming frustrated.
Recruited to head up a new initiative for a major industrial products manufacturer, he didn't understand why his colleagues seemed to be ignoring his comments in meetings with their boss.
“I just don't get it,” he said one day to Allen, the retired senior executive his company had hired to help Tom make a smooth transition into his new job. “One of the reasons I was brought on board was to share the experience I had gained with my previous employer. But no one seems to listen to me when I try to tell them how we did things there.”
“Is that how you say it?” asked Allen. As soon as he heard Allen's question, Tom realized why his peers appeared to be giving him the cold shoulder.
“I never thought of it that way,” he said. “They must think I'm the world's biggest braggart by telling them how we did it at my old place.”
Recognizing how you come across to your colleagues – as well as subordinates and superiors – is just one tangible benefit of executive coaching.
In this example, drawn from our portfolio of work with Fortune 500 clients, no one at Tom's company would have told him how insensitive he sounded when he tried to tell them about his experiences in his former job. Lack of feedback is a sad fact for many executives in higher management. But the independent observations of an executive coach - frequently, a former senior manager who experienced his or her share of corporate battles - can provide a mirror of truth and candor.
We can successfully report that the ice between Tom and his colleagues quickly thawed once he started to offer his recommendations in a manner that his peers found less threatening. No more comparisons with Tom's old firm, no more cold shoulder. And the newly hired executive was off and running with his new responsibilities.