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Coach’s Diary: Office Party Blues


Struggling to get over his embarrassing antics at an office party, Olivia Stefanino's client resolves to improve his image at work.

Raymond blushed as he remembered his antics at last year’s seasonal office party.

Not only had he drunk too much and made a pass at his boss’s wife, but he had also told a ribald joke which had both fallen flat and left a bad impression on his accountancy colleagues.

Raymond had learned his lesson – and he had promised himself that he would never drink to excess again in a work situation. He now knew that the office party was less of a social occasion and more of an evaluation event for senior executives looking for suitable candidates for promotion.

However, Raymond was still fighting the bad impression his colleagues had of him – and he was now sitting in front of me, wondering what he could do to improve the situation.

Obviously, the first step was to ensure that Raymond behaved impeccably at this year’s Christmas party. We then had a lengthy discussion about trust and rapport – and Raymond soon understood that he needed to work on rebuilding these characteristics with his colleagues.

I suggested that he might like to consider the maxim that “People like people who are like them, and who like them”. Raymond quickly recognised that if he were to progress within his accountancy practice, he would have to ensure that he conformed to the kind of behaviour displayed by his colleagues.

This did not mean that he would have to lose his individuality, but before he could reveal his larger-than-life self, Raymond would first need to gain the trust and respect of his colleagues.

Once he had satisfied their need for conformity and had re-established trust, he would have generated sufficient rapport to be able to display his wilder side without again incurring the disapproval of his colleagues.

Leaving my office with a relieved smile, Raymond tucked a book on Neuro Linguistic Programming under his arm, knowing that its contents would enable him to further hone his rapport creating skills.

* Olivia Stefanino is a leadership development consultant and executive coach, who works with blue chip organisations, SMEs and individuals. Download your free e-booklet “128 ways to harness your personal power” at


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