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Seb Anthony

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Have you had any coaching catastrophes?


In preparation for a training event, I’m gathering anecdotal material to stimulate discussion. One part of the event consists of sharing good practice, the other in learning from disasters. I would welcome comments from those who have experience of something going horribly wrong in a coaching session – a brief description of the circumstances, followed by an explanation of what you did to retrieve the situation. Many thanks in anticipation.
John Driscoll

3 Responses

  1. Early learning experience
    Early on in my career as a people manager I had an unmitigated diasastrous coaching session. I was coaching a team memeber, as I thought it, to more acceptabel behaviour. As I outlined his problems within the team he exploded. Upset was not the word! We did retreive the situation but it took a long time. My mistake on analysis with a more experienced colleague – I did not use only facts, and I did not use specific examples – end result a character assasination. Tread with care….

  2. Resignations and a divorce…
    1) I worked with an IT team leader who was very confused with what she wanted to do career wise in the company. She asked me to give her some direction/advice. I had just read a ‘coaching yourself’ book and went through some of the early exercises with her on what her beliefs and values were and suggested she think about them over the weekend and we could then talk about them. On Monday morning she came it and said that based on her and her husband’s values she had initiated divorce proceedings and would be going back to South Africa to start a new carreer there…. whilst in hindsight it probably was the right decision for her based on her needs, needles to say I’ve stayed well away from anything like this again!

    2) Some new staff from a recent acquision told me how good a course had been that their former company had run several years ago on ‘Personal Development and Coaching’. They finished off by saying 50% of attendees handed in their notice within 3 months!

  3. Take the stairs!
    Just last week I was running some training courses for a new product – 6 x 3-hour sessions within 3 days. Time was of the essence, but at morning tea time on course 3, I gave the group a directive about being back on time. I then went downstairs quichly to see someone, jumped back in the lift, and went back to my floor. But the doors didn’t open!! While I was only (?!) there for 25 mins, and I did manage to get a message to my co-facilitator to keep the course moving, I think the lesson is NOT to take the lift if you don’t need to! As I was only going down 2 levels, perhaps I should have just taken the stairs and got the exercise! No real lessons here, but thought you might appreciate it.


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