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Suggestions for management development


I'm looking to organise some sort of intervention for managers who need to improve their interpersonal skills. I'm thinking of something along the lines of 1-2-1 coaching or some kind of training solution that involves filming of attendees in different situations and lots of feedback.

The people in question are middle managers who would benefit from learning to "moderate" their behaviour when dealing with colleagues and staff.

Any ideas?
Dina Berry

5 Responses

  1. moderating behaviour
    Hi Dina
    I have just been asked by a client to work alongside a middle manager and mentor them for two days in the workplace. I plan to do this by watching and listening all day one and then asking a lot of questions about the motivation and thought behind some of the behaviours. Asking them for alternatives -thereby encouraging faciliation of new bahaviours rather than telling them how to do it. Hope this helps.
    Sally Foan

  2. is this the kind of thing?
    I recently ran a series of events where we covered the theory and discussed their experience on day one and then we gave them a case study to look at overnight. the next day thay had to “do” the case study playing the part of themselves whilst we had a trainer play the role of the “other” party. We video’s the sessions and then played them back and analysed them. The trainer played different roles according to the case studies (all based on real events) so sometimes he was very passive and sometimes really quite aggressive. We were able to pinpoint moments where the behaviour of the delegates triggered vasrying levels of agreession from the trainer and where the delegates where able, through their behaviours, to de-fuse situations that were turning ugly.
    It wasn’t quite one to one as the delegates worked in groups of three to one trainer and the feedback was done in these groups, largely by the peers rather than by the trainers.

  3. business measures show the value of coaching?
    Hi Dina

    I’m curious to know what the measurable benefit for the organisation will be – i.e. what is the payback for the costs, both opportunity and any direct cash costs.

    In a recent project I have suggested a coaching-based management development programme aimed at developing specific behaviours and attitudes in front line managers towards their subordinates, and aimed at discouraging other specific behaviours and benefits.

    There is a cash cost of approax £70K and opportunity costs represented by the time these managers will be being coached and doing related things other than their ‘day job’. The driver behind this is to cut by 50% the £600K of additional cash spent on hiring as a direct result of very poor retention. We have clear and credible evidence that the primary (85%) reason for high turnover is poor people management approaches by line managers. Having this clarity is helping to shape the approach, indeed it is one reason for a high level of coaching activity in the programme. It also made it very easy to ask the Board for the £70K of unplanned for expenditure to fund the programme.

    I’m sure you will have plenty of good suggestions on how to handle the coaching – we’re doing simple 1-2-1s, no videoing as there are data protection and confidentiality issues within the client environment that simply can’t be overcome. It means the coaches need to be in and around the business and we’ve also enlisted the help of the people who are line managed by these front line managers.

    I hope this helps!



  4. “moderate their behaviour”
    Hello Dina,

    You’re generating quite some response !
    What your thread suggests seems perfectly appropriate.

    I imagine you’ll need to balance the costs of this exercise with the potential benefits, so perhaps 1-1 coaching for each manager is not going to give you the best return, but perhaps a short practical event isn’t going to give you the greatest long term change in behaviour.

    Remember, skills can be picked up easily. Attitudes and behaviours don’t change overnight and usually require a combination of self awareness techniques, new skills, and feedback to continue improvement.

    From experience, the root cause of the need to “moderate behaviour” usually falls into either company culture (EG: investment banks can be high pressure, blunt, aggressive cultures and this affects inter-personal relationships) or into other pressures made on the staff(EG: at one client we recognised that poor time-management was creating stress, high workloads and short tempers. The client initially felt the problem lay elsewhere).
    It may even be down to a perception in what they are supposed to do (EG: the difference between leading and managing).

    It would be really useful to know how you’ve reached these conclusions (IE: what feedback tools are in place which raised the issue).

    If you feel like calling or emailing me, then I’d love to discuss the situation in more detail and get a more detailed understanding of the situation. I’ve just checked against some documents we have published, and one of them called “Managing Teams for the first Time” might offer some insight ?

    All the best, Jon.

  5. How effective is coaching when you are trying to change behaviou
    I would not coach the middle managers. In the first instance I would create the experience for them from which they would be able to learn for themselves.

    When people exhibit a particular behaviour it is as a result of the experiences that they have had during their life.

    We all know the terrible effects of cancer but the people who campaign and raise funds most energetically are those who have had a close personal experience of the disease, not those who have been taught about it.

    In this situation it would be pointless to try to convince the campaigner that there was something more important to spend their time on.

    If the same person subsequently suffered a second tradgedy to a different cause then they may make up their own mind to raise funds to research a solution for the second cause.

    To change someones behaviour we have to give them another experience that will allow them to change their behaviour, not because they have been told to, but because they have had an experience that allows them to decide for themselves to make the change.

    To change the behaviour of the middle manager we have to give him a new experience.

    Just imagine if when the middle manager got back to the office, instead of telling his staff off he looked for something positive to say to them and gave praise instead.

    To understand more about the power of positive behavior and how to create a positive experience read Ken Blanchard’s book, “Whale Done”


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