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Coaching two senior managers to resolve their differences

The Need

We were asked by an established organisation in the Square Mile in London to help get a faltering relationship between two senior managers back on track. The relationship had been deteriorating for many months and both managers had been through a mediation process which had not resolved anything.

Communication had broken down to the extent that the managers were barely talking and this was having a profound impact on the two departments and the organisation as a whole, with key projects stalling and team members’ morale plummeting.

The Solution

We held a one to one session with each manager individually to begin with and then bought them together to discuss what they needed and expected from each other. Through this process we helped them to recognise each other’s strengths and to see how much they complemented each other. So, although individually very different, as a team they began to see they had real strength. This also helped them to value their own contribution and restore confidence in their own skills, which had been eroded away over the years.

We also helped them to identify very clear, measurable actions to support them in working more collaboratively; not just to “communicate better,” but specifically how to communicate better.

The Results

We held a follow up session a month later to help them review their progress along with their senior line manager. They had stuck to weekly meetings to talk issues through, they were not using email to communicate (and hide behind) they were going out once a week “into the field” together, showing a united front and making a positive and conscious use of their different approaches. Within a month of working more effectively together in this way, a project that had stalled18 months previously, had been resolved and their respect and trust in each other had been restored. This in turn had a huge impact on had on their own confidence and motivation, with one manager commenting that the support and its outcomes had ”changed the quality of his life.”