Monday, October 27, 2008

Teach me something

I was offered a chance to be an experimental guinea pig coachee today. Coaches for executives were being vetted for The Corporation. The oriental in me went, "Eh? FREE executive coaching? OK!" :D So I jumped at it. Sort of. I jumped because a friend wanted to pull out and needed me to fill in. My brief - come up with a real-life work issue. That was easy. I've got a big FAT juicy one. Organisational bullying at a senior level. Orifice politics. How do you deal with it?

The mediators gave me a 5 minute spiel about confidentiality, stressing nothing discussed would leave the room. Confidentiality? *Pish posh* Least of my worries. I was as open as a contractor without a corporate ladder to climb could be.
I handed it all over to the Coach on a silver platter... Only to have the Coach keep asking me, "How could you have handled it in a different way?"

Errr, I don't know, that's why you're suppose to be coaching me. Obviously, the methods I tried didn't work. So how do I deal with bullying people who are aggressive and high up on the chain?

And it kept going on round-and-round. Instead of answers, I just got more pointless questions.

Eventually the strain was too hard on my eyeballs and they started rolling around too everytime the Coach asked me a question :P So I started to take the piss.

Wannabe-Coach: "So who else do you think you could've spoken to about the abusive manager?"
I name the Chief Executive of The Corporation and chuckle.
Wannabe-Coach: "Who's that?"
I *sigh*. A good in-joke wasted.

With time running out on the 45 min session, this is how the Coach ended.
Wannabe-Coach: "You basically have three options. You can quit. You can knuckle down, ignore it, and just do the work. You can try and make a change in a company that doesn't want change. They're all bad. You've picked the least bad one out of the three. Are you ok with that?"

What sort of numbskull coaching is that?!?

Me: "NO. Why should I be ok with having to pick the least evil of three evils?!? It's not a solution. I refuse to accept that there isn't a better resolution."

This Coach told me he has a background in psychoanalysis. Here's one of the things wiki says about psychoanalysis, it's "a systematized set of theories about human behaviour". What I would've expected a psychoanalyst to do, is provide me with some background on the profile of an aggressive bully, and the best methods of communication which work effectively with these sorts of personalities!


What I didn't expect was to leave the session feeling more depressed about having to pick the "best" out of a bunch of shtty options.

The session ended, and the mediator took some time to give me some advice. He gave me exactly the sort of information and handy tip I was looking for. When a senior butthole yells at you, hold both your hands up, palms facing the butthole. Say, "Stop". If that person keeps yelling, close your eyes, and calmly repeat, "Stop". Next, ask the person, "What are you trying to achieve with this conversation?"

Reign in the conversation, let the other person think they still have control, move the conversation forward :)

Simple. Hopefully, I never have to try it, but I'm actually looking forward to it now *grin*

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