The trouble-maker turned fixer
Simon, the Head of Commercial Strategy for a global FMCG company, had developed the reputation for being quick to anger when he disagreed with his colleagues in a meeting or when one of them did something that he thought unwise.
The CEO of the company had become concerned that Simon was isolating himself from his peer group. She was finding it increasingly difficult to support his way of handling disagreements even though she frequently shared his misgivings about how the business was being run.
At the point at which we became involved, Simon was at a low point in his attitude towards the overall company’s direction and indeed had serious misgivings about whether to stay at all. These sentiments were also beginning to show in his general demeanour and it is fair to say that he was putting himself at risk with regard to having a long-term position at the company.
He reluctantly agreed to meet Paul (he regarded coaching as a rather woolly and soft alternative to hard action). Within the space of their first meeting Simon realised the benefits of talking things through with someone from outside the organisation.
Over a period of a few weeks Simon was able to build a clear picture of how a number of competing thoughts, beliefs and feelings were leading him to approach both public and private elements of his life in away which was very much counter to what he believed was right. He soon realised that baiting his opponents was futile and found ways to let his true colours show through in a completely different way. Having become plainer (and somewhat more empathic) in how he expressed even strong reservations in leadership meetings, he was soon able to build bridges with many of his fellow executives. Simon went on to being instrumental in bringing about the largest M&A deals in the company’s history and was invited to sit on the Board as a senior executive.