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Last time we talked about the importance of having a job manual for every person in an organization to ensure that no one is indispensable. Many times, the person with the bad attitude is a star achiever who holds onto information tightly. We should all be replaceable and know it.

Before we start coaching someone, it’s important that we enter the dialogue with the right attitude because it creates a supportive container for the discussion. The container that we create determines the success or failure of the coaching.

As leaders, it is our job to help everyone be successful. We are not accountable for own actions alone. We can declare ourselves successes only if everyone who works for us can do the same. As we consider coaching someone, we want to remember that we aren’t trying to show them who’s boss or put that person in his or her place. We are trying to help them. A bad attitude can destroy a person’s career and damage a team’s morale. As leaders, we have an obligation to help everyone improve and perform their best, and that includes dealing with a bad attitude.

An adversarial attitude ensures that the coaching will fail. The person being coached gets defensive and doesn’t listen. The bad attitude will only increase. It creates a vicious cycle of negativity between the coach and the person being coached.

Envision the attitude problem as an object. When we have an adversarial attitude, the object is sitting on a small, square table between us and the other person. We are squaring off against each other with the problem between us. We want to move over to the other side of the table and face the object side-by-side. We want to face the problem or challenge together. This, of course, goes for all types of coaching and problem solving.

When I work with groups or people having challenges, I name the problem and then choose an object to represent it. The object can be anything – a water bottle, a piece of paper, a paperclip. I place it between them and then have us all move to one side. We all stand together shoulder-to-shoulder and look at the challenge. It’s amazing how much the personal dynamics change when we all stand together on one side of the challenge.

Being positive and helpful towards a person with a bad attitude is difficult, but effective leaders have the self-discipline to stay focused and keep the end goal in mind. Great leaders can put their egos aside and have an objective conversation without getting caught up in the negativity.

Next time we will talk about a few other things to do before the coaching session. However, the rest of the process depends on the leader bringing a positive perspective and attitude to the coaching.


For a little bit of fun (and free) leadership development, join 53 Leadership Challenges at KathyStoddardTorrey.com.

Want to go further with your professional development? Check out the courses offered at PositiveEffectLeadership.com.

If you are interested in taking your career to the next level quickly, contact me for a sample coaching session at KSTorrey@tapferconsulting.com. #PositiveEffectLeadership #LeadershipRules #KathySays

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