As part of our blog series 3 Top Coaching Tips for Derailers, we will take a look at each of the 11 behavioral traits identified by Hogan’s research that cause leaders to derail and include examples with suggestions to overcome each derailing behavioral trait. In this blog we highlight Skeptical.
Coaching leaders with this derailing behavior is one that when elevated, gives me insight into how difficult it will be to really make quick progress with the executive.
You see, at the high levels, these leaders tend to scrutinize everything I say and try to determine if there are underlying or hidden messages when in fact there are none. It takes longer to build trust with these coachees who have this derailer.
Recently, I was coaching a leader (VP IT) who had an elevated score on Skeptical as well as serious issues with her boss, the CAO. She was not very supportive of her boss and felt that he was not competent in her IT function, so whenever he would provide her direction, she would question it and decide to do what she wanted to do. As a result, it was important to ensure there were clear, positive and negative consequences for not meeting leadership behavior expectations to help motivate changes from her in the coaching engagement.
In her case, changing her behaviors to build stronger stakeholder relations and having a good relationship with her boss could lead to a desired promotion (CIO) and not addressing these would result in her staying in her current role. It took many tough coaching sessions to be sure she understood and accepted responsibility for the perceptions she had created in the organization. Over many months she changed and dealt with the serious derailing behaviors and, as a result, was later promoted to CIO.
COACHING TIPS FOR SKEPTICAL DERAILERS
The leader should continue: thinking about and analyzing others’ motives and intentions; challenging others’ assumptions
The leader should stop: arguing with others
The leader should begin:
- Developing the capacity to trust at least some other people
- Keeping their doubts to themselves
- Praising instead of arguing
- Asking a trusted colleague for feedback on how critical and argumentative they are
Leaders can be assessed using the Hogan suite of assessments which are very helpful to leaders by increasing their self-awareness and gaining a better understanding of why they are not getting the results required in their roles.
Look for our blog series to continue with coaching tips for the other derailing behaviors identified by Hogan. Next time we’ll offer tips for Cautious derailers.