Client Story: Direct Report

Stacy hung up the phone. For the hundredth time she thought to herself, “What am I going to do?” As a midlevel project manager, she worked daily with peers, clients, direct reports, and her supervisor. The difficulty seemed to be coming from above. He’s a good guy. She actually likes him on a personal level. But he’s driving her nuts. He was fairly competent in his previous position, but this promotion has been a huge mistake. He simply does not have the leadership ability or management skills to function effectively. And he is not likely going away any time soon. So she is stuck in the middle, or at least that is how it feels. She has responsibility without authority, and the folks around her seem to lack any accountability. She is tired of coming behind everyone and finishing their work, bringing it up to standard. After all, “We don’t want to provide the client with inferior products and services.”

The question she brings to coaching is, “How can I stay in my current position without going crazy?” This question leads to others, such as “What do you believe your options to be?” and “What is your ideal future?” Coaching helped her answer these questions, and the others that followed, until she was able to identify a path forward that she could walk with confidence, and that brought her a feeling of peace and professional satisfaction. She decided that she would stay, and is able to do so without going crazy!

Some coaching questions arising from this situation:

  • Describe your ideal outcome in this situation.
  • Who else in your life reminds you of your boss? Describe your relationship with that person.
  • Habits include attitudes, beliefs, feelings, thoughts, and the words and actions arising from them. How might a change of habit in one or more of these areas help?
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SPRH – Appolo 13

Square Peg in a Round Hole

How often are we trying to get things to “fit”, to work together, when they were never designed to do that? Sometimes we just have to make it work, re-engineer on the fly, and that’s fine, particularly in emergency situations. But do you remember how exhausting that movie is? Emotionally wrenching (Hanks does it again in Gravity, IMHO!) Who wants to live that way all the time?

Isn’t it preferable to engineer your life in such a way that things fit, comfortably, organically? And how great to have a community, a team of folks like in this clip, helping us to problem solve our way toward better living.

Plug into the community now.

Clarify your dream for your life.

Many of us are thinking this week about our accomplishments in the year past, and the things we hope to do in the year ahead. Some of these are personal quality of life topics, while others are more about our professional or work lives. Often we try to think and function as though these were separate and disconnected spheres, only overlapping or impacting each other during a heavy work project, on sick days or at the company holiday party. My own experience and observation indicates that an integrated life is a happier and healthier life – one where our personal and work lives overlap in healthy and beneficial ways. A great example of this is the growing trend in flexible work situations where people can be more effective and efficient at work because they are able to also accommodate their family needs, including caring for children, spouses and aging parents.

As we move into the new year, we do well to clarify our life dreams alongside our short term personal and professional goals. Otherwise, we may invest years and even decades into valuable endeavors only to discover far too late that we have failed to build the life we most wanted. When we have clarity around our life dream(s), then we can make choices each day that will move us in that direction, and can gather a community of advocates who will help us along the way.

DASL
Consider the possibility that your life needs more DASL. I’m not asking you to add bling with glitter and rhinestones. No, DASL stands for Dream ~ Articulate  ~ Share ~ Live. Dreaming is something that happens inside of our hearts, minds and imaginations. Our dreams want to come out, so we learn to articulate them, even when they do not seem to make sense to us, or seem irrational, unbelievable, impossible. Next we share this articulation of our dreams with others. We do this for several reasons. When we share, we hear ourselves and our dreams, and we come to believe in them more. We also continue to refine our articulation of our dreams. Plus, when others hear our articulation of our dreams, then they ask questions, catch the vision, begin sharing our dream, and experience an upwelling of their own dreams. This process naturally unfolds into the reality of living our dreams. When you see it, clarify it, and tell it, you begin organically to live it, and you find resources in people, ideas, tools, and energy that will help make the dream a reality.

Where is my dream?
If you already have a dream trying to burst forth, and you know it intimately, then the hardest work is already done. But what if you don’t have a dream, or can’t see/remember because it lies buried under obligation, fear or grief? In an upcoming post we will consider some techniques to uncover or discover your dream (personally or professionally). For now, go back to the last dream you remember having, and practice DASL with that. And when you’re ready to talk, let me know.

MindTools Resource Page

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My go to site for quizzes, assessments and resources for personal and professional development is MindTools.com.

This site has 1000+ pages of resources conveniently divided into an array of categories:

Access the main page here: MindTools.

From their “The Toolkit” Page


Use links below, in the menu on the left or on the Toolkit menu above to access the Mind Tools toolkit.

Leadership Tools
Whether you’re in a leadership position now, or you’re working towards this, you can become an exceptional leader!

Team Tools
Learn the full range of skills you need to manage a team successfully.

Strategy Tools
We’ll show you the strategy tools taught on MBA courses, and how you can apply them to your situation right now.

Problem Solving Techniques
Devise better solutions to the problems you face by using the skills set out in these articles.

Decision Making Tools
Add some rigor to your decision making with these tried-and-tested approaches and processes.

Project Management Skills
Find out about the formal disciples of project and program management and change management.

Time Management Tools
Beat work overload, increase your effectiveness, and achieve more.

Stress Management Techniques
Learn a range of techniques with our holistic approach to reducing stress.

Communication Skills
From listening to writing emails, running meetings and giving presentations, these tools are vital to your career success!

Creativity Techniques
Learn some powerful and reliable ways of generating the fresh, new ideas you need.

Learning Skills
These articles help you handle information better, learn more effectively and remember things better.

Career Skills
Don’t leave your career progression to chance! Find out how to develop the career you want.

They also have memberships for individuals, organizations and businesses to use in their HR / People Development strategies. Find out more here: MindTools Corporate.If you know of other great sights, or have observations/critiques on this one, I’d love to hear your thoughts.