Shiv has been engaged by a technology product firm as a performance coach, specifically to help a couple of high performing technical professionals who excel in their job. Management is afraid that the two individuals, who are extremely smart with technology and are key contributors to the success of their product line, have difficulty in working with teams and may end up burning out. Management also feels, developing their people skills will take the whole team to the next level. However, the two of them think that their people skills are fine, since they have a lot of friends from college, who they still hang around with and the problem is with the rest of the team, which lack competence. If you are Shiv, what will you do to break the ice and get the two professionals to ramp up on their people skills.
First thing would be establish a good connect with the two individuals by spending time to understand their position and the background that led to them to their position, as per their perspective.As a second step, the two of them should be sensitized about the problem at hand – that of ineffective team performance, without arguing with their observation of reason.Next step would be to invite them to suggest ways to improve the situation and seek their help in implementing the solution they come up with.Along the way, share the importance of their owning the team’s outcome as much as they own their own outcome.Never rush into advising them on how to improve people skills.