Googling ‘aggression’ the other day, two images came up: Vladimir Putin and a Maserati – a very strange pair, but apparently the Russian leader and a concept sports car with a bold new look have this much in common.
Aggression in the workplace is a serious subject. It is also prime territory where executive mentoring and coaching can help a business effect lasting change. Take the example of a City of London firm where we have been coaching a group of people recently promoted to partner level.
Business coaching for culture change
With 14 in the group, this was an opportunity for a dramatic transformation. The corporate culture was all around performance. Fine, you might think. Only the specific culture here was aggression. Not so good, either in the short or the long term.
The goal was to get the partners to ‘be nice’ (groans all round), but to keep the firm’s competitive edge intact (interested grins) because the two are certainly compatible in general and would be in this specific instance too. The question was, ‘What does that behaviour look like?’
This is the question we posed – and pose every day with clients in business coaching sessions.
In this case we built a 1.5-day development programme that encompassed not only eradicating negatives but also which strengths they wanted to work on, and what they wanted to be different.
Engaging staff through executive coaching
The outcome has been very positive in both the short and the long term. In the short term because they have been able to instil trust and engage staff. Whereas the retention rate among junior employees – those bearing the brunt of the aggression – used to be dismal, it has improved measurably within just a few months.
The long-term impact is about the whole sustainability of the firm. Whereas they had been struggling to land repeat deals because their style was so unpleasant (there’s no polite way to put it), now they can build a different type of relationship.
This is essential in the economic/business context in which they operate. The market in their sector has swung from distress to choosy. Distress meant plenty of work around so cavalier bad behaviour was tolerated because the firm could survive with a take-it-or-leave-it approach. Choosy means previous and prospective clients could go elsewhere. The fact that they aren’t, underlines the success of our programme.
Focus on outcomes
The whole ethos of TXG is to focus on outcomes, not process. We are rare among the executive coaching profession in this regard, but we don’t sell a product. Instead we say to clients, ‘Bring us what you’re trying to do and let’s have a conversation.’
When we understand what they are looking to achieve, we design a bespoke programme. This is our vocation, we love our work … so why wouldn’t we make it as good as it can be?
If this sounds like the kind of executive development programme you have been looking for, please get in touch today.