Showing up Powerfully
A human resources executive in a Fortune 100 company had just been promoted to head of HR for the Asia/Pacific Region, and the company’s COO recommended that Guttman coach him through the transition period. The COO wasn’t worried about the executive’s ability to handle his new responsibilities, but he was concerned about the way people outside the department viewed him. One major problem: Because of his low-key, nonassertive personality, the executive’s internal clients perceived him as being not highly engaged in their issues, indecisive, conflict-averse, and without any real power in the company.
The Guttman coach began by asking the executive what his Intention was. What would the happy ending look like if the coaching sessions were successful? His answer: He would be seen not just as a hiring-and-firing manager, but as a strong person whom others would rely on to provide them with the talent they needed and whom they would seek out for advice and counsel on all matters relating to human resources.
The coach asked him to project forward to that end state. In a meeting, what was his new persona doing? How was he interacting with others? How did he comport himself? When interfacing with a colleague one on one, how did he open the meeting? What mood was he projecting? How well was he listening? What was his body language like? Did his demeanor change in social situations?
The executive's answers to these questions enabled his coach to set a very specific Intention and to develop a plan to realize it. Since the initial meeting, the executive has been working on replacing his old behaviors with the ones he envisioned: saying more in cross-functional meetings, volunteering for projects outside his own area of expertise, and offering more information. At the end of each encounter with an internal client, he makes sure that he and the client “contract” for expectations, next steps, time frames, and responsibilities. In staff meetings, he solicits the opinions of his department members, asking: What issues are of concern to you? What resources do you need? What help can I give you?
And it’s working. His confidence has risen dramatically, and feedback from his coworkers indicates that they too are confident that his promotion was well deserved. By living in his Intention, this executive brought his Intention to life.