James Mcleod on supporting three frequently occuring scenarios

Three scenarios that crop up often in my coaching practice are:
• Will I be good enough? – The fear of something I have not experienced yet.
• Negotiating the right compensation package in internal promotions.
• Managing people who used to be peers.

Will I be good enough?
The broad issue that many talent face in preparing for promotion is fear of the challenges ahead and fear of the unknown.

The emotional issue is typically centred around self-belief and self-worth…the feeling of ‘Am I good enough for this role?’, ‘Will I make it?’ ‘What if I fail’? ‘What then’?

I start with a Job Performance Wheel based on what knowledge, skills, attributes and overall competencies the new job will require.

The Job Performance Wheel

Making key elements of what will be expected in the job tangible for the coachee enables them to start seeing what will likely be needed and putting more meat on what the demands of the job will likely look like. That also makes it easier for the coachee to see how their strengths will help them and areas they may need to work on or make a special effort in, to be successful. Together we work through goals and associated actions that will set my coachee up for success in the new role.

I find that this process has been extremely successful in centering my coachees and energising them in a resourceful way for new challenges.

Negotiating internal promotions and compensation packages
I have noticed over time that most people consistently undersell themselves when it comes to internal promotions. I have built up a reputation for helping people through these
negotiations and receive regular referrals in this area. I notice several warning signs and have developed a language and framework to ensure that people do not undersell themselves in these situations.

I start by clarifying the job for which they are a candidate:

  1. Asking for the job description.
  2. Asking for an explanation of the differences between their current job role and their new role.
  3. Asking them to try and quantify what the difference will mean in terms of managing other people, their responsibilities for the P & L and the burden share on reaching productivity, profitability and performance targets.
  4. Asking them to benchmark the salary and benefits of the job against their five principle competitors.

I then invite them to view the offer as if they were an outsider…what would this person think of the role, the remuneration, the range of responsibilities and would they be happy with the offer on the table?

This process inevitably offers up new options and perspectives and gives the coachee a supporter to help them through the process and to ‘shore them up’ to be assertive and prioritise their own interests. Through this process, they learn to value themselves and their self-worth, they grow in confidence and they re-connect to their core skills, knowledge, attributes and competencies.

I have helped many people get enhanced promotion packages simply by applying these basic rules and thinking through an action strategy with me and having them hold themselves accountable for getting the best possible outcomes for themselves. In 2014, I worked with a coachee who came to me to strategize on their promotion. They were eventually offered the job…the title, the responsibility but not the accompanying increase in money and benefits. We debated this together at length and through a process of powerful questioning, the coachee agreed to not accept the promotion until they were given the accompanying pay and increased benefits. The wait was uncomfortable for my coachee and they were put under a lot of pressure to accept the package. I was there for them to hold them to their goal through the process and help them not to yield. Ultimately, the whole package came through for my coachee. I have since worked with the same coachee on their next promotion and this process has helped them hugely to get the most appropriate remuneration for the job they are performing, and more importantly, to believe in their worth as they progress up the organisation. The ultimate beneficiary will be the organisation as they will have an energized, happy and motivated employee!

Managing people in the organization who used to be Peers
I have often been called in to help leaders manage the ‘promoted above my Peers’ conundrum. For many, it presents a dilemma and results in overshoot (being too ‘rigid’ with former peers) or undershoot (being too ‘friendly’ with former peers). It is an area where it is difficult for coachees to find internal support and can be a hard area in which to share your concerns and worries with your manager for fear of appearing to be weak or clueless in your new position. After all, it was your manager who promoted you!

I see coachees going into a ‘wait and see’ pattern, taking very tentative steps and talking about ‘not crossing red lines’ with former peers. I talk through my coachee’s areas of concern and work on reframing techniques for my coachee to consider how the ex-Peer feels and what their new expectations will be of the coachee in their new role. This is the time for open, transparent and regular dialogue between the two parties where formal space is created to allow each party to acclimatize and settle into their new roles. The key is open dialogue and the intention is supportive, where both parties must be open to honest and regular feedback in the transition phase.

My role as the Coach is to support the coachee through the transition and make the coachee accountable to the process of formal and regular dialogue and feedback with their ex-peers
through the transition phase. I am now retained by several global corporations to work with their newly promoted coachees when these types of situation arise.

Get in touch with Gerry Buckley at gbuckley@theppinetwork.com to explore how we can help you.

Leadership
Talent
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About the Author

James Mcleod

James Mcleod

James is an established Life & Career Coach, Team Coach and Trainer.

He is accredited with the International Coaching Federation, the International Coaching Council and the European Mentoring and Coaching Council and a member of the Irish Institute of Training & Development.