Yesterday, I had a pleasant conversation with Hank, a former coachee of mine and his manager and personnel manager. Two years ago, I had coached this person after he had made some mistakes in his work. The objective of the coaching was to make sure that he would not make anymore mistakes in the future. Because he was working in a hospital laboratory, any mistakes could create serious health risks for patients. The coaching took place over a period from January until October and consisted of six conversations. Three weeks ago I was invited to have one more conversation with him and with his new line manager and the personnel manager. His old line manager had retired in the meantime and his personnel manager would soon leave the hospital to go work in another hospital.
First I talked to Hank. While there were a few issues he would like to work on and would like to talk about with me, it became clear quickly that he was doing very well in his job. After this conversation, we had a conversation with Hank, the new line manager and the leaving personnel manager. The conversation was very open and positive. The personnel manager remarked that Hank looked so much better than two years ago and she asked if could explain this. Hank said the following:
"At first, I was skeptical. I really thought the real intention of this coaching was to get rid of me in a decent way. And, at first, I thought, well, I might as well play along. What else could I do? But after one conversation with the coach, I knew this could not be true, so I really started trying. These conversations were really helpful. They helped me to organize my thoughts. I learned how to step outside of myself and to observe myself. This helped me to gradually change my behavior. What was really helpful was to talk to someone who knows nothing about our work. I could easily notice the coach knew nothing about our work. That was really helpful. I had to explain everything."