By Jesica Bailey
Director of Marketing & National Accounts, Checkers Industrial Safety Products
Client of Bill Munn Management Coaching
Let’s say your boss makes an announcement: He’s bringing someone in to meet with everyone on your team. He’s doing this because he’s worked with this person over the years, has seen the value of what a few sessions can do, and wants to share that value with all of you.
What’s your first thought? If you’re like me, you question it!
When our president and CEO made this announcement, I immediately began wondering what was really going on. Who was this guy being brought in to “work” with us? Was this the president’s way of using someone from his inner circle to babysit us? How could I trust this stranger? There must be an ulterior motive.
I soon learned that this person was going to fly out and do a seminar with us. But first, he sent us a brief questionnaire to fill out. Again, I was skeptical: What if I didn’t score right? Would they think I was in the wrong position? And what then?
It’s hard to believe that somebody would do something to truly benefit you and your career. But I soon learned that our CEO was doing just that.
So many months later, when this person he brought in—this stranger who I now know as Bill Munn, my trusted management coach—asked me if I’d like to write a guest post for his blog readers, I gladly agreed. Bill encouraged me to write about anything at all that I wanted to share, and I decided to recount my journey from skepticism to trust, because I think this could help others who are traveling down the same uncertain road.
As soon as Bill arrived for that first seminar, I started to relax a bit—primarily because he talked about things that really mattered to me in my life as well as my work. This was a guy who seemed to genuinely care about people and what they’re good at.
Our sessions began with that very topic: what are we good at and how do we focus on those things? It’s the essence of Bill’s Power-Alley Attributes concept. And the meat of that program began to truly open my mind.
After those sessions, we were told that we could work with Bill one-on-one if we so chose. Again, I had my theories about the real meaning of this offer, assuming that “do it if you want to take advantage of it” meant “you don’t have to, but you better.”
But my next thought was, Well, what can it hurt? So I went for it—very cautiously. In deciding what to focus on, I resolved to choose the most impersonal topic possible. So I looked at Bill’s coaching menu and selected time management.
But before long, it became clear that a subject like this affects your entire life. Like many of the topics Bill addresses as a leadership coach, time management isn’t just about how you behave within an organization, but also about how you behave at home, at work, and elsewhere.
We began with goals, defining my own vision for a successful outcome. And we ended up right smack in the middle of that predefined success.
Of course, time management isn’t all about having a neat and tidy office, but I believe that the drastic change in my approach and efficiency can be summed up with these before and after photos of my workspace:
I’m proud of these pictures and what they represent. For me, much of the time-management program involved creating a system that gave everything a place. And I mean everything: e-mails and snail mail, paperwork and personal items, text messages and tasks on the do list.
Everything suddenly had a clear and predefined place, and my place in the mix no longer involved stopping to think about where things go. It involved focusing my energy on being highly effective in the work I do.
Attributes & Vision
With this powerful outcome, my eyes began to open to this personalized management-coaching model. The results of my work with Bill were so rewarding that I was ready to dive in deeper.
Finally, I had someone outside of the organization who was genuinely invested in my success. Someone who had been extremely effective in his own career, knew the ropes, and could be an unbiased sounding board as I traveled down my own professional (and personal) path.
So I began working with Bill on vision. In doing so, we returned to many of the core attributes that I had begun unearthing during that first seminar. And I was amazed at how much he had come to understand about me—and how much he could help me grow.
Just last week, as we were discussing some of my attributes, he began talking about the challenges that I face thanks to my Care Taker attribute: I have a difficult time talking to others if I have a problem, but when others have a problem, I’m there 100%. This, combined with my high Responsible and Relational attributes, puts me in a prime position to become an enabler.
Holy cow, I thought. He’s got me down to a T.
This process has brought me to a better understanding of myself, but it’s also changed my approach to work and life in drastic and important ways. Instead of getting down on myself for my weaknesses, I now think, Yeah, I’m like that, and I’m okay with it. And because that’s how I am, this is what I need to be aware of, and this is how I need to respond.
It’s a far more effective and proactive mentality. Not to mention positive.
Coaching the Team
Once the understanding has begun, so too can the growth. In this case, that growth is an action-driven process that involves working with someone who can listen to your current opportunities and challenges, give you some tools to help you think about things differently, and bring important insights to light, helping to make your decisions clear.
Bill is that voice, and his guidance is bringing me to a better understanding of myself—and my team members. So, as the benefits of my work with Bill became clear, I had him start working with others on my team.
At first, they too were skeptical. But, having started out wary myself—and having now reached the point where I trust Bill 100% without any hesitation—I was confident that my teammates would come around. And I was right.
Take my marketing manager as an example: she seemed concerned from the get-go. And now, she admits that she had hesitations at first.
“I gotta tell you, I wasn’t sure,” she told me recently. “I was dreading talking to him. I was like, ‘Oh geez, I have that darn 30-minute call this afternoon.’ But now, I can’t wait for my calls with him. I can’t wait to talk to him about what’s going on, what’s getting better, and what’s next.”
The fact is, as managers, the answers to many of our toughest questions are inside us—but they’re locked away somehow. Finding a management coach who you can be completely open and honest with—and who can walk you through the process of thinking about the essentials and discovering the right answers—well, it’s an experience that will change your career. And your life.