Newly-appointed local authority manager

I coached this manager over several months during her transition into a new management role.

“I had just started a new management role and had little previous experience of the area I would be working in. Looking back, I recognise that I was finding it difficult to negotiate a new relationship. I have come to see that I have previously relied on feedback and recognition from others to feed my confidence. I was now in a situation where my colleague was not providing this: in lots of ways it felt like the opposite. 

In the first session just talking out all the issues I was experiencing was so helpful to start bringing into focus what was holding me back. Alison hardly got a word in but when she did it was with carefully considered questions that supported my thinking. I had identified that confidence and anxiety had an impact across my life. Through reflection in the session I had a clear plan of how to start tackling this and how I would know when I was achieving my goal.  To my surprise, I came away with a list of simple actions.  As I carried these out I noticed a positive change in the way I was approaching situations and relationships. 

In the second session I continued to explore anxiety about my role and managing home and work. Again it was useful to talk it out with Alison guiding and prompting me. The actions I came away with were again simple and they have been so effective. I also knew that Alison was on hand to email or call to work through any issues that might come up. 

Our third session focussed on my career and what my next steps should be. It was good to explore and consider how I might approach this. Alison made me think about how my qualities might map onto my own ideas of a good manager and different leadership models. 

We had a final session a few months after which has proved to be really valuable. During this session I considered how I look to others to validate my work. I realised I have to take responsibility for my own sense of worth. I want to work on appraising my own performance and knowing that I am satisfied with it. I would have loved Alison to have reassured me and say how she thought it sounded like I was doing a brilliant job handling colleagues or that my work was probably excellent. It was essential to the coaching process that she didn’t do this because if she had it would have allowed me to slip into old patterns.

Coaching with Alison has taken me on a journey. I have been able to develop practical strategies for organisation and time management. However, most importantly I have come to understand myself better. This all happened with guidance from Alison but the reflection, strategies and goals I am still working towards are all my own.

I can now see that I am struggling to make a more fundamental shift. Alison has supported me to start tackling my need for outside validation and to look to myself to know I am doing well. This is a work in progress but at least I now understand myself better.”