ART of Performance: Coaching very smart people
Head in the clouds?
One leader we worked with came from a background in management consulting, where intellect was prized above all. Added to this, he believed that any problem could be cracked by enough intellectual horsepower, so he discounted any factors that didn’t fit his hyper-rationalist view of the world. He couldn’t really appreciate that some people worked in a different way and were often influenced by ‘irrational’ feelings. Promoted to lead a sales team he drove his people crazy, because he spent so much time locked in his office analyzing spreadsheets, and not enough time with his team enabling them to understand and deliver to their customers.
What we did
We decided that we needed to engage his intellect in a different way, so we taught him some neuroscience. For the first time he appreciated the role that emotion plays in human performance, and he saw the merit in developing his own self-awareness.
He became more curious about how other people ticked, and he started to build stronger relationships and develop more empathy for his customers. He learned how to use his own and other’s intuition as a source of information, which improved the quality of his decisions and actions