Coaching in especially challenging situations

Economy March 24, 2014 00:00

By Michael Heah
Corporate Coach

2,249 Viewed

Helping the chronically depressed

Q: I have been closely observing one of my managers’ behaviour for some time now. It is very sad for me to see how he is deteriorating in both his personal appearance, outlook towards life and even in his work. 
Once known as the best performer in the organisation, he has now become one of the worst around. From one who used to set high standards in his work and expectations on others, he is now a “couldn’t-care-less” person who just lets everything go. No more standards and no more expectations. 
Judging from his remarks, comments and scruffy, fat appearance, everyone knows that he is on a downhill slide. I also notice that he shuns people, and keeps a lot to himself. I am probably the only one he chats with occasionally, but this does not go beyond 10 minutes. 
Each time I try to talk with him, he either brushes me aside or simply avoids talking about it. 
What can I do to really help him? 
Good Samaritan
A: One thing I pick up from your description is that this man used to be a perfectionist but is now a scruffy person. It really does tell a lot about him. 
He is certainly undergoing deep depression. One possible reason is that he wanted to attain a perfect state in everything he does and everything else comes second fiddle to his goal. However, for some hidden reasons, his formula was not working to his expectations, so things begun to tumble to the extent that he could not cope with them any more
The bottom line: This person needs some form of intervention, either counselling, coaching or even medical treatment. Leaving him too long in his current state could lead to even more undesirable consequences; even suicide cannot be ruled out. 
Unless you are professionally trained in one of these disciplines, it is unlikely you can help him. The best you can do is to persuade him to seek professional help.
On the social front, continue to make him feel wanted; so do not get put off by his ways but give him attention and show him that you truly care and that he is very important to you. For all these measures, handle them delicately and tactfully. 
Powerful questions: How important is this person in your life that you want to do something more for him? What are you prepared to do for him? What are the qualities and values in you that will ensure you get some good results for him? What will it feel like when you succeed?
Getting it right when giving feedback 
Q: Many times I have wanted to give feedback to some colleagues on the way they carry themselves in public. However, this intention cannot be converted into action because among many reasons, I fear a backlash of a favour turning into a disfavour that may sour our relationship instead of making it better for us. 
A: You need genuinely to ask yourself what your real intention is; whether they should know of your personal viewpoint, a criticism that you want to level at them or a sincere deed with no other agenda. 
Never underestimate the recipient in knowing what the real intention is, as it is laden in your words, facial expression, emotional state and other body-language cues. This explains why things get soured, as in many cases they were not genuinely given from the heart. 
The bottom line: Sincerity is the most important success factor in giving feedback. The other one is to find the best time to do it. 
Powerful questions: What does providing feedback give you and the other person? When you do it with success, how does it serve both of you? What do you need to remember always, when giving feedback? How will you want others to act when they give feedback to you?
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