Coaching Conversations

Over a coffee not long ago:

-I’m looking around, curious to see what else is out there

-That’s fine, nothing the matter with that. Anything in particular that is spurring you on right now to look?

-Do you know my boss?

-Yes, but not well.

-He and I are very different–I consider myself more diplomatic, quieter, I guess, and less confrontational. However, he’s been with the company a long time, and would say he has the corporate DNA in his system–more direct, more top down, that sort of thing. Actually, he thinks he thinks he can coach his team, but he basically just tells them what to do, he can’t coach.

-And that’s why you want to leave? He sounds like most of the bosses I know..

-He doesn’t respect work experience–he speaks the same way to someone with 20 years experience as he will to a recent college grad.

-That can work positively or negatively, no?

-That’s not what I meant–it’s how he treats his team, like lackeys: ‘Do this, not this, do that and do it exactly this way’ and so forth, no room for other opinions.

-Ah, OK, I hear ‘micro-manager’. But again, hardly unique. Is that reason to leave?

-I guess you could say he’s a micro-manager. He doesn’t exactly look over everyone’s shoulder, only wants things done his way. I’ve gotten so tired of it I’m not answering him now.

-What do you mean?

-He sends me emails asking for this and that, all sorts of petty stuff to do.


-And I don’t answer him


-He sends more emails.


-And I send him back a note saying it is not appropriate, but if he wishes to discuss it face to face, that’s fine.

-So you’re not answering your boss’ emails, and you’re telling him how to communicate to you? That’s novel.

-Well, to that effect. I don’t like the way he almost bullies me and others around

-Er, telling your boss how you want to be communicated with is not going to win you points

-I realise that, so that’s why I wanted to ask you if you know what else is out there

-Haven’t a clue. But don’t you think you need to fix the internal problem first? Is your job secure?

-I should think so, I’m excellent at what I do.

-But I’d reckon your boss may not feel the same way you do at the rate things are going. Are you spending any time internally to talk to others and see what is being said–about you, about him?

-Not much, and suppose that can’t hurt. But I really want to get out, that’s why I wanted to talk with you.


And that is where we left it. I don’t know whether my questions helped or not, but that job won’t remain long term, regardless of how flawlessly it may be executed. The old maxim of “You can’t win a fight with your boss” was basically my rejoinder. Eliminate the judgemental negativity and spend more time giving the boss what he wants, and at least gain some balance before looking elsewhere.

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