Disruptive Board Members – how coaching skills might be the answer

coaching for company secretaries

You are probably aware of how coaching can support you as a governance professional to excel in your role. You may also know how to use coaching skills with your team to ensure that you deliver a top quality service to your board and organisation.

However, have you ever considered how you might be able to use the same skills with challenging board members or with those difficult ‘managing upward’ conversations? Telling a member of the board what to do is unlikely to work, but using questioning techniques to understand what they are trying to achieve, where they think they are now, what they think the options are and therefore what actions can be taken, can be a different way of achieving the same result.

With challenging Board members, asking questions to raise awareness of their behaviour, the impact (on them and on the Board) and asking them to suggest solutions will probably work much better than confronting them directly. An open questioning approach may also unearth some additional information about the director which you (or they) may be unaware of and allow the underlying issue to be addressed.

The same is true of difficult conversations. Moving the emphasis onto asking questions and listening to the answers can bring real insights into what the real issue might be and therefore new approaches to solving problems.

In my session at the Board Dynamics Summit on 1 March, I will introducing you to a model which you can use to structure such conversations, but which you will also find will help you to get the best out of yourself and your team. There will be an opportunity to practice before you leave the conference.

Lesley Ward FCIS a Chartered Company Secretary with over 15 years’ experience and an accredited coach, specialising in working with Governance Professionals.  

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