Changing Conflict into Collaboration | Julian Shreeve


An Organisational Development manager of an UK based global broadcasting organisation sought coaching support for a senior manager who needed help in managing a technical team.

The senior manager had been recently recruited to improve a range of internal technical services.

The culture of the organisation was more aggressive and confrontational than she had been used to.

Her direct-reports were directly challenging some of her decisions and had complained that she wasn’t creative enough, was defensive when they made positive suggestions as to how the department could be run, and interfered with their ways of working.

Her boss was getting dragged into some of the issues and was frustrated that she didn’t appear to be leading and managing her team effectively.


1) To identify the issues which were stopping the manager perform effectively

2) To coach the manager so that she had the skills and capabilities to enable her to perform effectively

3) To coach the manager so she could use these skills with different teams in the future


The coach interviewed the manager, manager’s boss and one of her key direct reports to get a multiple perspective of the situation

The manager agreed a programme of six monthly face to face 1:1 sessions with the manager, with telephone support as required

A framework agenda for the face to face meetings was agreed which included the manager reviewing previous interactions with her team, exploring and role playing new behaviours and committing to put into action when appropriate – and reviewing the results at the next meeting

Bi-monthly telephone review meetings with the manager’s boss and direct report were also arranged to confirm progress


The first discussions with the manager, manager’s boss and direct-report enabled those involved to ‘offload’ a certain amount of built up emotional baggage and created the space to move forward. The manager took this as an opportunity to both focus on team and company goals and explore her personal communication

Over the next six months everyone became focused on achieving the team’s goals, to express their views passionately but at an appropriate time and in an appropriate way

The manager expressed the view that his team meetings took 20% less time, were more productive and more stimulating for the attendees

Both the manager’s boss and the direct-reports reported that they had moved on from the initial issues and were working as a team. Positive feedback was now being received from the team’s internal customers and the team manager had garnered greater respect from the team

And So?

The manager’s reputation had risen to such an extent that she was asked, in addition to her current role, to care take of an additional team who which wasn’t working effectively. Using the skills she’d learnt enabled her to turn this team round within the next six months.

Julian Shreeve - 12 Jan 2010.

Julian Schreeve is a leading coach on the Executive and Business Coaching Network (EBCN)