We have all had ‘that boss’, you know the one… the one you don’t particularly like… the one who doesn’t get you… the one who doesn’t seem to recognize your talents and contribution… the one that appears to be out for their own gain. Yours may not be the only opinion of this nature in the workplace, but is it really your boss, or is it the lack of a coaching culture?

A Gallup study released in March 2015 shows that half of us have quit a job because of our boss.  Yes, HALF! This issue results in a huge cost not only to the organization but to the individual, and this is only the financial costs.

So is it the boss that’s the issue or is it you?

Understanding Coaching Culture: It’s Everyone.

In several coaching conversations recently this topic has come up. I’ll start the call with something like, “What are we going to discuss today that is going to create the most value for you?” ….there’s the pause, then the blurt,”I got a new boss and I don’t think it is going to work.”

When you have been a high performer and are feeling highly competent and successful in your role, a new boss can rock your world, sometimes in a good way and sometimes not so much. The pressure that comes with reaching out to a new person and creating a connection can be intimidating, but it’s necessary to learn how to influence one another and create a healthy coaching culture.

Often the first option people consider is doing whatever it takes to get out from under that boss, whether that be looking for a new role in the organization or considering a drastic move outside the organization.

  • What if your first option were to consider ‘the gift’ in having this person in your life? 
  • What could you learn from this relationship? 
  • How could working with this person help you grow and develop your own leadership skills? 
  • How could you work on your executive presence and influencing skills through working with someone you don’t particularly like? 

Whether you are in a leadership position now or aspire to be in one, you are going to inevitably work with people who rub you the wrong way, be it a boss or a direct report. Instead of creating conflict, take the time to invest in building a relationship with this new individual in your life and embrace a coaching culture rich company.

Leadership Approaches to Company Culture

The great leaders I know have an amazing ability to own their piece of the relationship and do what it takes to try to create a clear and positive learning experience both for themselves and the other person. It may not always work out, however they can say they did what they could to try to influence a positive outcome. Whether you are the “bottom feeder” of your organization, or a “big fish”, we all have the ability to form bonds with our leaders and see new perspectives. Leaders are encouraged to be well-versed in coaching culture strategies, and using these suggestions can encourage healthy discussion.

Here are 3 Ways to Stop the ‘Hate’:

  1. Get Clear – get clear on the real reason you are ‘hating on’ your boss.  Are you feeling under-appreciated? Is their operating style different from yours? Do you expect things from them that they are not able to give you? Unless you are clear on the real reason for dissonance in the relationship you will not be able to resolve it.
  2. Get Connected – start communicating with your boss. Find out what she/he expects from you in your role, what does success look like in her/his eyes. Talk about how you like to be managed, what you expect from your boss in order to do your best work and achieve top results.
  3. Get Courageous – have the difficult conversation, what do you have to lose? Talk to your boss about the relationship and your perspective and assumptions about what is going on or not going on in the relationship. You may both learn something valuable from this courageous conversation!

When our boss does something that we don’t like or unknowingly invalidates us, it is still up to us to communicate our needs to them! This is especially true in the case of new management who have a whole office of new people to meet and understand.

Coaching Culture: Perspectives to Consider

Try asking yourself these questions when you’re stuck in a negative thought pattern: 

  1. How many times do I walk the same path and expect to have the same experience?
  2. How does this impact the way I’m approaching certain people or situations? (What would I see if I walked the other way?) 
  3. Do I make it a habit to look for something new in ‘old’ situations?

As human beings we like to believe we are right and are often slow to think out of the box if we aren’t getting our desired result. However, the quicker we can change our perspective the quicker we can find a solution to our problem and move on. The above questions disrupt our normal thought patterns and force us to think differently. With a little training and repetition you can make this second nature.

I love this quote from Dr. Wayne Dwyer, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

This week try walking down your own ‘paths’ with a new perspective and see what’s different along the way. 

Here are 3 Ways to Have a New Experience

  1. Look inside yourself.
    How is your approach contributing to the situation? How can you approach the situation from a different angle?
  2. Look for something new in old situations.
    What would it take to change how you think about that situation or person? Can you see if from the completely opposite perspective?
  3. Be open for something different to happen.
    Frank Zappa said, “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” How can you be more curious about what others are seeing that you might have missed?

How has your ‘horrible boss’ served you? What would you do differently now? 

Let us know below!


Consider our Leadership Coaching Guide, “How to Create a Coaching Culture in Your Organization“.

how to create a coaching culture in your organization