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Choosing Who Is (And Isn’t) On Your Team



It was a brutal question and one that solicited a straightforward response. Answering it was uncomfortable but then again, Bill knew what kind of coaching he had signed up for.


Jim’s approach was straight-arrow and blunt but that demeanour simplified even the most complicated scenarios. Bill was in the middle of re-working his team and now, Jim gave it to him straight: “If everyone resigned tomorrow, who would you fight to the death to keep? Which resignations would you just accept?” 


That’s just an example of the no-beating-around-the-bush questions that Jim put to Bill during their sessions. Good help is hard to find and Bill needed the best on his side. In essence, Bill was working through who should… and shouldn’t… be on board. Generally speaking though, he wasn’t the most efficient decision maker.


Bill’s the kind of person who gets into the weeds considering all the details. He’d think through decisions again and again, sometimes taking months to reach a conclusion. Jim advised Bill to get to the decision faster. Indecision is a killer that leads to wasted productivity and oftentimes, you know what to do all along. 


Indecision is a killer that leads to wasted productivity and oftentimes, you know what to do all along. 


Bill didn’t take Jim’s advice lightly. Jim had experience that other coaches didn’t with personal anecdotes to back up his points. He could tell Bill a story about running a company, being in a similar position and what he did and didn’t do well at that time. The advice was always based on something real. When Bill didn’t take it, he later wished he had. 


All of this coaching worked to help Bill effectively reconfigure his team. Your team is your most important tool. When you have the right people, you can get through the obstacles. At the same time, people can also hold you back. Jim helped Bill see who was adding value and who was relying on him as a crutch. He was sharp in diagnosing why some people weren’t successful and, of course, used his blunt line of questioning to help Bill understand which members were essential.


Bill eventually got to the point where he would fight for every single member on his team. As he says, Jim has coached a lot of smart people but sometimes even the smartest folks need help seeing the bigger picture. His questions might be brutal, Bill says, but he’s in your corner cheering you on. 


*All names have been changed to protect the privacy of clients.


Article by Sinead Mulhern

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