Sometimes I'm asked to outline what coaching looks like within hospitality and how it can be used as a tool to support people. I recently recorded a session transcript where the coachees situation was relatively straight forward. I have stripped back the narrative to the core elements so it's easier and faster to read. I hope you find it insightful...
Tom is a fictional name for reasons of confidentiality
Stephen: Good morning, Tom. It's great to see you again. As we get into today's session, what would you like to focus on?
Tom: Morning, Stephen. I've been feeling overwhelmed at work. The owner of our restaurant has been micromanaging, and it’s really starting to undermine my authority as the General Manager.
Stephen: That sounds frustrating. Can you tell me more about the situations where you feel your authority is being undermined?
Tom: It happens almost daily. Every time I make a decision, the owner steps in to question it or change it. It's like he doesn't trust my judgement.
Stephen: I note trust is of value. How does that situation make you feel?
Tom: Undermined, second-guessed, and honestly, it’s demoralizing. I'm starting to doubt my own decisions and I’m seriously considering moving on.
Stephen: What impact is this having on your team and the operations?
Tom: Morale is low. The staff are confused about who to listen to. It's affecting the service, and I’m worried about the restaurant's reputation and my own.
Stephen: If things were ideal, how would you prefer the owner to be involved?
Tom: I wish he would trust me and let me run the day-to-day operations. I want him to focus on the bigger picture, the finances, and let me handle the rest.
Stephen: What do you think is driving the owner’s behaviour?
Tom: Perhaps he’s anxious about the restaurant's performance. It's his baby, after all.
Stephen: How can you communicate your needs while acknowledging his concerns?
Tom: I need to have a candid conversation with him. Set some boundaries and expectations for both our roles.
Stephen: What might be the first step towards that conversation?
Tom: Maybe schedule a meeting where we can discuss our roles and responsibilities in detail.
Stephen: How do you anticipate the owner will respond?
Tom: It's hard to say. He might be receptive if I approach it correctly.
Stephen: And how can you ensure you approach it in a way that he might be receptive?
Tom: By being respectful and understanding but also firm about the need for change.
Stephen: What support or resources do you need to prepare for this meeting?
Tom: I could use some guidance on how to structure this discussion and maybe go through some scenarios with you.
Stephen: Role-playing could be helpful here. It can help you prepare for different responses from the owner. If you are open to that, let's start by outlining the key points you want to communicate. What are the main messages you want to get across?
Tom: Yes great. I need to convey that while I respect his investment and passion for the restaurant, my authority needs to be recognised for me to be effective. I also want to discuss a system for decision-making that involves trust and respect.
Stephen: That's seems a solid start. When discussing this, how will you address his possible anxiety about the restaurant's performance?
Tom: I’ll assure him that I'm committed to the restaurant's success and suggest regular updates on performance metrics that matter to him. This way, he feels informed without needing to be involved in every decision.
Stephen: Great. Let’s role-play this scenario. I’ll be the owner, and you start the conversation. Remember, maintain a respectful tone and be clear about your intentions.
Tom: Sure. “I've noticed that we've had some overlap in decision-making, and I think it might be beneficial for us to clarify our roles to ensure the restaurant runs smoothly. I value your vision, and I'd like to propose a structure that allows us both to contribute effectively.”
Stephen: As the owner, I might say, “I’m just trying to ensure everything is done right. I’ve built this from the ground up, and I've had little success so far in letting go”
Tom: I understand that, and your hard work is why this restaurant is successful. I’m not suggesting you let go, but rather trust the team you’ve chosen to uphold your standards. If we clarify our roles, it could enhance our efficiency and the staff’s confidence in leadership.
Stephen: That’s good, Tom. You’re acknowledging his feelings and proposing a constructive solution. Now, imagine he’s defensive and says, “I know best for my restaurant. Why fix what isn't broken?”
Tom: In that case, I would say, “It’s about making good things even better. The staff are confused, and it's affecting their performance. Clear roles can help improve our service and reputation, which is ultimately what we both want.”
Stephen: Excellent. You’re staying calm and bringing the focus back to the shared goal of the restaurant's success. It seems like you have a clear idea of how to approach this. Do you feel ready to schedule the meeting with the owner?
Tom: Yes, I think I’m ready. I’ll plan it for a time when the restaurant is quiet so we can talk without interruptions.
Stephen: Perfect. And remember, it’s important to listen as much as you speak. Be open to his perspective and ready to negotiate a solution that works for both of you.
Tom: Got it. I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks for your help, Stephen.
Stephen: You're welcome, Tom. Feel free to reach out if you need more practice or support before the meeting