A Word Of Advice: Coaching The Impossible

Hey There Kally,

How’d doing? Love your previous articles, I still need time to catch up with all of them but I want to tell you that some of your tips helped me plenty especially during a tough job search.

Now you know I have been searching for a stable job for a year to feed my family. As much as I enjoyed being a freelancer and doing odd jobs every now and then, the income is not as stable and regular as full/time employment. I need the health coverage benefits that tied in with a job as well.

I’m happy to say I have landed myself in a job with a wonderful company. I respect my boss a lot (he is very inspiring) and my workmates are a happy and crazy bunch. We got along just nicely. After 3 months into my employment, a new girl joined us. She’s a grumpy one, I must say. Nothing cheers her up. I have a bad feeling about this one. My boss assigned me the task to take her under my wing like a buddy system (yes, me!) and try to integrate her into our team, work culture and such.

I’ve been guiding her on top of my duties for a month now and I must say I am failing miserably at coaching her. My own probation is coming right up and I fear that this is going to reflect poorly on me. My company and my boss are very big on inspiring others. So I don’t want to be seen as not able to inspire someone but she’s really a tough cookie. Nothing I do can make her more enthusiastic about her role. She has no problems completing her tasks assigned to her but she does it with grumbling and whining that gets on my nerves really. She even came to work and leave work with a frown.

I tried the soft method and I tried the harsh talking but she just not fit in with us. If we have a meeting, she just sits quietly in the corner and sulk. No words come out of her!

Help me! Please! I don’t want this girl to drag me down along with her.

Thanks in advance.

Edwin D.

Hi Edwin,

Thank you for your support for MiddleMe and congratulations on finding a job you love. You sound like you truly enjoy working in your company except for the dilemma that you are encountering right now.

I’m sure a smart man like you have tried talking to her many times. I’m afraid the moodiness of the person you are trying to coach stem from a problem of her own. Have you tried asking about her personal issues? If she does not open up to you, perhaps there is another co-worker she is close with that might able to get her to confide in.

That being said, try to have a heart-to-heart talk with her outside of the company’s premises. Many times our defences are up and we are stressed to be on our toes in our workplace. Try asking her out during lunch or have a drink after work and genuinely know her as a person, not someone you need to coach to meet your target. She is not just a number to you but an actual colleague that will be working alongside with you in the long run.

You can bring a horse to the river but you can’t force it to drink the water. You can’t control her mood, you can only encourage her so far, the rest is up to her to pull herself up. Since she is new at the job, I’m sure she is as anxious as you to want to pass her probation period too. Maybe she is nervous around you or maybe she is stressed out by the performance target in your company or maybe she needs more time to adjust herself to adapt to a new environment that contribute to her grumpiness. Give her the benefit of the doubt here. I’m pretty sure if she hates the job, she’ll leave soon enough.

As you mentioned that the coaching duties are above your regular scope of work, I’m very sure your boss will not penalize you for not able to motivate her if the rest of your work is excellent. I will not be too afraid of losing what you have here.

You can have a positive chat with your boss as well. Remember, he is here to guide you too! Ask him what are the motivation methods that he uses and tries it on her. If you manage to turn her attitude around, the satisfaction will be tremendous.

All the best in helping a lost spirit here. Maybe all she needs is a listening non-judgmental ear.


7 Comments Add yours

  1. Good advice, Kally! 🙂 I know of someone like that too. Not only was she grumpy, she also lied and stole money. The main problem was that she could not reconcile between expectation and reality. She resented that she hadn’t the looks, the smarts and background that will enable her the financial freedom to quit working. Many times, these people know their own issues but refuse to seek free counselling offered by community services or churches. They prefer to live in denial because causing suffering in others feels too good.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kally says:

      Oh dear, she sounds like a sad case to me. I wouldn’t want to live like that for the rest of my life. Personally I know of people who are like that too and their negativity is so contagious. Talking to them is like talking about the end of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patty says:

    Fabulous advice, Kally. Definitely would advice exactly the same.
    And if that doesn’t help, think of your own too, dear Edwin. Talk to your boss, ask him for tips. I am sure, he had to deal with these kind of employees in the past before.
    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kally says:

      Wonderful advice, Patty. His boss is exactly the right person to guide him to handle such colleagues.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. msw blog says:

    Great advice , but I wouldn’t meet with this individual outside of work and delve into their personal life that can be one slippery slope. That is why we have Human Resources , friends , family , and advisors…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kally says:

      That’s quite true. Caution need to be exercise here.

      Liked by 1 person

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