Introducing Sofia!

by guest blogger Sofia

I recently raised my hand when asked if I’d be willing to share my managerial and coaching experiences on this blog. I figured this would be a great opportunity to share ideas. Full disclosure about me: All of the experiences I’m going to talk about here are real. Because some of them are of a sensitive nature—either for myself or colleagues past and present, I won’t be using real names. You can call me Sofia.

How do you feel about the working hours you have to put in to meet four quarters’ worth of objectives and goals for you, your team, and your organization? I’ve been in my new role as senior manager for a product development group for about six months so I have a good sense of what’s working and what’s not. My team and I are going to create our vision, our employee development plans, and a roadmap to guide and track our progress. Along the way, I need to learn to be a better coach for my team.

Because this company I work for is a startup, some of this is totally up to me. That’s one of the things I love about working at a startup—in many ways, it’s a clean slate and a great opportunity for each of us to make our mark on the organization’s legacy. Of course, because it’s a startup, a lot of the infrastructure of an established company is missing: not just policies and procedures, but the culture—the “way we do things around here” doesn’t exist. Yet. That reminds me …

I’m meeting with my new coach in about an hour! I’m not sure what to expect; this is my first time working with one. I don’t have a lot of spare time so I’m not sure how much I can really get out of this. But I know many people who have benefitted from coaching. That’s why I raised my hand when my peers and I were given the opportunity to work with a BetterManager coach.    

Here’s how I prepared for our first meeting:

  • I’ve completed the MAP (Manager Acceleration Program) Insight Review, which gave me the opportunity to start thinking about a few of the best practices new managers need to focus on. How well I’m communicating with my team is a big one. And, more than anything, how often I take time to reflect and not just do.  
  • I’ve thought about my top managerial goals and actions. This is how I processed this:


  • Goal

    • Create a unified team vision.
    • Get more support from my manager.
    • Build an A team.

  • Next Action

    • Find out what each of my team members value so I know how to support and motivate them.
    • Manage up by directing our one-on-ones so that I get what I need.
    • Complete employee development plans. Identify their strengths.

So what’s one of your top managerial goals and what action do you need to take to make it real? Let’s chat–please post your thoughts below!

Interested in learning about executive coaching options for your managers?
  • Laura N
    Posted at 10:14h, 17 May

    How did your meeting go? What were the next steps and outcomes?

    Posted at 12:16h, 21 May

    Thanks for asking, Laura N.! My meeting went great. I learned a lot in that first meeting, but my key takeaway was that one of the first things I need to do is understand what motivates my team. My coach and I talked about what influences motivation and assumptions–and that led to the topic of values.

    So I’m going to meet with my team about what they value. I have ideas I will share-but love suggestions about how you’ve approached this!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 00:23h, 23 May

    Great Sofia. Its wonderful starting on a clean slate. Challenging but you set your tone. The challenge involved drives and builds your managerial resolve. Discernment of my team values I have mainly started on analyzing simple things like age, stage in life, observations of different interests (or likely challenges) at work then I validate all these from our one on one feed-back sessions. Our performance assessments also gives me room to understand people expectations or interest. Given a chance, I try feed-forwards to test individual hot-points.

    I look forward to read about your experience on managing up.

  • Faisal Alrashid
    Posted at 14:32h, 26 May

    Hello Sofia,
    I can see you are making a great and very effective stat with open communication which will facilitate a lot of mutual ideas and expectations

    Posted at 06:23h, 31 May

    Thank you all for your feedback! Open communication and knowing where each team member is anchored in terms of values and interests is so important. I’ve recently learned from my coach that one-on-ones aren’t just about getting through my agenda on projects. Who knew? It’s also about getting to know each person. I am noticing a difference when I ask people about things that are important to them–whether at work or out of work. And stay tuned for how I progress in managing up!

  • Wendy Hanson
    Posted at 05:34h, 05 June

    Hi Sofia-

    I love that you had an “ah-ha” about one-on-ones. I have had the honor of coaching many senior-level execs who have had the same “ah-ha.” It’s never too late to re-design how you do one on ones. Recently I coached someone who decided to ask each member of his team, “What did you aspire to be when you were growing up?” This led to a great conversation about careers and passions. Thanks for sharing your learning with us Sofia!

Post A Comment