An international agency of the Canadian government requested our assistance to improve the relationship between an executive and executive assistant in a high-profile foreign office. Both were highly valued employees of the agency but seemed to be facing challenges in establishing a productive working relationship. Both were located in an office many time zones (and miles) away.
We located and interviewed two local employees who had been executive assistants to this manager before the Africa posting in order to identify operating character traits of the manager. Next we set up Skype calls to individually interview both the manager and the executive assistant in Africa. As in many similar situations, the fundamental issue was difficulty in communicating. Over the next few months, we scheduled calls with each of these individuals to discuss the type of work involved and the challenges they faced and to jointly explore potential solutions.
After only a short period, both individuals were much happier and productive in their relationship.
The executive tells us, “This was a painless and enjoyable process for us. I always knew that my EA was a capable and resourceful individual; we just couldn’t seem to make it work. Now things are working really well. Great job!”
The assistant tells us, “I was a little worried when we didn’t seem to be working well together and quite apprehensive about this “coaching intervention” but Ann was wonderful. She had a lot of empathy and made the sessions enjoyable. I actually got to the point where I was looking forward to the calls. Before we knew it we had gelled as a team and things are rolling along in high gear. Thanks, Ann!”
The agency has requested anonymity both for itself and for the employees involved.