We coach a lot of technical experts, and I can tell you, for absolutely sure, experts are NOT “bad with people”, or need to be “fixed”.
But they still get stuck sometimes.
Experts are great 1-on-1. Our research shows they’re respected and liked by stakeholders, and seen as humble and helpful
But in coaching sessions, I see certain issues occur. If you lead a team of experts, here’s three questions to check if they’re a problem your team faces:
How good are your experts at establishing relationships with stakeholders they don’t already know? If not, what gets in the way?
How often do your experts avoid stakeholders where communication is an issue? Why?
Elevated forms of stakeholder engagement, like change management, require “group engagement”. How proficient are your experts in influencing larger groups of stakeholders? What barriers do they face?
If your expert team members struggle with these challenges - as very many experts do - working with them on techniques such as appreciative enquiry, empathetic listening, and demonstrating curiosity will almost certainly help them be hugely more influential.