Recently, I had two situations in coaching engagements with customers where control was getting in the way of the development of a potential alliance.

In one of the cases, the partners fully agreed in the preparation phase towards the alliance and felt each of them was to become a trusted partner. But then in the phase to conceal the partnership with a contract, one party presented the other with a draft contract that had “control” stamped all over it. The other partner was clearly not happy, and they felt to be in a closed situation with almost no way out. Being new to the situation, I asked questions to come to a full understanding of the situation. While creating clarity for myself about the full partnership situation, I was able to coach the client towards a solution that would benefit both partners and would allow the partnership to move forward. With a reasonable sense of control, while maintaining the full level of trust.

The other case is an entirely different situation which has yet to be resolved. Here an organization famous for their alliance ability has started to move more towards a control based governance, where it seems that trust is left out of the equation. My client feels a certain unease with the situation and feels that his possibilities within the alliance are getting limited. After our initial phone conversation, we scheduled for an upcoming face to face coaching session to get more into the situation and see how I can help him resolve these questions.

In both cases, initial trust moves into a control situation where one of the partners feels unhappy with the new situation. Sometimes a solution seems difficult to find and if not careful partners can dig themselves into the trenches holding stand and unwilling to move either side. The solution, however, is not always in moving forward or backward, but can be in a different direction. If you can’t oversee the whole playing field, these solutions are difficult to find.

This is precisely the moment an experienced outsider can help. An independent coach or sparring partner without history to the situation can ask the questions that will help lead to a solution.

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