Case History: Business Etiquette Grooming


A senior manager observed undesirable behaviors in a talented, newly promoted IT manager. She realized the need for action after overhearing conversations among the new manager’s peers about how often they were embarrassed by his behavior, including the way he ate, dressed and generally presented himself in the company of others.


Global Consulting Organization


Regional Division


IT Manager


The senior manager’s initial request was framed to reflect the sensitive nature of the work involved as well as to create a safe environment for the client to consider “style and presentation coaching” as simply one step in a professional development plan. Our work involved live-action coaching in common business situations (meetings, dining, traveling), videotaping situational role play, wardrobe counseling, shopping sessions, and customized as-needed seminars. The process was designed to introduce, model, stamp, and reinforce desirable behavioral changes. Throughout the process, outcomes were measured by the client’s self-evaluation, scheduled feedback sessions involving trusted peers and the senior manager.


The client reported getting similar positive feedback from peers and senior staff members about how much he had changed for the better. The senior manager reported noticing his self-composure and being impressed with it. To the coach, he wrote: “There were things I just didn’t know or didn’t know enough to ask how I could do it differently. A big burden has been lifted because I no longer feel so uncomfortable all the time. Now when people ask my opinion, I don’t worry about whether I am going to say the wrong thing. I handle myself much, much better. Our work helped the client to narrow the gap between where he was and where he and his leader wanted him to be as a talented new manager.”