SOME YEARS AGO I RECEIVED A PHONE CALL FROM A NEW York business executive who asked if I could coach him about a problem he was unable to resolve on his own.
The problem was that despite all of his widely acknowledged abilities and accomplishments, this gifted man was consistently passed over for promotion by senior management. Why? Because along with being brilliant, he was also shy, soft-spoken, gentle, and naturally self-effacing—qualities that made him a joy to work with but which were misidentified by C-suite executives as withdrawn, withholding, uncertain, insincere, and even deceptive.
Could I coach him? Of course I could.
Did we have a happy ending? Of course we did because, in this client’s case, it ...