Harasser Coaching: Party of Prompt, Appropriate, and Effective Action
You’ve completed your investigation and you’ve determined that while the offender exercised poor judgment and behaved inappropriately, the conduct did not rise to the level that would suggest termination of employment was necessary or appropriate. So, how do you ensure that the offender doesn’t do it again, putting the company at risk?
An effective option to consider is specialized coaching for the offender. Similar to other types of executive coaching, this involves one-to-one meetings with a qualified coach. In this case, the coach must have a background in harassment and discrimination law as well as experience as a coach.
The coach should be given as many of the details of the investigation’s conclusions as possible given any constraints you may have. Who are the respective parties and their roles? What did you conclude actually happened? What additional actions have been taken, if any?
The coach’s goal is to understand the thought processes, motivations and drivers for the behavior that occurred in order to help the offender avoid a similar situation. Often, the behavior was a result of a general lack of awareness of the impact, attempts to be humorous or to try to form a more intimate relationship. The coach can work with the individual to increase self-awareness, identify potential behavior that might be experienced differently than intended and suggest more appropriate venues for finding connection.
As a general rule, personalized customized training on harassment and discrimination policies and laws are also reviewed as part of the coaching.
Finally, a brief written report is usually provided for the company’s files, noting the topics covered and a report on the participant’s level of cooperation and understanding of the requirements for future conduct.
We have found this type of coaching to be powerful and effective in the right situations. Multiple clients report that it is not only effective, but that the offender reports having gained important self-awareness that positively affects both work and personal relationships.
It’s important to note that this type of coaching is not therapy, nor is it designed to be. It is a specialized form of executive coaching designed to enhance the probability of the individual’s success moving forward. And it also serves as additional evidence of the organization having taken prompt, appropriate and effective action.