Coach Talk column

Attitude is Everything 

Apiwut Pimolsaengsuriya (photo ID: 17597565)

            The day before yesterday, I had got a call from the boss of my former client – Sittisak – informing and thanking me for coaching Sittisak. His boss told me Sittisak had shown significant improvement and changed his attitude after the coaching project, he was recently promoted to Country Manager position in a subsidiary company in the group. Everyone in organization was pleased to see Sittisak making his career advancement, they felt that they got the ‘old’ Sittisak back.

            On the phone, I was so glad that I forgot to thank his boss for thanking me. However, I told him that Sittisak was a real good person and the company had made the rigth decision.

            This phone call actually reminded me about Sittisak who I coached since last several months. I still clearly remembered one day in early morning when I got a phone call from a HR director from my client organization asking me to meet with her Regional CEO as there might be a coaching assignment opportunity for me.

            I arranged my time to visit the CEO, we spent about an hour together. The CEO had asked me to help coaching Sittisak – then Financial Director – and gave me some background about Sittisak.

            Sittisak had been working with the company for about 15 years, he had been rotated to many key functions in the organization. He was sharp and friendly, his personality was great. About last 2 years, he had been informed that he was identified as a candidate for GM successor, unfortunately, when the time came he did not get picked for the GM position. Sittisak was down – he was obviously losing his confidence and mojo of work. His performance dropped significantly, his attitude and behavior changed vividly. Everybody in organization talked about him, some people even thought he might quit some time soon.

            The company still saw Sittisak’s value and was afraid of losing him, therefore, coaching assignment was initiated.

            I agreed to coach Sittisak and the first session to meet with him for chemistry check was arranged. After that we had a few coaching sessions together.

            In one of our sessions, we had a great discussion :

            “I might be leaving soon” Sittisak told me

            “Why?” I asked

            “I am a loser and didn’t think I would like to work here anymore. I can’t deal with questions people asked me and the way they looked at me” he said

            “Khun Sittisak – if you leave now, would you be a winner or a loser” I challenged

            “…” he paused

            “Khun Sittisak, supposed that you had been spending time, money and effort making a product for sale and you ended up could not sell it at your first trial. What would you do ?” I broke the silence

            “I would figure out why I could not sell it or why the customer did not buy it”

            “Would you get angry with the potential customer who did not buy your product?”

            “No !” he replied

            “Why not ?” I continued

            “We had no right to do so, customer had the right to buy or not– if they did not buy, it was not their problem, it was actually ours”

            “Would you throw your product away?”

            “No, definitly not” he said

            “Would you walk away from this potential customer and find someone else ?” I continued my questions

            “Not at the first trial – persistence is very important if we want to win” he said

            “Excellent ! Khun Sittisak – now come back to yourself. Weren’t you a product ? Didn’t you spend time, money and effort investing in yourself for the whole working career ? Wasn’t this disappointment the first sale trial which was not quite successful ?”

            “….” he was in silent mode, nobbing his head without saying a word

            “If so ! Why did you decide to give up ? Correct me if I am wrong, you did not want to be perceived as a loser, didn’t you ? and you just told me that in order to win, persistence is the key, right ?”

            He continued nobbing his head, I then asked “What would you do to be a winner ?”

            He was thinking for a short while and slowly but firmly replied “Attitude is everything ! I must get myself stronger, I need to figure out why the first trial failed, I have to make my product better and I will persist”

            Eight months after this conversation, I got the phone call from Sittisak’s boss as telling above. He had made his affort and walked his talk.

Congratulation, Khun Sittisak, if you are reading this article – I would like to let you know that ‘You are the man and you deserved it !’

Apiwut Pimolsaengsuriya is executive director of Orchid Slingshot. Write to him at