To derail is to go off your designated path or track. Business coaching is predominantly about change, and derailment behaviours are one of the most important area when dealing with change. Research has found that many executives tend to derail at times of high stress, heavy workloads, during change, or when they are unaware of their own behaviour.

Like all behavioural issues, the biggest factor to initiate change is the realisation that there is a problem. Usually derailment presents itself as a problem with interpersonal skills or an inability to learn from feedback or experience. From a coaching perspective, the most important factor in derailing is the effect that a person’s behaviour has on others, and the organisation. Carson (2012) conducted some fascinating research on the relationship between dysfunctional interpersonal tendencies, derailment behaviour and turnover.

The best way to overcome derailment behaviours is to work with the antecedent of how your strengths contribute to your success, and how your strengths detract from your success (such as perfectionism). Then there is a need to analyse your behaviour and identify the triggers that create your breakeven point. Finally, through a coaching intervention work with a strategic self-awareness leading to strategic modification process.

While emotional outbursts and lack of listening had often been often accepted from executives in certain environments, fewer and fewer employees and companies are prepared to endure emotional immaturity or volatility. The standard of professionalism that is expected promotes acting in a certain manner.

Derailment is natural and happens to many executives, however, it can be a career destroying episode. Managing your derailment behaviours is not just about creating your own career harmony, it’s about establishing workable relationships and a confident bottom line!