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| 2 minutes read

A Problem Shared Is Half Solved- Part 2

Following on from Part 1, the PM forum has been running a virtual mentoring session for marketers in professional services looking to climb the ladder, deal with difficult people, and devise their own coaching plan.  The second part of the session was again summarised very nicely by Silvia Van den Bruel (Hausfeld) and Sarah Longden (Quadrant Chambers) in the summer edition of the PM forum magazine using a great framework by Claire Rason.

Dealing With Difficult People:

  • Talk about 'We' instead of 'Me' and think about the other person's perspective to give clues as to why they behave in a certain way.
  • Think about the attributes that make a person difficult and then find ways to alleviate them.  Reinforce what is important to them as this will help.
  • Re-frame the situation so that you come at it from a different angle with a clear overall goal being aimed at.

How to demonstrate value to the people you support:

  • Offer a type of SLA (service level agreement) to your fee earners so that you can clarify exactly what you and the team are bringing to the business.
  • Build-in regular meetings with key success metrics and priorities.  Update where you are (maybe on a whiteboard) from a competition perspective.
  • Highlight your strengths and how you add value in appraisals.

What makes a leading team:

  • Ensure any newcomer's inductions are thorough and thought out.
  • Be clear with responsibilities within the team- who dies what.
  • Ensure you know everyone's needs and wants as they differ.
  • Clearly allocate projects- think about exposure to the wider firm.
  • Invite other team members to meetings to listen, learn and take notes.
  • Keep a shared to-do list.
  • Ensure deadlines are kept to and requests are always acknowledged.
  • Remember that no question is too stupid to ask.

How can I work myself up the career ladder in the same firm:

  • Be patient but also proactive in expressing an interest in taking on and learning different aspects.
  • Raise your profile by writing articles and blogs.
  • Get to know the key stakeholders at your firm and speak at internal events.
  • Be a problem solver where possible.
  • Build a strong relationship with your direct line manager and make them aware of your desires and aspirations but also if things are making you unhappy.
  • Practice talking about your achievements within the context of the team but highlighting your role.

The session concluded with another solution to consider, and that was seeking a mentor.  Easier said than done and a few things to think about in terms of the time period and whether they should be internal or external.  It shouldn't be forgotten that this part is a two-way process with mentors often getting just as much back.

Use appraisals or mid-year reviews as they offer a good opportunity to highlight your strengths and how they can be valuable to the team. Ask for a brief one-to-one with the person you think you can assist.


e2e, marketing, professional services, career development
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